Solitude is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. In any conventional Hindi cinema, it’s expressed through a song or at least a background score with violin. In reality, there is no such sad background music; there is only one thing – SILENCE. The soul of ‘Lunchbox’ is this silence. This is a love story doesn’t have chiffon saris flying in the cold winds of Swiss, nor they break into a song and the mob starts dancing with them. ‘Lunchbox’ is surrounded by an air of melancholy having its own share of lighter moments.
Saajan Fernandes (Irfan Khan) is a widower and a government servant reaching his retirement age. He is a loner, who sits in the balcony and looks at his neighbor’s window seeing a family, deep inside feeling the lack of companionship. Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is a home-maker and neglected wife, who dreams to get her love acknowledged with the tasty meal she prepares for the husband. The destiny has its own plan to make Saajan and Ila meet. The boxes get swapped by the Dabbahwaalas and then the story begins. They don’t see each other but start exchanging her letters. The vacuum in their lives gets filled up with the friendship. Will this platonic love taka practical form? Will they finally meet? Will they break the norms? What are they up to? – forms the remaining story.
There is no dearth of wonderful performances in this movie. Irrfan Khan, is terrific and extremely natural playing the 60-yr loner. His histrionics are highly impressive. It is very difficult to match up to his skills, but Nimrat Kaur does it. She plays ‘Ila’ wonderfully, and is impeccably realistic. In the sub-plot there is Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is flawless as the successor of Saajan’s job (Nawaz is also the successor of Irrfan Khan, when it comes to the list of greatest Indian actors ever). Lilette Dubey gets a tiny role, but is superb. There is also an interesting role of the neighbor of Ila whose voice is heard, but never shown.
Coming to the technical aspects, Lunchbox team does a great job. Especially, the editor deserves a big pat on the back. The scenes shift from Ila’s life to Saajan’s very interestingly, and vice-versa. The movie carries a very realistic look throughout. Dialogues are very simple and neat, but convey things as deep as a great poem. The ending of the movie is however abrupt.
‘Lunchbox’ is that carrier you take to your work, and not the ‘Mac D’ meal with extra French-fires. You don’t need anyone to explain the difference. And that’s the difference between ‘LunchBox’ and all the other movies that released this year. Watch it to satisfy the good-cinema-hunger in you!
Reviewed by Rag Mayur