The Lunchbox

(India, France, Germany, 2013, 104 mins, DCP)
Cast Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddique, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar
EXEC PRODS Lydia Dean Pilcher, Irrfan Khan, Ritesh Batra
PRODS Arun Rangachari, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga
SCR Ritesh Batra
CAM Michael Simmonds
ED John Lyons
PROD DES Shruti Gupte
MUS Max Richter
PROD CO Sikhya Entertainment / Dar Motion Pictures / NFDC / ROH Films / A.S.A.P. Films / Cine Mosaic / ARTE France Cinéma


Some romances are written in the stars. Others, it would seem, can be chalked up to a misread street map. When a lunchbox painstakingly prepared by Ila (Nimrat Kaur) for her emotionally distant husband is mistakenly delivered to Saajan (the wonderful Irrfan Khan, Life of Pi), the under-appreciated Mumbai housewife and lonely accountant strike up an intimate correspondence. Continuing to use Mumbai’s legion of lunch couriers as their go-betweens, they share increasingly involved letters detailing their inner thoughts and life stories. The tinges of disappointment and regret that punctuate these missives reflect the enticing soulfulness of Ritesh Batra’s debut. In turn, there’s exhilaration to be had watching these characters realize that their futures are unwritten. But will they put down their pens and overcome the obstacles keeping them from one another?

“A wistful, elegant love story [and] an unexpectedly aromatic charmer… Batra infuses his film with warmth and humanity, while cameraman Michael Simmonds steps up to deliver delicate visuals of modern Mumbai. It’s the subtle flavours that mark The Lunchbox out as such a treat… Playing out on crowded commuter trains, rickshaws and old-fashioned taxis, The Lunchbox has a strong visual sense, mercifully avoiding the colour-pop pitfalls. Musically, too, it opts for more authentic, atmospheric sounds of the city.”—Fionnuala Halligan, Screen

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