What is it all about?
Putting the Oscars on high alert in the best foreign language film category Indian majors UTV and Dharma take a big step forward with 'The Lunch Box' a true gem of a realism on love that enlarges our conception of the term love in such a remarkable way that it not only massages our soul but also serves as a reminder that Bollywood has the capacity to take our local stories getting universal hearings with an edge that makes this first feature attempt of Ritesh Batra an inescapable rewarding experience and the reason why we love our moments in theater.
If movies are made to thrill, entertain, laugh.. 'Lunch Box' is made to last..
Already a darling at major festivals bagging the Critics Week Viewers Choice (Grand Rail d'Or) at Cannes this year.. its specialized Indian distribution looks equally promising to the world which laps sense and sensibility in cinema..
Ritesh Batra does the surprise of the year. Does the screenplay of this simple local story in such innovative style and manner that this small, exquisitely-cut jewel grows as a universal adage on love just like the globally accepted fact that a journey into a man heart is by his stomach.. how true.. A tasteless childless widower Saajan fernandes (Irrfan Khan) who is on the verge of his voluntary retirement one day gets a Tiffin prepared by Illa (Nimrat) - a house wife who trying to add spice to her life by mistake. Unaware.. he eats it and his happy to find a new 'taste' in his life.. Illa finds someone to share apart from his auntie Bharti Achrekar (visible in audio) both start sharing notes in letters adding variety in the dishes their life finds resonate, desire, the purest faith called love, overcoming fear, discovering themselves.. in this lovely little gem..
What to look out for
It's truly inspiring to see a filmmaker like Ritesh Batra in his first film does such exceptional work as a screenplay writer and director especially when it pays off so big. Brilliant right from the first frame to the last 'Lunch Box' is an ingenious, witty, poignant and profound piece of film making.. how delightful.
Using perfectly composed shots to amplify an emotionally resonant story, Ritesh Batra wins the argument of 'artistic' films do not have to be boring.
The movie has some standout moments that raises the bar of Indian love stories.. Those slice of life moments in those exchange of letters where Irrfan and Nimrat share their bitter sweet experiences..Nimrat silence, Irrfan 's sharing about his wife.. Nimrat Irrfan;s fear and hope, Nawazuddin's tangy support as Irrfan's assistance.. the cafe episode.. real characters real emotions so close to our heart and so connecting and how beautifully longing in our Mumbai and beyond...
The Lunch Box is packed and powered by some exceptional performances not only from actors like Irrfan who like the Mumbai dabbawala hardly goes wrong in his delivery.. but here he is in one word brilliant. Those scenes where he waits for his lunch box and his eagerness to have his food is outstanding.
Nawazuddin is such a delight. Nimrat is a bundle of talent.
Technically it's a well crafted film. Max Richter music soothingly sets the mood..
It's extremely difficult to find a something wrong in 'The Lunch Box' the only thing which can be said that its magic and personally ending up at the cafe was ideal but anyway that doesn,t takes away its universal charm and magic..
Conclusion: 'The Lunch Box' is simple and universal.. and that's its biggest strength. Exceptionally performed this small little gem of a film is a modern day masterpiece that leaves a haunting nostalgia.. in this age of smart phones and slick wheels 'The Lunch Box' letters of love are not the best of the year but one of the best ever..
Rating **** and 1/2 (extra for its simple yet universal appeal)