Movie Review – The Lunchbox (2013)

Director: Ritesh Batra

Stars: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

A mix-up in Mumbai’s lunchbox delivery system mean’s that one woman’s lunch is not going to her husband. They end up exchanging letters, and find themselves drawn to each other even though they have ever met.

The Lunchbox is a pleasant film that follows the form of the short story. Ila (Kaur) is a young housewife who feels ignored by her husband, who barely even touches her anymore. And he doesn’t even notice that he’s not getting her lunches. Saajan (Khan) is a widower who is detached from life, and just goes through the motions. But through their letters  they each affect each other in surprising ways, and Sajaan finds himself becoming more involved in the world again. This is shown through his friendship with a colleague, and many of the humorous moments in the film come from this friendship.

But the theme of the film is love, and how it can impact lives in strange ways. Sajaan struggles with his age, and almost can’t believe it when his letters with Ila become more intimate. For most of the film she is the pursuer and he is more reticent, but this shifts towards the end and that leads us to…

The ending, which will be divisive among people as it leaves unresolved an ambiguous. Often this can seem like a copout from the filmmaker as it shows a lack of confidence in his convictions, putting the burden on the audience to come to their own conclusions. However, in this film the ending has actually grown on me the more I think about it. I don’t think that love needs to be an absolute thing, and sometimes it can just come into your life like a flicker of a flame, illuminating something briefly, then disappearing. And sometimes it can grow and bloom and envelop your entire existence, but mostly you don’t know how long it’s going to last, and The Lunchbox reflects this.

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