“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” The movie starts off with this premise and builds on it with a twist. The Lunchbox is one of the must-see movies of Bollywood of all time. It is a soft, simple story about an about-to-be retired widower and an unhappy housewife who write to each other everyday through a lunchbox. It is a story about their day to day life and their experiences in Mumbai, living no dream of glamour, but striving for simple happiness.
It is a simple, and very poignant story. It flows out like a poem and is greatly helped by excellent performances of Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. Nawazuddin Siddiqui adds to the comic touch to bring out Saajan’s character (Irrfan Khan) on screen, which otherwise would only be limited to his letters. On the other hand, Bharati_Achrekar plays an unseen character that helps Ila (Nimrat Kaur) navigate her daily problems. With a minimum cast, The Lunchbox has been cooked to near perfection and leaves a great taste in your mouth.
The movie revolves around a delivery mistake made by Mumbai’s Dabbawalas which brings Ila and Saajan in contact with each other. They begin exchanging their hopes, dreams and, in case of Ila, fears. They write about their life in Mumbai and their daily actions. The story embeds in itself hints on a normal life in a huge, complex city and their drive that keeps them going. My favourite one is the letter by Saajan that describes a road-side painter that paints the exact same building every day, but with different people. To me, it is symbolic of their daily routine in the city, mostly same, but essentially different, with each day bringing fresh news to their lives, and new decisions. It may be perceived as not important in the grand scale but to them, it is their life!
I wouldn’t write more about it here. Except to say that the movie’s cliffhanger ending is one of the most abrupt ones I have seen, and it works. Ultimately, you don’t care what happens afterward and you are just left with a profound bliss that can only come out out of a simple story.