Here is how the film The Lunchbox introduces itself: “Mumbai's Dabbawallahs are a community of 5000 dabba (lunchbox) deliverymen. Harvard University analyzed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This is the story of that one lunchbox.”
The Lunchbox is a bittersweet film wonderfully directed by Ritesh Batra and set in Mumbai. It nails the sensations of loneliness and connection that develop between two strangers who exchange notes. Ila (played by Nimrat Kaur) is a young housewife who concocts a special, seductive meal for her philandering inattentive husband’s daily lunch, but when it gets delivered to the wrong office, a new man comes into her life. Saajan (played by Irfan Khan) receives it at his desk instead. For Saajan, a lonely widow facing retirement, it is an amazing upgrade from the local restaurant where he has his lunch account. He and Ila begin a correspondence via handwritten notes in the lunchbox that are increasingly intimate and illuminating, and which relieve the poverty of their emotional lives.
This is a pearl of a film with a remarkable standard of acting, not only from the principles, but from Ila’s Auntie, an unseen but strong presence as the neighbor upstairs and the ebullient young man brought in to take over Saajan’s job, whose sad backstory rests just below his smiles.
Saajan’s depression and isolation as he faces old age alone and young Ila’s empty future with an uncaring husband are altered by their epistolary relationship. Engaging, sometimes quite funny, and full of anticipation, this is a welcome break in what has become a sea of filmic testosterone (ie summer and other blockbuster films.)
Here's the trailer: