The Lunchbox

Poster for The Lunchbox

Winter 2014 Features series

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 4:00pm
Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Ritesh Batra

Screenplay by Rutvik Oza and Ritesh Batra

Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nimrat Kaur, and Irrfan Khan

Rated NR · 1h 44m
USA / Germany / France / India
English and Hindi

View trailer

The Lunchbox Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire) stars alongside the radiant Nimrat Kaur in Ritesh Batra’s delightful feature debut, in which a mistaken lunchbox delivery brings together two very different people—a neglected housewife and a grumpy widower on the verge of retirement—and paves the way for an unlikely romance. In Mumbai, home to over 18 million people, more than 5,000 dabbawallas—lunchbox couriers—navigate chaotic streets to deliver lunches, lovingly prepared by housewives, to working men across the city. Ila (Kaur) is one such housewife, living in a middle-class neighbourhood with a husband who ignores her. Saajan (Khan) is a beaten-down widower about to retire from his number-crunching job. After Ila realizes that Saajan is receiving the meals meant for her husband, the two begin sending each other letters through the lunchbox. What starts as an innocent exchange about Ila’s cooking gradually develops into something more. Outside the confines of their daily lives, both Ila and Saajan feel free to express themselves in new ways, leading them both to question how they might find happiness. The Lunchbox paints a nuanced portrait of life in contemporary Mumbai, weaving themes of gender values, social class, and generational differences into its central love story. Batra’s beautifully drawn characters—including Aslam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the eager trainee preparing to take over Saajan’s job—and gentle, precise direction simply envelop you. Whether it is the cooking of a meal, the reading of a letter, or a trip on a crowded train, the film’s small moments culminate in big impact. In a word: enchanting. “Food is enjoyed, lives are changed, and real passion—however chaste—is expressed. Batra has crafted a genuine crowd-pleaser.” (Paul Ennis, NOW Magazine) “The Lunchbox is my favourite love story of the year. It’s sweet, sad and deeply aching. Debutant director Ritesh Batra captures the harrowing loneliness that a metropolis like Mumbai fosters, the hope of happiness that glimmers and enables us to go on.” (Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times) “A strikingly original, idiosyncratic and charming love story, The Lunchbox dismantles the established structures of the genre in ways that are at once startling and effective. An immaculate screenplay provides the sturdy under-wiring on which Batra constructs his subtle drama about lonely souls in a teeming metropolis seeking to connect with each other across a vast divide. The film is a compelling study of despair and loneliness on the one hand and unrequited love and unrealized dreams on the other. But it is also about loss and memory, and about missed opportunities and intimations of redemption. In essence, The Lunchbox is a nostalgic ode to the Mumbai of yore.” (Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV Movies)