‘The Lunchbox’ delivers savory satisfaction


Katie Little

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdn6nVJHyfM”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93ASUImTedo[/youtube]

There’s a whimsical yet hardening impression left by the dramatic romantic comedy ‘The Lunchbox.’ Although its themes were predictable as far as rom-coms go, the film still managed to pull off those ideas of “finding new love” and “one in a million odds” in a pleasing way. As conventional as the ideas were, the unconventional lovers Ila and Saajan were greatly fulfilling to this movie.

Set in Mumbai, the film focuses on India’s booming lunchbox delivery service, well known for its reliability and accuracy. Sure enough, stunningly beautiful housewife Ila’s (played by new Nimrat Kaur, a fairly new actress to American audiences) lunchbox, which she makes especially for her husband with hopes of mending their struggling marriage, ends up in dull, middle-aged widowed claims adjuster (played by Irrfan Khan) Saajan’s hands instead.Lunchbox_poster_small

From here the oddity of their relationship only ensues.

Before long, the two begin sending each other secret messages via lunchbox. The chemistry between Saajan and Ila is remarkable, especially when considering how distant they are from each other in the film, only making contact through letters.

Saajan is purposefully tepid in his role, which adds a degree of much needed realness and humanity to his character. Khan has also been seen in the majorly successful films ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. The film is also writer and director Ritesh Batra’s first big film, a name fairly new to both the independent film scene in India and the United States.

Although the line between a more realistic film and a romantic film is sometimes unclear, there are key moments in the film that perfectly blend both worlds and will capture viewers, especially as the characters develop and new layers are added to their personality and situations throughout the film.

Overall, it adds a certain richness by trying to cover both perspectives of reality and a more fictitious storytelling in the end. What’s most remarkable about the characterization is that in a city that’s so densely crowded and bustling, both Ila and Saajan manage to feel so incredibly isolated from their own lives and their loved ones.

As the relationship between Ila and Saajan grows, so does the reality of the difficulties in their lives, making for a wide range emotions rooted in the film. Although the finished product isn’t as cohesive as it could have been in terms of its direction and storytelling, audiences will fall in love with the remarkable pairing of Ila and Saajan and may even be hungry for more by the end.