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Lunch Box - Film Review

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by Marina Marangos (subscribe)
Published August 6th 2014
Cheeky chappatis
This is the new genre of Indian films which I wholeheartedly welcome. Not a Bollywood dance, wedding or soppy love story in sight but moving, human stories, adeptly played out in an Indian setting which we can all relate to.

The story line involves a lunch box. So much you could tell yourself. There is a little story which accompanies this lunch box, its preparation and its enjoyment by not the rightful owner of the lunch box. A lovely young Indian woman, Ila, with the help of some useful tips from Auntie, lovingly prepares the tiffin box for her husband, thinking it might help ignite their luck lustre marriage. Instead the lunch box ends up on the desk of a lowly and lonely government official who is probably near the end of his professional life and ready to go into retirement. What ensues is a thoughtful and fun exchange between the two which evokes the most genuine of feelings and warmth. There is humour, but also pathos, and more than anything a lot of what living a humdrum existence in Mumbai, one of India's big cities, is like.

It also gives us an interesting insight into this amazing system of the dabbawallahs, who collect the tiffins from homes and deliver them all over the city in their thousands every single day. This is a system that has been going on for many years and has even attracted the attention of the Harvard Business school who have studied it. When Ila confronts the dabbawallah and says he is delivering the lunch box to the wrong man he says this could not possibly happen. He says they were studied by Harvard and don't make mistakes. This is my favourite line in the whole script.

Nimrat Kaur plays Ila

Ila is beautifully portrayed by Nimrat Kaur and Sajaan Fernandes by Irrfan Khan. He has just the right face to still be attractive but to also have age weighing on his looks. The director is Ritesh Batra. The film won the Filmfare critics Award for best film in 2014.
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