Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Lunchbox

Do you know what a Dabbawala is? The Hindi word for lunchbox and the original title of this movie is Dabba, and a Dabbawala is the lunch delivery guy. Mumbai's amazing system of door-to-door personalised delivery of home-cooked lunches is the backdrop for this movie.

Ila is a beautiful housewife who senses that her husband has lost interest in her. She attempts to regain his affection (or at least his attention) by making his delivered lunch particularly delicious. Unfortunately, the Dabbawala has made a rare delivery mix-up, and the delicious lunch is delivered to the wrong person. That evening when she's quizzing her husband about whether he enjoyed it or not , Ila realises her husband didn't get the lunch she made. The next day she puts a note with lunch in case it goes astray again, which it does. She gets a note in return, and so a relationship begins.

The lunch recipient is Saajan, a good-looking but curmudgeonly widower who works in an insurance office. He's about to retire and is supposed to be training the irrepressibly cheerful Shaikh to be his replacement. Lunch and a message from Ila become the highlight of his working day. Making lunch for a grateful but anonymous recipient becomes the highlight of hers.

The Lunchbox is a romance, and reminds us that romance and relationships come in many forms. It celebrates the particular pleasures brought by anticipation and surprise. It knows we all want to be noticed and appreciated and cared for, and that this can be done in a variety of ways. I think it also says a romance doesn't have to have the expected outcome to enrich the lives of the participants. If you find Hollywood or Bollywood rom-coms overly formulaic and want something a little different while still having your heart suitably warmed, The Lunchbox will deliver for you. And you'll get to experience something of Mumbai while it's doing it.

Anne's rating 4/5 Ian's rating 4/5

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