Movie Review: The Lunchbox – A Collector’s Piece


Could a simple lunchbox and its contents change lives? We think that this is one of the best films to come out of India in a long time (In the year of the “Yeh Jawaanis and SDRs”), debutant Director Ritesh Batra answers all these questions through his little (simple yet different!) masterpiece, The Lunchbox.


There’s a simple line in this sumptuous film that captures its essence beautifully: “Sometimes even the wrong train can take you to the right destination.” It’s a line that might help interpret the film’s open ending, but one that also nicely sums up its unique premise. Director Ritesh Batra captures the harrowing loneliness that a metropolis like Mumbai fosters, the hope of happiness that glimmers.


Saajan Fernandes – a Govt. employee on the verge of retirement played by one of our favourites Irrfan Khan and Ila – a housewife from Malad East, frayed by neglect, played by the sexy-in-her-own-way Nimrat Kaur.


The Lunchbox is about two lifeless individuals who find a new meaning to life by exchanging letters through a lunchbox, all this because of a rare error by the internationally famous Mumbai Dabbawallas . The movie unfolds against the bustle of this crowded city of dreams – Mumbai. Director Ritesh and his crew give us skillfully composed sequences of a dabba’s long journey from the kitchen to the desk of its intended recipient. We travel with our characters in local trains, buses and taxis; we go into Ila’s middle-class apartment to Saajan’s old Bandra cottage and the dull government office he has worked 35 years at. It’s a metro bursting at its seams, and yet our protagonists are lost souls here.


While clearly Irrfan Khan, also the co-producer, is the backbone of the film; this film that it is currently wouldn’t have been the same without Nimrat’s spot-on performance, Irrfan’s quirky replacement at work – Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s always-making-the-most-of-an-opportunity performance. Not to forget the unseen hero (in this case unseen heroine!) of the film well-meaning Aunty (a terrific Bharati Achrekar, heard but never seen), to who Ila asks for all the advice to spice up her loveless marriage.



All in all, #Lunchbox is indeed a different kind of #masterpiece. Speaks so much about #life.  So much about a common #Mumbaikar. The challenges faced in a metropolis like Mumbai. A movie that forced us to write about it! It will make you laugh, cry and lastly make you crave for paneer and bhindi. A #collector‘s piece indeed!

Having said all this, this makes us wonder, is it a movie questioning Mumbai’s pride – Mumbai Dabbawallas?

We just insist that you watch this 🙂

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Lunchbox – A Collector’s Piece

  1. Pingback: I like! Part V – Lunch box (Subject in scrutiny) | Cleaning up the clutter

  2. Pingback: Growing Old | Samirdatar's Blog

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