The Lunchbox

ROMANTIC DRAMA; 1hr 41min (Hindi with subtitles)

STARRING: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Love’s labours lost? Kaur

The city of Mumbai bustles about its hectic business with the barely controlled chaos of a dream. Its lunchbox delivery men, the 5,000-strong Dabbahwallas, are integral cogs in a full-steam mechanism, ferrying food from women at home to their men at work in a time-honoured system that, incredibly, never seems to fail. Until it does, in the sweetest possible way, in writer-director Ritesh Batra’s sort-of love story.


Ila (Kaur) is an attractive housewife and mother — and a great cook! — frustrated by her dismissive husband, Rajeev (Nakul Vaig); nearing an arid retirement, widower and government staffer Saajan (Life of Pi ’s Khan) is stiffly withdrawn. When Saajan receives Rajeev’s lunchbox by mistake, he and she begin corresponding, revealing far more in the pas de deux of their daily notes than they do to those around them. It’s a joy to see Khan opening up as Saajan softens through his blooming alliance with Ila and a freeing work friendship with his irrepressible replacement (Siddiqui). The Lunchbox toasts the blessing of second chances, most scarily precious when from out of the blue.