Movie Review : The Lunch Box

I usually hate it when I go to watch a movie for which I have heard nothing but good things . This happened to me with Lootera , with many critics and reviewers giving 4 stars , some even 5. When I watched the movie, I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about, it was good movie , but wasn’t great.

Lunch Box is all about story telling , exploring different territories of the human psyche , understanding simple human emotions of love , belonging and in the lack of these emotions the loneliness one gets surrounded with. But you get up the next day and go on with your lives , so much so , that over a period of time you almost forget all the hurt and the pain that has been just accumulating over the years.

The story of the movie is elegantly simple, and thats the beauty of it. The story of 2 people , and those two people can be anybody in the real world too , no extravagant twists , no drama , just  a simple story.

Mr Fernandes (Irfan Khan) has been handling accounts for a government office for the past 35 years , and only a month is left for him to retire. He works in those typical govt offices back in the days which had no computers , just a table with a pile of files . He has shut himself out from the rest of the world and just comes to the office , does his work , goes back to his  home.


Ila(Nimrat Kaur) , is typical house wife , neglected by her husband. She wakes up everyday to see her husband leave early for work , and then she sees off her daughter to school , and then she’s alone the whole day. During which time , she cooks for her husband lunch , delivered through the dabbawalas.

Unfortunately , the six sigma dabbawalas mess up and the lunch supposed to be delivered to Ila’s husband goes to Mr Fernandes, and thats where the story starts.

What follows is a very candid and to the heart conversation between two complete strangers(yes, i intentionally refrained from calling this a love story) . They discuss their everyday lives through letters , delivered into the lunch box.Fernandes learns of Ila’s troubles through the letters and empathizes with her.There are some stellar dialogues in the movie.

In one letter , Fernandes explains to Ila that he had gone to book himself a burial spot for him to be buried after he died. He says that he was only able to get vertical spot. He jokes that his entire life has been spent standing and travelling in trains and buses , and he wont get to lie down even when he’s dead.

In another letter , he tells Ila ,”We often forget to tell how we feel about something if we dont have anyone to listen”.

The performances are the life of the movie. Irfan Khan just keeps proving again and again that he’s such a natural and brilliant actor. The day after he receives the first letter in the lunch box , there is suddenly a purpose in his life , something to wait for . He keeps looking at the watch , looking at the time when the lunch box will arrive and what possibly Ila would have to say today . His anxiousness and the small smile trying to escape the corners of his lips are brilliantly portrayed by Irfan Khan. In one other instance, he hears from auto driver that some lady jumped off the roof with her daughter . Typical human tendency , he assumes the worst . His portrayal of Fernandes’ restlessness that day till the time the lunch box arrives and the relief when it finally does is something extraordinary.

Nimrat Kaur  has played the role of the neglected house wife perfectly. She’s the ideal wife to her husband , who doesn’t giver her any importance. She spends the entire day alone listening to songs and cooking with the aunty living above her flat .And the letters from Fernandes is the only thing she looks forward to , in her whole day.

Nawazuddin Siddique has played the role of the over enthusiastic junior of Fernandes. His role does not have a direct impact on the story , but yet he plays a significant role in helping Fernandes open up and see the positive side of things . He’s the friend to a man who has been alone for 35 years. Needless to say, he’s awesome.

Many might say that the movie ended abruptly , but I think the director intentionally ended it that way. This wasnt a fairy tale or a feel good love story with a happy ending ( or an ending for that sake) . It was just a story that had to be told.

Our Rating : 4.5/5

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