Irrfan in 'The Lunchbox'Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqqui
Direction: Ritesh Batra
‘The Lunchbox’ is a delectable love story, made exquisite because it’s a most beautiful rendition of the most fundamental need of an individual – the need for companionship.
Sometimes loneliness becomes an abstract concept and yet, a very real issue and you find yourself establishing an unlikely intimacy. An intimacy with someone you have never met. It then becomes possible for you to share your innermost insecurities, the little joys, the mundane happenings and thoughts about an almost implausible escape.
You look forward to the little joys of opening an empty lunchbox, an affirmation of the fact that your experiments with new recipes are working. And in the quiet acknowledgment you find a sense of self-worth. It gives you a sense of liberation from the detached void that exists in your own marriage.
Your daily lunch hour is now a time you look forward to because along with the delicious food, a few lines scribbled on the pages of an exercise book is the only distraction in your routine life. This well-kept secret brings a smile to your usually self-absorbed personality.
The nuanced approach with which the lead cast essays their roles is incredible. Irrfan’s performance is yet another career milestone – the eagerness with which he looks at the lunchbox, the slight smile that touches his lips, the exasperation he feels towards his new colleague. He displays his craft with flourish. His expressions stay with you much after you have left the theatre.
Nimrat Kaur’s character has many layers - the loneliness, the anticipation, the acceptance and the desperate need to getaway. Kaur does an exemplary job of bringing to life these myriad emotions.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the new colleague and Fernandez’s (Irrfan) only friend – a little unscrupulous but good at heart, is a delight to watch. He becomes a silent confidante in this unusual love story, perhaps playing a latent catalyst by never judging the two unlikely lovers.
Ritesh Batra’s film is a winner all the way, an exceptional love story, where two individuals romance each other, much like the director romances Mumbai. A story like no other that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you misty-eyed. A story that is full of hope and is heart wrenching at the same time. A story that makes you want to break into spontaneous applause because it is incredible in so many ways.
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