Film Review: The Lunchbox (India)

MV5BMjM2ODkxMzA5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTYwOTYxMDE@._V1_SY317_CR175,0,214,317_Another terrific movie for us to watch, thanks to the generosity of the very talented Sunita Nichani, President of SIETAR India.

The Lunchbox by Ritesh Batra, screened during International Critic’s week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival

A film set in Mumbai, around the service of the iconic dabbawallahs who ferry thousands of lunchboxes to office-goers in the crowded city without the slightest glitch. The film, however, revolves around one such lunchbox delivered to the wrong person, leading to an epistolary romance between the unintended recipient and the lonely housewife who prepares the gastronomic treats hoping to win her indifferent husband’s heart through his stomach.

What personally facinating me was the contrast between the almost antiquated means of communication showcased in the movie — a basket hanging on a rope to exchange tidbits with the upstairs neighbor, paper notes in the lunchbox instead of the ubiquitous text messages of today—and the modernity of the characters who each broke their cultural shackles to choose freedom and second chances.

Unlike typical Bollywood cinema, the film ends on an ambiguous note, letting the viewer connect the dots as s/he wishes. A wonderful visual resource for exploring some of the facets of contemporary evolving Indian society.

Comment from Dianne: If you are unfamiliar with the dabbawallah system, you owe it to yourself to learn! Please click on this link for a quick intro.