The second edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) Thursday began with the screening of, The Lunchbox, which proved to be an inspiring choice to open the event.
Irrfan Khan in a still from The Lunchbox
This unusual yet mesmerising love story starring Irrfan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur opened to a packed house in Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts at McLeod Ganj in Dharamsala and when it ended, the audience were laughing and clapping.
Independent filmmakers, critics and moviegoers from India and abroad gathered here to watch the film, which has been promoted and released by Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar.
The guest praised the film describing it as “the nicest and substantial presentation by director Ritesh Batra” and as the winner of “People’s Oscar”.
Overwhelmed by the response, the film co-producer Guneet Monga said: “The script got great feedback from everywhere. We got a lot of support from markets and critics. They were the ones who have given us the encouragement. The reactions to the film have been very humbling.”
Set in Mumbai, the story revolves around a mistaken delivery of a lunchbox that leads to a unique relationship between a widower, played by Irrfan, and an unhappy housewife, essayed by Nimrat.
It’s already done well at international film festivals and even bagged the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award, also known as Grand Rail d'Or, at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
Monga said the film has done good business internationally. “I am very happy that it’s the first film that has been sold around the world. It was sold in 48 hours at Cannes….” “The movie has got 150 percent profit. So the kind of money we are getting, I feel that, The Lunchbox, is as viable as any other film,” she said.
The four-day event promises to enrich viewers' about different societies and cultures with screenings of films like Nagraj Manjule's Fandry, Nitin Kakkar's Filmistaan, Sange Dorjee Thongdok's Crossing Bridges, Richie Mehta's Siddharth, and Q's Tasher Desh.
The list also includes Jacek Borcuch's Polish film, Lasting; Prasanna Vithanage's Sri Lankan movie, With You Without You, Cate Shortland's Lore from Australia, which was also the Best Foreign Film Oscar Nominee, and Kim Mordaunt's, The Rocket, from Laos.