Why ‘The Lunchbox’ is a masterpiece

The Lunchbox is a treat. We tell you why this deliciously different movie is a masterpiece.

I always judge a movie’s blockbuster status by my mother’s reaction. So when she walked over to me and said, ‘That Irrfan Khan movie is excellent!’ I sent The Lunchbox into the Rs 100 crore club. My mother doesn’t watch many movies, but when she does, it’s something like this poignant tale of food, love, everyday matters and a bond so unique that it has no name. Why is this movie a masterpiece, you ask? Allow us to break it down for you:


The Irrfan-Nawaz deadly combo:
When the credits read Irrfan Khan and Nawazzuddin Siddiqui, you know that you’re in for a treat. Their chemistry and crackling banter is such a paisa vasool that you don’t regret spending a bomb on the ticket. While Irrfan’s character is reserved, Nawaz’s role demands that he is hyper all the time. The two have very few scenes together, yet leave a huge impact on you. It’s a known fact that these two are chameleons, but in this flick you don’t think of them as Irrfan and Nawaz; but as Saajan and Sheikh, respectively. We hope more directors cast these two together.

Mumbai meri jaan:
Whether you’re from this mayanagri or have heard about it, the movie will make you fall in love with Mumbai. The hustle-bustle of the Dabbawalahs, the dhakka-mukki of the local trains, the nitty-gritty of the middle-class and so on, everything is so beautifully captured! You would be forgiven if you thought of Deshpande aunty (the voice character) as your own neighbor. We are sure many women would be able to relate to Ila (Nimrit Kumar) as well as Irrfan and Nawaz. Dear casting director, take a bow!


Zero frills:
In an era where item songs are woven into the plot to make the movie tick, The Lunchbox is deliciously different. It has no frills whatsoever. There are no songs, dances or item numbers. The momentum of the movie never sways, thanks to a zero-fluff writing. The only ‘song’ is the everyday number sung by the Dabbawalahs in the train while making their regular rounds. It’s beautiful, apt and not distracting at all.

The plot:
Everybody is a sucker for a feel good movie that tells you not everything is lost. When a woman in a loveless marriage feels that her world is falling apart, she starts exchanging notes with a stranger who helps her live and enjoy every moment. What a touching tale! The letters are also beautifully written, with Irrfan’s in ‘Bandra-esque’ English, while Nimrit Kaur’s in chaste Hindi. Brilliant touch.

The climax:
Open-ended climaxes stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Because they make you ponder. With an end that could have multiple meanings, director Ritesh Batra leaves it up to you to decide about the outcome of this love story. Do the two lonely souls end up together? That’s for you to find out and conclude. What we can do tell you is that any other climax would have ruined this Oscar-potential movie.

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