Saturday, 21 September 2013

Leaves You Craving For More My Review The Lunchbox

Director Ritesh Batra

Starring  Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nimrat Kaur, Lilette Dubey, Bharti Achrekar (voice)

After hearing continuous applause for a film which has traveled globally to extremely positive reviews, it is natural for your expectations to be at a tremendous peak for this debut film by Ritesh Batra. 

Fleeting connections, stolen glances, loves never found.... 

This is something I tweeted on 16th September. It is something we all have felt in our lifetime. I believe life is about the people who appear in your's, some stay, some leave, but they always remain in bits and pieces in your heart. We reach out to complete strangers in ways more intimate than we realize. Loneliness is a strong bond, and it makes us brave, to either end everything or start something new.

The Lunchbox is a delicately layered rainbow cake, where each layer goes perfectly well with the other, standing out, yet merging in perfectly complimenting flavors and you want to relish each morsel slowly till you are left with a lingering after taste.

The story is of Ila (Nimrat Kaur) and Saajan Fernandez (Irrfan Khan). Ila is a lonely housewife, who has become a furniture piece in her own house, a marriage that is stale, crusty and gathering fungus. Her life brightens a little in the haven of her kitchen where she cooks up delicious food in the hope of finding a way back into her husband's heart through his lunch box. But the Dabba finds its way to a wrong table, stomach and heart. Saajan is an aged widower. Serving the last month at an insurance company as he has applied for an early retirement. His life is a static routine, everyday an exact copy of the last one, even he would have difficulty in recognizing one from the other. With age, his habits have become him. From taking the local train everyday to sitting at his desk poring over claims files to sitting alone at the lunch table and eating from the dabba that gets delivered everyday from a local service. He is a respected employee, having served there for 3 decades. He is stern and walled in. Even the little kids in the neighborhood know that and keep their distance. Every night he smokes on his balcony and a window across the building where a happy family eats their dinner together is shut as a small girl finds him looking in. No one wants melancholia.

His life is shaken out of somnolence by the arrival of the Dabba, which looks a little unfamiliar and when he tastes the food, it is as if through his taste buds, his whole being has found flavor.

From here begins a tenuous communication of hand-written notes, each revealing the need to connect, to feel different, to feel alive.... loneliness making them do things which are surprising to themselves. What starts by mistake, slowly turns into the best thing they have in life at this moment.

The Lunchbox will not be what it is without superlative and heart wrenching performances by each of the actors. Irrfan is so so real, I felt like giving him a hug and feed him my cooking. Nimrat Kaur, whoa, debut film and such a solid performance. Coming now to my darling Nawazuddin, hats off. He is the perfect foil to Saajan in his role as his junior, Aslam Shaikh. The way he owns this character, funny, sweet, achingly vulnerable at times, and oh so cheeky. What a pleasure. And finally Bharti Achrekar, bus aawaaz hee kafi hai as a full of beans neighbor staying in a flat above Ila's. Sending down masalas in a basket, and playing songs and doling advice, her voice and modulation made me picture her without any effort. Though I must say I was hoping to see her at some point in the film.

The dialogues are another win. The letters emanate the fragility of their relationship and some of them brought tears to my eyes, while some made me smile and Aslam's lines made me giggle more than once.

The Bombay Ritesh has captured is the bitter-sweet city it is. The Dabba walas get a special doff of the hat and it is they who are also the thread that wove the lives of Ila and Saajan together. The cinematography is brilliant. Capturing the faces and milieu just right.

The depth of the film belies the maker's age. The emotional quotient is so high, the attention to detail so perfect, the choice of creating claustrophobia by staying with one subject in their gnawing space, I daresay this film is perfect. 

The only thing that did not work for me in the film was Lilette Dubey playing Ila's mother, she doesn't fit and for me the film could have done easily without that track. 

So grab your tickets and go get served this delectable Lunch Box. I may go for another helping myself.

My Verdict 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment