Stock Footage: The Lunchbox

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“Sometimes the wrong train takes you in the right direction.” In bustling Mumbai, India’s most important city, dabba wallahs every day, they take 200,000 lunch boxes to accountants, lawyers and other workers. Occasionally, rain or shine, the delivery men pass from house to house picking up the stacked lunch boxes stored in a lunch box, prepared by dedicated wives or by popular restaurants. Then, the next stop is at each customer’s table. At the end of the day, they do the reverse work until the houses, with empty lunch boxes. The method is so organized in the chaos of India that several universities and companies around the world are still puzzled today. After all, dabba wallahs they never miss the address. Or at least they should never go wrong.
In The Lunchbox, Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is a young wife who struggles to attract her listless husband through food. The idea of ​​putting the guy’s lunch in order came from his aunt, an upstairs inhabitant and a conversation partner at a distance from Ila’s window. Cans round and nestled on top of each other, full of curry rice, pita bread and those dishes full of sauce and to make people salivate at will, time to hope that the husband licks his fingers. It turns out that Ila’s lunchbox ends up at the table of Sajaan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan, who acted in As Aventuras de Pi), a bad-tempered and methodical accountant, about to retire.
He, suspicious of so much good food (his lunchbox came from a restaurant not at all capricious), leaves each of the little pots empty. When Ila receives the lunch box back, she is happy and foresees the arrival of a grateful and passionate husband, but as everything has been changed, this is not the case. The next day, she writes a note and puts it in the lunchbox, and Sajaan doesn’t waste ink from his pen: “the food was too salty”, he writes. There begins an exchange of tickets, which are transformed into letters full of reflections and secrets. For both of them, a life with more life is possible from that silent and delicate sharing through food.
This film is so subtle and, at the same time, touches the heart without needing much. The whole story takes place in a few scenarios, but we don’t even realize it: what we want most is to sit beside him at the canteen table to read her messages, to be beside her when she cooks with such love and daydreams. The Lunchbox will make you laugh, smile, think and stay hungry.
Direction / script: Rotesh Batra
Duration: 105 min
Actors: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawauzadin Siddiqui
London Film Festival 2013 – Exhibited in the Official Selection
Olso Films from the South 2013 – Exhibited in the Official Selection
Reykjavik International Film Festival 2013 – Special Mention

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