Lunchbox – Can you fall in love with someone you haven’t met?

lunchboxOnly one in a million lunchboxes in Mumbai ever get delivered to the wrong person but when it does it can lead to a love story. The story revolves around the Lunchbox, the most important part of the Mumbai’s commercial life. The miss delivered Lunchbox develops a relationship between, Saajan Fernandez (Irrfan Khan), widower who is so lonely that it has pushed him to be rude, and Ila (Nimrat Kaur), a neglected ordinary housewife.

Some way, the Dabbawala system goes wrong and starts to deliver the Lunchbox to Saajan instead of Ila’s husband. Ila’s husband is having an extra marital affair and Ila is trying to get the attention of her husband by sending tasty cuisines in the Lunchbox. After learning that her husband is not getting the lunchbox and instead someone else is eating it, she writes a note in lunchbox and the series of Lunchbox notes starts between Ila and Saajan which further turns into an affection for each other. They share their problems through notes to each other and try to be happy in their respective life. Without even actually meeting each other Ila and Saajan start to fall for each other and their relationship blooms through the Lunchbox and notes exchanged in it.

Saajan Fernandez, middle age widower who is on the verge of retirement, is working as a government employee from 35 years. Saajan lives alone in an apartment at Bandra and travels via series of train and bus between office and his home (Here director doesn’t forget to show the every Mumbaikar’s life moving with locals, buses and traffic issues). Being the middle aged man, he doesn’t like children playing in front of his gate, and seeks solace in the workplace. Saajan has a colleague named Aslam Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), an irritating person to Saajan but kind at heart. Shaikh keeps on in the life of Saajan throughout the movie and the interactions between them create some laughing moments. Living an ordinary life, Saajan one day finds a note in his lunchbox and his life starts going back to his young days.

Ila lives a normal housewife life with husband and a daughter, serving husband without expecting anything in return but love. Hence she tries to cook exceptional cuisines to get the husbands attention where she takes advice from her old nosy neighbor who gives her pro tips on cooking. We never see the face of this neighbor but the voice is the only thing which relates to the character showing the exact situation of the Mumbai’s neighborhood and the relationship between neighbors. Bharati Acharekar’s distinctive voice of neighbor makes you laugh many times.

The movie creates various moments which look over several real life circumstances. Especially moments between Shaikh and Saajan makes you laugh several times, and many times they will leave you thinking over their conversations. The characters of Aslam Shaikh and Ila’s neighbor are the added flavors in the movie to keep you in the pace and to compensate the seriousness between the Ila and Saajan’s relationship over the lunchbox. The Irrfan Khan and Nimrat kaur’s acting makes great impact on the audience and keeps them till the end. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Shaikh makes you think about at least one odd character from your own life.

The movie has no action scenes, nothing raunchy, nothing even out of the ordinary. But it tells the story through the scenes as simply as the written word does. The strong and almost effortless performances by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are enough to keep you mesmerized. The director has paid commandable attention to details. The little scenes like Saajan’s suffering from cigarette withdrawal, Shaikh’s “hello sir kaise hai aap?” and Illa’s smelling her husband’s shirts will stay with you even after the movie is over for long.

Word of caution: all the delicious food being delivered in the lunchbox can make you hungry. Make sure to carry some food of your own.

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