TIFF 2013: The Lunchbox – Capsule Review

Director: Ritesh Batra
Screenplay: Ritesh Batra
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Lillete Dubey
Runtime: 104 min
Rating: PG

Ritesh Batra makes his feature film debut with The Lunchbox, a story about  how a mistaken delivery by the dabbawala service in Mumbai (lunchbox delivery service) sparks an interesting relationship between the about-to-retire Saajan (Irrfan Khan) and Ila (Nimrat Kaur), an unhappy housewife. What begins as a mistake soon becomes a vessel through which the two characters begin to write letters to one another. Batra has created a film that takes character study to another level; you are presented with two characters who simply nab your interest from the moment you see them. That is due largely to the beautiful performances given by Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. Khan, a person who is no stranger to complex roles, does a fantastic job molding together Saajan on the big screen, putting forward a character you simply fall in love with. On the same note, Kaur delivers a wonderful performance as Ila, one that is both genuine and riveting. Both Khan and Kaur present characters you can relate to. These performances, tied to the beautiful writing by Batra, the individual little elements within the film, and the brilliant supporting performances, create a truly magical film experience. The Lunchbox is a film for everyone, and whether you need to use the subtitles or not, you will enjoy yourself from start to finish.

Overall Score: 4.5/5

Photo Credit: Toronto International Film Festival