Movie Review: The Lunchbox

The moment I saw the promo of this movie on the idiot box, I knew I had to see it. There was something different, something unidentifiable that tugged at your heart.

Movie Review: The Lunchbox

The movie starts with the famous Mumbaicha dabbawallas, the ubiquitous lifeline of the city, who methodically and faultlessly go about their job of collecting and delivering lunch boxes at their destined places. There is a young middle-class housewife, Ila, who cooks a vegetable with a different recipe and puts it in her husband’s lunch box hoping that it would surely appeal to her husband’s taste buds and rekindle some romance in their otherwise lifeless marriage. But the lunch box gets wrongly delivered to Saajan Fernandes. Saajan has been working at the Claims Department for 35 years and is about to retire in a month’s time. Saajan is also a widower and a loner. Saajan who doesn’t expect much taste from his food prepared by his neighborhood restaurant gobbles up the entire food in Ila’s lunch box. On the other hand, her husband loves the food of the restaurant. Ila doesn’t disclose the truth to her husband but continues sending the dabba to Saajan along with a letter which Saajan promptly replies. Thus starts an innocent pen friendship via a lunch box. Though the letters sometimes convey widely unrelated thoughts and their inner turmoil, they become something more meaningful as the time goes.

But do Saajan and Ila ever meet? They might or they might not. It depends on how optimistic and benevolent you are feeling.

The Lunchbox is a simple story narrated in a very simple way. But aren’t the simple things in life the most imaginative and powerful. The depth of detailing in the movie like Orient fans, by-gone Doordarshan shows, a man past his prime getting ready for a date, dabbawallas singing bhajans and a man cutting veggies in the local trains is commendable. In this digital age, it’s difficult to see someone communicating through letters but still the hand written letters touch such a nostalgic chord. The humor is in the everyday things that we take for granted. And also we forget, one man’s fall provides another man’s laugh.

The characters in this movie are well thought of. Irrfan Khan is a fine actor and as usual he has done a fantastic job as Saajan Fernandes. Nimrat Kaur as Ila has believably played her part as a neglected housewife. Though I might say she looks better and acts better in the Cadbury Silk commercial. But the surprise element in the film is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has given a mind blowing performance as Saajan’s happy-go-lucky subordinate Sheikh. And also before I forget I need to give full marks to Bharati Achrekar who plays Ila’s neighbor, the only-heard-but-never-seen Aunty.

This is the most beautiful love story that I have seen in a very long time. It certainly deserves a dekko if not a standing ovation.

Kahani

KahaniA crime/mystery/thriller, this movie is engaging from the word ‘go’. Vidya Balan proves once again that she has more acting prowess than all the current Bollywood heroines combined and that she is a threat to the regnant Bollywood heroes.

A heavily pregnant Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), an NRI, comes all the way from London to Kolkata to find her missing husband, Arnab Bagchi. In her search, she is helped by a young cop, Rana. As all her trails lead to dead end, people get murdered and her life is threatened; you realize that it is not a simple “missing person’s” story. The story is so captivating that you don’t see the end coming. And what a finish! A true twist in the tale, it’s completely unexpected and unconventional.

Vidya is very convincing in her role of a pregnant lady searching for her absentee husband. You pity her when she cries, worry for her when she inadvertently misses a step and pray for her in her quest. Apart from Vidya, the film is brilliantly supported by Rana (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The film is not over-crowded with dialogues but where required, expressions say louder than words. Amitabh Bachchan’s rendition of the famous Tagore’s “Ekla Chalo Re” is soulful while Kolkata is resplendent in its glory and grime.

Go and watch the movie, just for the look and feel of it. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Talash

TalaashThe much-awaited Aamir Khan movie beckoned us on a Monday night. Rishi, being a huge fan of this ‘perfectionist’ actor, had booked Lounge seats in advance and was looking forward for an exciting evening. But his enjoyment was somewhat marred by someone playing a movie spoiler with him.

The film starts with a car speeding on the empty Worli Seaface in the wee hours of the morning and then suddenly plunging into the sea. It’s revealed later that the driver cum victim was a hugely popular Bollywood actor Armaan Kapoor (Vivaan Bhatena). Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) is entrusted to look into this high profile case. What looks like a simple case gets more and more mysterious with various twists and turns. Surjan Singh in his quest to solve the murder mystery (it’s established early on that it could not have been a suicide) drives across the under belly of Mumbai in the night and comes across a medley of characters, all suspicious in nature. The murder case is interestingly interwoven with Surjan’s personal life. Surjan singh or Suri (as he is fondly called by his wife Roshni) is having a hard time coping with a personal tragedy, his marriage is in shambles; work is all he has that keeps him driving.  His nocturnal meetings with a prostitute Rosie (Kareena Kapoor) keeps him away from his marital bed while his distraught wife, Roshni (Rani Mukherji) suspects him of having an affair. After a lot of unexpected turns, the mystery is revealed which is totally unpredictable and unconventional.

Though Aamir Khan is known to do films of different genres and you always expect them to be different, you are never completely prepared for the surprise factor in his movies. The same is the case with Talaash. Aamir Khan has given a power-packed performance. His emotions as a helpless father, troubled husband and a baffled inspector are very raw and palpable. You sympathize with the character and feel his emotions throughout the journey. Rani Mukherji, sans make up looks as beautiful and convincing. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get much of a scope to showcase her acting prowess. Kareena Kapoor (or should I say Kareena Kapoor Khan? I am not sure about her adopted name, so will stick to the original) is the soul of the movie. With her peppy performance, she infuses a bit of colour, mystery and romance to the otherwise dull and gray canvas. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is brilliant as a slime bag Temur. He has a lot of potential which is clearly visible in all his films. Writer-Director Reema Kagti and Script Associate Zoya Akhtar have done a brilliant job. The music is gripping and mysterious keeping in line with the mood of the film. The cinematography is wonderful, especially the montages of Mumbai after dark.

Verdict: Though the pace might be a little disappointing, this contemporary crime thriller is a good watch.