After reading all the good reviews about ‘The LunchBox’ movie, I decided to relish the lunch and yes it was a good one.. I enjoyed watching this movie which definitely comes with good message and life lessons thrown at you through subtle scenes.
The movie starts bang from the beginning without beating around the bush about how the lunch box prepared by Ila gets wrongly delivered to Sajan Fernandes and there on how the lives of people gets changed. The movie revolves around the life of two people Ila and Sajan both of who’s life has turned into a long haul.. Ila gets her daughter ready to school, cooks lunch for her husband, tries new recipes, washes vessels, washes clothes and gets prettily dressed up to welcome her husband when he is back home while he is no longer interested in her. And thus goes the mundane life of Ila who exists but does not live anymore. And then there is life of Sajan, a widower, who has retracted himself from the society. He leading a lonely life has made him more of living dead, he detests to talk to people and people detest to talk to him. And then comes the lunchbox which weaves the life of Ila and Sajan together into a subtle love story. The dabba which gets wrongly delivered by the dabbawalas of Mumbai not only carries food but they exchange letters through it. They start sharing their daily lives, render shoulder to each other and soon start living their lives. The message that is repeatedly said in the movie is to live your life and not get dragged into the routine and get lost yourself. ‘Kabhi kabhi galath train bhi sahi rastae pe le jaati hai’, this is the story line in fact.
What is so beautiful about it is, how wonderfully the story unwinds through scenes and senses but not through obvious dialogues. Sajan mentions he likes brinjal and you see Ila making it. The sigh of relief that the worried Sajan gives when he smells the dabba realising that Ila is safe and had not jumped off the building. The little girl closing the window at the sight of Sajan. The mess lined up with the same lunch box as that of what Ila gives. Ila smelling her husband’s shirt every time when she puts them for wash. The dabba travelling through the busy Mumbai streets. Our heart chugs along the train and travels with the dabba and pumps up eagerly to know what is in the dabba and the letter. Then there is another character Shaikh who brings in little humor and a simple life. The letters gradually brings change into their lives and Sajan turns into a lovable guy in the neighbourhood, becomes good friend of Shaikh and Ila starts appreciating small things in life.
Coming to the characters. Irfan has lived as the middle aged widower! From the detested look he gives through the glasses to his eagerness in smelling the dabba, he has emoted through his body very well. The voice narration which I felt so fake in ‘Life of Pi’, was more than suitable for Sajan. Nimrat Kaur as Ila, man is she not the lady next door you see! The normal salwar kameez, pulled up hair, not even a trimmed eye brow, no lip stick and yet so very beautiful and elegant. Her subtle expressions to seduce her husband, her disappointed look when her husband is not interested, her happy face when she talks to her daughter, her worried look wondering if she would turn like her mom; she has done tremendous justice to the role. The ‘aunty ji’ from the top floor was another gentle breeze in the movie. Siddiqui as sheikh, brings in a good story line into the movie and has played the role well. Ila’s and Sajan’s life were more than enough to show how life can get dragged into routine. Ila’s mom, Ila’s sick dad and the uncle on top floor in coma makes you a little uncomfortable over the fact that life can get irrecoverably sick!! Special mention of the director, Ritesh Batra has to be done for bringing out the life of Mumbai so very vividly in front of our eyes.
All of us am sure will be able to relate to the movie at some point or the other. For definitely we all at some stage stop to think, ‘what am I doing with my life’, ‘what kind of life is this, every day going to office and coming home’, ‘why is life burdening me with so many problems’, ‘what not am doing to this family yet nobody appreciates me’.. Most of the middle age people will definitely be able to relate to Sajan or Ila, as over period of time you get so lost in taking care of your family and work hard for a living that you forget to stop and appreciate yourself or stop to receive and give love. Another way you can relate to the movie is through your senses! Every time Sajan sniffs the dabba and smiles, we feel happy! As Ila painstakingly stuffs the bitter gourd, makes paneer kofta, or the tinda , or the stuffed brinjal, the rotis and the rice and as she packs the dabba and hands it over to the dabba wala, you obviously know there is more love in that dabba than just food. Every time she sits with cup of tea to read the letter does that not spice up the letter more! And man! Every time Sajan spreads the food in his plate with a new found happiness, it is our heart and stomach that gets filled.
With all this beautiful story and lunchbox, why did I name it as a hearty meal with no dessert? Because the climax is left for you to finish! How did the love story end, is up to you to decide. That left me a bit confusing for as I was relishing each course of the meal and was waiting for the dessert, they asked me to get up from my plate and leave the table!
Still it is one of those movies that speaks to you.. It is a heavy subject with no melodrama, tears, violins! So go watch it. You might find some profound meaning in your life.