Director: Ritesh Batra
Starring Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Yashvi Puneet Nagar
The Lunchbox is a first of its kind film, an Indo-French German production with a production from US also involved. The film is directed by Ritesh Batra, and stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead. The lead cast, though doesn’t boast of superstars, but has a backing of quality in them.
When Ila (Nimrat Kaur) prepares dinner for her husband, hoping to impress him and catch his attention, it reaches to a wrong person. Instead of Rajiv (Nakul Vaid), her husband; it reaches Sajan Fernandes, a widower who’s just taken early retirement and is in office for the last month. Through the lunchbox, they start delivering letters. In between comes Shaikh (Nawazuddin), an orphan and the successor to Sajan’s post.
The plot is simple, but sounds fresh. What captures the viewer’s attention is the attention to the minor details. From the performances to the technical finesse to the emotional angles, along with bringing the day to day problems of people to the fore; the film has come out as an unconventional take on realistic cinema.
Cinematography is beautiful. There’s not a spot you can point where the cinematographer didn’t embed the film with realism. The editing is powerful. The job of an editor is to present the story in the best possible way. The editor has achieved that. The writing is strong, the script is awe-inspiring. They’ve taken the nitty-gritties of the life and created a beautiful atmosphere where the film breaths, lives, and makes the viewer live the little tale. Direction is spot-on, and since Ritesh has both written and directed it, he deserves a double credit for this masterpiece.
Irrfan Khan has grown with every performance of his, and here too, he proves his mettle in another unconventional role. His timing is just perfect, and the little details he adds to his character show how much he prepares and leans into the character. Nimrat Kaur is beautiful, and has acted brilliantly. Her character is a little complex, being torn at various ends. And she does justice to this complex character. Nawazuddin brings energy to the scene. The film might have done without his character, arguably. But without his character, the nuances he brings to the table, the film would have been incomplete. Yashvi as Ila’s daughter is sweet.
All in all, it’s a film packed with visual delights of day to day life, of Mumbai local trains, of buses, of lunchboxes, of food, of Mumbai’s famous dabbawallahs, of children, of adults, many minor things adding to an originally fresh concept. Also, it highlights the dabba-culture of Mumbai, the largest in India.