The Lunchbox: A banquet for two lonely people (with video)

Published: March 20, 2014

JAY STONE
POSTMEDIA NEWS

The Lunchbox
Rating: 3½ stars out of 5
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur Directed by: Ritesh Batra
Running time: 104 minutes (In English and Hindi with English subtitles)

he Lunchbox-Bollywood

Irrfan Khan as Saajan. Photo by Michael Simmonds, inThe Lunchbox. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

“Sometimes, the wrong train will get you to the right station,” someone says in The Lunchbox, a love letter — to lonely people, to the power of food, to India itself — that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “let’s do lunch.”

Ila (the lovely Nimrat Kaur) is a lonely and neglected wife trying to win her husband back with her cooking: you can almost smell the fragrances that rise from a pot as she adds more spices to the sauce. She is making his lunch, which is packed into four stainless-steel containers, clipped together with an ingenious collar, and packed into a bag to be delivered to his office.

The delivery system is a charming testament to Indian manpower and an indictment of its chaos. Lunchboxes by the thousands are taken by bicycle, train and delivery man to thousands of desks, and Ila has made a particularly pungent meal to win back her distant mate.

“One bite of that and he’ll build you a Taj Mahal,” yells her upstairs neighbour — known only as Auntie — who shouts advice through an open window. Ila replies that the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum.

Although the lunchbox service brags that even Harvard University has studied its methods — indeed, the King of England himself was impressed — the box is delivered to the wrong man. It winds up on the desk of Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan), a glum widower who works in unsmiling isolation, preparing claims for an insurance company. Nevertheless, he loves the meal.

Ila discovers the mix-up and eventually she and Saajan begin a correspondence, placing notes in the meals that go to his desk and the empty containers, some of them practically licked clean, that are sent back to her.

Saajan is about to retire — the formally polite Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) flits about his desk, trying to learn insurance lore — but he is being brought back to life by these meals, and by this connection. And Ila, who smells the odours of duplicity as she washes her husband’s shirts, begins to see a new life as well.

It’s a slight film, but director Ritesh Batra, making his first feature, encompasses the film’s gentle performances into the chaos of Mumbai, a place so crowded that, as Saajan notes, people are buried standing up.

The teeming humanity has left two lost souls behind, and we watch them — cool and untouched in the heat of the air and the spices — yearning toward one another. What they do about it is the movie’s last, tantalizing dish.

jstone@postmedia.com

canada.com/stonereport


Tags: , , , , , ,





Featured

babe SEXY BOLLYWOOD desi

B.C.’s Miss India Canada pageant contestant sues ex-boyfriend to pay for tuition for failed class after breakup

KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — A 22-year-old B.C. woman is suing her ex-boyfriend to pay tuition for a class she says she failed due to distress…
Continue Reading »

Longtime Surrey politician and former mayor Bob Bose is pictured here near his south Surrey home on Monday, November 21, 2011. Jenelle Schneider/PNG

Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose backs Barinder Rasode, says no Surrey Matters slate coming

AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Though Coun. Barinder Rasode has yet to officially announce her intentions to run for the city’s top job, she’s…
Continue Reading »

A Pakistani-Canadian blogger has released Pakistan's first-ever anti-homophobia children's book. Submitted photo/Nicemangos.blogspot.ca.

Toronto-based blogger releases Pakistan’s first anti-homophobia children’s book

VANCOUVER DESI A Toronto-based Pakistani blogger has written and released Pakistan’s first-ever anti-homophobia children’s book. Blogger Eiynah, known for her site Nice Mangos where she…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

babe SEXY BOLLYWOOD desi

B.C.’s Miss India Canada pageant contestant sues ex-boyfriend to pay for tuition for failed class after breakup

KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — A 22-year-old B.C. woman is suing her ex-boyfriend to pay tuition for a class she says she failed due to distress…
Continue Reading »

Longtime Surrey politician and former mayor Bob Bose is pictured here near his south Surrey home on Monday, November 21, 2011. Jenelle Schneider/PNG

Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose backs Barinder Rasode, says no Surrey Matters slate coming

AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Though Coun. Barinder Rasode has yet to officially announce her intentions to run for the city’s top job, she’s…
Continue Reading »

A Pakistani-Canadian blogger has released Pakistan's first-ever anti-homophobia children's book. Submitted photo/Nicemangos.blogspot.ca.

Toronto-based blogger releases Pakistan’s first anti-homophobia children’s book

VANCOUVER DESI A Toronto-based Pakistani blogger has written and released Pakistan’s first-ever anti-homophobia children’s book. Blogger Eiynah, known for her site Nice Mangos where she…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

jail sex

B.C. Supreme Court to decide if Kamloops Mountie watching women have sex in jail is a crime

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A judge wants to hear arguments from lawyers about the legality of the charge against an RCMP corporal accused…
Continue Reading »

Rice Bucket India poverty

India’s Rice Bucket Challenge gives a ‘meaningful twist’ to ALS ice bucket challenge

VANCOUVER DESI India has created its own “desi” version of the ALS ice bucket challenge that has swept the globe. While the original icy cold…
Continue Reading »

India

Man proudly wears world’s largest turban weighing in at 100 pounds and 645 metres long unwrapped

VANCOUVER DESI A 60-year-old devout Sikh in northern India appears to be the proud owner of the world’s largest turban – weighing in at 100…
Continue Reading »

Elephant headed god

Gallery: India prepares to welcome elephant-headed Lord Ganesha

VANCOUVER DESI Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed god, have taken off in India as Hindus prepare to welcome…
Continue Reading »

Witches Burned Victim Alive In Front Of Family

Witches burn Indian dad alive in a bizarre ritual in front of his wife and 10-year-old son

CEN AGENCY Witches who burned a man alive after chopping off his arms in a bizarre ritual have been seized by police in central India….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament and Indian Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal arrives in Parliament in New Delhi on May 20, 2014. India's Narendra Modi is expected to formally declare his intention to form the next government May 20, days after his Hindu nationalist party won the first parliamentary majority in three decades. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

No one else can play the role: Paresh Rawal on Modi biopic

IANS Mumbai  – Versatile actor Paresh Rawal, who will soon start shooting for a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says he is the right…
Continue Reading »

hot photos desi actress bollywood sex

Gallery: Deepika Padukone photo shoot

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, who is creating a lot of buzz with her upcoming film Finding Fanny, poses for the camera. Related Stories:…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood desi boobs sex

Bollywood’s bold babe Sherlyn Chopra strips for Playboy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra marks the first-ever Indian model to pose for Playboy magazine, according to eonline.com. While the 30-year-old announced she’d be…
Continue Reading »