Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Lunchbox - My first film review!

Finally watched ‘The Lunchbox’. Since I saw the trailors of the movie, I wanted to catch it anyhow. Besides, the entire cast of the film was just fuelling up my desire further. I love Irrfan Khan. His acting has always charmed me right from the Badrinath/Somnath Twin characters he played in the epic tele-serial ‘Chandrakanta’.  Films like Maqbool, Pan Singh Tomar, The Namesake, A Mighty Heart, Slumdog Millionaire, New York and not to forget Life of Pi further substantiated his acting abilities and tagged him as one of the hand-picked actors this industry has to provide.

About the actress Nimrit Kaur, she’s certainly awesome with a very stout existence on screen. It’s not easy to leave a noteworthy mark especially in the presence of two biggies, but she’s done a decent job in mitigating her role as Ila. Considering this is her debut film in a lead role, Nimrit Kaur enticed me with her terrific performance.  

What do I say about Nawazuddin Siddiqui! This man has just wooed me right from the first time I saw him on screen. He has portrayed strong characters in films like New York, Dev D, Firaaq, Black Friday, Gangs of Wasseypur I & II, Kahaani, Peepli Live & Talaash. In The Lunchbox, he plays Irrfan Khan’s assistant in his office doing a delightful job and flawlessly complimenting Irrfan Khan. The duo efficaciously crafts a total mystic on screen carrying the audience in a different domain.

Ila (Nimrit Kaur) is like any other middle-class Mumbai housewife. Her day starts early and involves the daily doings like getting her only daughter ready for school, preparing food for her husband who doesn’t seem to have any interest left in either Ila or their marriage,  laundry, shopping, etc.  She’s intensely alone. Call it a blunder, fluke or sheer fortune, one day the lunchbox is not delivered to her husband but reaches the desk of Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan). This lunchbox brings certain passion in this widower’s lonely life. Saajan tastes the flavours of love after years of depending on the boring mess food. His soul is warmed by this food. Ila realises that the tiffin she so dearly packs for her husband is had by someone else but is happy to see it all clean at the end of the day. On the insistence of her neighbouring ‘Aunty’ (It’s just the voice that’s portrayed and I have a strong feeling it’s of Bharti Achrekar, another noted actress), she decides to write a note to ‘the other man’ and sends it along with the lunchbox the next day. Saajan replies this note and thus begins an exchange of notes on regular basis leading to a vague bond. Ila and Saajan revive themselves with these handwritten notes. They decide to give life another chance.

The film beautifully deals with depression, isolation and unanswered love. The Lunchbox is also an ode to Mumbai. You peep into the jam-packed local trains, the over-crowded buses and the busy roads. It displays how gentle relations and ties are formed amongst the hustle bustle of the city so well-known to us. The film also takes you in your earlier years while taking a glimpse of certain scenes from Doordarshan’s Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi and songs from Saajan.

Full marks to debutant director Ritesh Batra for generating a world so current yet so ancient. It’s a decent variation to see two people involving over love letters than SMS’s and Whatsapp messaging. Ritesh also has a robust grip over the storyline of the film. There are few sections in the film which are a bit stretched but you are so captivated into the film’s expressiveness that you overlook the lengthy parts. Ritesh is aided by a talented star cast who uplifts the film to, all in all, a diverse level. Adjectives nose-dive when it comes to unfolding Irrfan’s enactment. He hardly speaks in the film and just lets his body do the talking. Nimrit Kaur is a discovery. She’s the lash of fresh air that’s so required in our cinema today. She demonstrates all feelings; love, desire, grief and delight with copious ease. Her efforts seem graceful.

All things considered, The Lunchbox is one of the finest films Hindi film industry has created. It lifts us a notch higher. Do yourself an act of kindness and catch this film. And you are cautioned… you might be starving for some good home-cooked food and affection when the end credits roll.

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