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TIFF 2013 Review: The Lunchbox


The Lunch Box
Gala Presentation

In his feature debut, director Ritesh Batra weaves a complex love story through a series of simple, yet poignant letters hidden beneath the chapatti bread in a Tiffin box. The story is set in bustling Mumbai where skilled Dabawallahs collect home cooked lunches and load their bicycles with Tiffins (the titular lunchboxes). They then deliver each unmarked Tiffin to the appropriate office worker. Their system is fool-proof. Or is it? One day for no discernable reason one such lunch makes it to the wrong office worker. Saajan (Irrfan Khan) is a widower and just about to retire early from his accounting job of 35 years. He is a quiet man who barely gesticulates or displays any kind of expression. Life in Mumbai has worn him out and so too have the lonely years without his wife.

Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is an ignored housewife whose only respite from her marriage are her daily conversations with her aunt who lives in the apartment above her. They communicate by shouting out their kitchen windows. We never see Ila’s aunt but she is one of the most vibrant characters. Batra’s deft direction keeps us entertained with brilliant supporting characters and slow, sensuous shots of each delicious meal.

[star v=5]

Sunday September 8 – Roy Thompson Hall – 2PM
Monday September 9 – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 – 9:30AM