The Lunchbox (2013), Ritesh Batra

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Directed by Ritesh Batra, “The Lunchbox” is a modern take of a love story in India. There isn’t any Bollywood and the story is actually clear cut. It appeals to the western pallet, but you have the story connecting entirely to the background. It’s colourful, it’s back and forth and there is emotions. (noduhsarah).

The story is basically about this indian housewife, who everyday makes a lunch for her husband at the office. It’s one of those cool lunches though, where they’re leveled up in metal containers, all the bits of strong sauces, chutneys and rice, separated. Only to be picked up by a man, who delivers it, along with hundreds others- to the office. Apparently, theyre infamous for always delivering to the right person from the right household, regardless of the how many there are.

That being said, this story focuses on the one time they didn’t. And in this specific story, there is a bit of a significance.

Ila is trying to figure out the secret of getting her husbands attention. Obviously she turns to food (as i would) and starts trying to impressing him during his normal everyday lunches, make him fall back with her. She used her neighbor to help with secrets on how to cook, and she was very hopeful that this would work.

Saajan, is an almost retired accountant. He’s realizing that things are slowly coming to an end and he’s smacked in the face with it when he is forced to train his own replacement. Though reluctant at first, he eventually accepts his situation and strives with it..

NOW THE LUNCHBOX SWITCH UP! Saajan gets this special, homemade tasting meal one day, instead of his boring cauliflower whatever it is. He’s surprised, but likes it anyways. Ila on the other hand, and patiently awaiting until her husband gets home, so she can see if her skills actually paid off. Obviously it didn’t, he’s his rude self and she’s convinced that she will have to try again.

So this starts to go on and on. Only breaking when Ila eventually asks her husband if he like the lunch she made him, only to get something along the lines of “oh.. yeah, the cauliflower was good, but since you’ve been making me it everyday, I’m starting to get bored with it”, AND THEN SHE CLUES IN. So she sends a note with the next lunch she makes, for whatever shithead has been eating her husbands food and then the correspondence begins.

So as I say, the back and forth begins. They start talking and sending cute notes back to each other. Saajan getting to feel he isn’t alone in the world, Ila is getting the attention she deserves. Alongside this story, Saajan begins to be friends with the man who is going to take over his job,  Shaikh. He’s this young guy who later reveals that he was an orphan, and has worked in a couple different places (most notably saudi arabia), I think Saajan somehow relates with him and their friendship only grows.

Ila and Saajan keep on sharing little notes, until the moment they decide they should meet. Ila suggests this popular place and they set the time. unfortunately she is there on time, waiting and waiting and Saajan never shows up. Apparently he did come, but saw how young and pretty Ila was and decided he wasn’t worthy. It’s that sort of bullshit. So basically it ends like this.

Il isn’t satisfied with it, so she somehow figures out his address and shows up at his door. Only to find he has moved away and again, that was that. She leaves a note of where she is thinking of moving and I guess they both have the start of their new lives. It doesn’t end happy, but it does end.

I think what I liked most about this film was I was craving a love story of sorts, and I got it. It wasn’t conventional, but it worked. I like how the characters are laid out, how they had their own personal bullshit and things going on, and their personal lives could had work, but it wasn’t the end of the world when it didn’t.

I also resonated with the character, when unfortunately she was the victims of “I don’t really know what happened here and this is a definite end of something serious”.  A mix of rejection, and just broken confused heart controlled brains.

3.9 stars out of 5

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