Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox
"Sheer unadulterated pleasure often comes from the most unexpected quarters." | Photo: Michael Simmonds

Sheer unadulterated pleasure often comes from the most unexpected quarters. This slow-burning romance by first-time Indian film-maker Ritesh Batra has charm, depth and simplicity.

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is a lonely widower who works as an accountant with the Government and is on the point of retiring. He receives a note in his lunchbox by mistake from a neglected housewife Ia (Nimrat Kaur). The contents are a vast improvement on the ready-made meal he would normally have.

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She had intended it for her husband and she included special delicacies as a way of rekindling his affections. Apparently lunchboxes from dutiful partners are delivered across Mumbai to office workers. Despite more than 5000 deliveries mistakes rarely occur.

Much taken with the idea of corresponding with each other at a distance, the pair confide their feelings and try to reach out and finally meet up but whether they do or not is one of the film’s carefully guarded secrets.

Batra proceeds at a leisurely pace, which suits the mood of the piece to perfection. The script has been well honed in development labs at various festivals, providing a tasty dish for those with penchant for the exotic.

Reviewed on: 21 May 2013
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A mistakenly delivered lunchbox sparks romance between two lonely people.
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Director: Ritesh Batra

Writer: Ritesh Batra

Starring: Irrfan Khan, Bharati Achrekar, Nimrat Kaur, Denzil Smith

Year: 2013

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: India

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