With actors like Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ritesh Batra's debut film The Lunchbox raised expectations for an interesting experience.
Additionally, the critical acclaim that The Lunchbox has earned in film festivals from Cannes (Critics’ Week Viewers Choice Award) to Amsterdam (World Cinema Amsterdam Audience Award) and more, has also attracted two major producers in India (Karan Johar and UTV) to present the movie in the country.
So does the film live up to the expectations? It does, and does so wonderfully, says a unanimous voice of critics.
A simple, yet beautifully woven love story - The Lunchbox touches hearts with the narration and screenplay. Saibal Chatterjee writes for NDTV, "It is a unique piece of cinema crafted with great dexterity and attention to detail."
The story of The Lunchbox rotates around an old man on the verge of retirement who comes in contact with a lonely, neglected housewife by way of a wrongly-delivered dabba (lunchbox). In a press conference in Delhi, director Batra said that the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai will not be offended by the mistake shown in the film as it accounts for a wonderful relation in the narrative.
To say that a sweet love story lies in the couple exchanging letters and sharing without ever meeting is no justice to The Lunchbox - the beauty lies in the journey debutante director Ritesh Batra takes us through while narrating the story.
Deepanjana writes for Firstpost, "What develops between Saajan and Ila is something far more tender than the flamboyancy we usually associate with romance in Indian cinema. This is a fragile companionship that nevertheless strengthens both of them, making them feel a little more vibrant and alive."
Saurabh Dwivedi (India Today) agrees, "What ensues between these two characters is something that can't be given a tag - the relationship is too delicate for that to happen."
Ritesh Batra has woven the daily-life of a middle-class man living in Mumbai within his love story. Sanjukta Sharma writes for Livemint, "Cinematographer Michael Simmonds captures the claustrophobia of local trains and human clusters on streets with minimum gimmickry. But the milieus around the characters strike some discordant notes."
As for the performances, Irrfan and Nawazuddin bring life to the wonderfully written characters in The Lunchbox. Debutant actress Nirmat Kaur, too, makes her remarkable with her prowess.
Shubhra Gupta writes for Indian Express, "In one of the best performances you are likely to encounter, Irrfan, playing Saajan Fernandes, makes you see that middle aged man. Not just see, but feel. That lunch box becomes a symbol of hope. Of a renewed interest in the present. And of a future, waiting to be realised."
Film critic Mayank Shekhar (W14) writes, "From the moment Sheikh walks into the screen, you know he’s going to make you laugh. He doesn’t do much, merely goes, “Sir, aapko kaisa lag raha hai… Aap kaise ho sir” etc. Yet, every time he’s in the frame, I don’t know why, you feel a mild urge to chuckle."
Harshada Rege writes for DNA, "Nawaz matches the tempo Irrfan sets, especially with his comic timing. Bollywood sure owes him some interesting characters. Nimrat, as the housewife who is also trying to be a dutiful mother and daughter, lends spunk to a character that has difficult decisions to make."
Saurabh Dwivedi concludes his review thus: "A highly recommended movie, that leaves you with a running film reel in your head, and a need to have have delicious food!"
Watch the movie, for the performances, for the story, for presentation, for the simplicity or simply watch it for the pure pleasure of watching cinema that touches the lives of middle-class in a simplistic, yet beautiful style.
Shradha Sukumaran ?@shradha11: 'The Lunchbox' - delicious, soul-satisfying cinema with incredible portraits by @irrfan_k, @nimratkaur13, nawaz. Fall in love with Bombay.
Karan Johar ?@karanjohar: The #LUNCHBOX...out 2day!!! you guys have to see this beautiful love story and please let me know what you thought....
Shekhar Kapur ?@shekharkapur: #LUNCHBOX .. its the most surprising gentle warm love story I have seen in a while. Don't miss it"