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[The Lunchbox ] a recipe that works

[The Lunchbox ] a recipe that works

Destiny. The key word of The Lunchbox is in fact Destiny. Everything starts with a “dabbawallah” who wrongly delivers those famous homemade “lunchboxes” every day at noon to clerks.

A simple box as a messenger

We are in Mumbai, in India. Saajan Fernandes, an employee close to retirement, played by Irrfan Khan, receives his lunchbox like everyday. But while opening the bag carrying four little metallic boxes, Saajan quickly discovers that the lunch he has under his eyes is not the one he used to have. He smells it, looks at it, inspects the unknown food and finishes by tasting it for his greatest pleasure.

On the other hand, Ila Singh, played by Nimrat Kaur, is a young Indian housewife who spends hours in her kitchen to cook yummy meals which will be delivered to her husband everyday. Sadly for Ila, her husband is used to returning the lunchboxes completely full and never compliments her about her meals. Nevertheless, one day, to her big surprise, Ila got back an empty box from her husband. Very surprised, she’s even happy that for once, her husband appreciated the meals she cooked with love. Unfortunately, she quickly understands that her husband did not get the lunchbox and decides to send a message in the lunchbox to thank the stranger who got it. Here starts an epistolary exchange rather untypical with, as a medium, this lunchbox…

A solitude that gets them closer

A unique scenario which shows us two characters that everything opposes. However, this solitude that eats them away is their common point. The loneliness of a woman that feels abandoned by her husband and the one from a sixty-year old widower, embittered, and not very happy in his life… This box is the only way for these two beings to confide in each other, to support themselves and to dream together for a better destiny.

The history of life…

Some will complain about the unlikely side of the scenario because, yes, communicating with a lunchbox as a go-between is not really common… and then what? It is a touching movie with a lot of sensitivity. Large shots dominate the film showing us the Human being in the centre of the story: his fears, his doubts, his pains but also his joys and his hope in life.

The importance of destiny, is often dealt with in films, for example in N’oublie jamais by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, 2004) or Reviens-moi (Atonement) directed by Joe Wright in 2007… But unlike these movies, The Lunchbox is not a love story. A story of friendship maybe? No. The Lunchbox is finally the story of life, full of unexpected events and which – even though it is occasionally very hard – knows how to show itself with beauty for the one who knows how to take it as it comes.


Clémence Tixier-Purorge

Gianni Castillo – Translation

Fiche technique
Film et réalisateur : The Lunchbox (titre original : Dabba) réalisé par Ritesh Batra
Pays : Inde
Année : première sortie le 20 septembre 2013 en Inde
Durée : 104 minutes
Première diffusion : Mardi 19 Novembre lors de la soirée d’ouverture du festival à 19h00 au Grand T