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PLEASE NOTE that THE LUNCHBOX will have an additional screening on Sunday, September 15 at 5:15pm (TIFF Bell Lightbox 1). Tickets go on sale Friday, September 13 at 7am. Ticket holders from the Monday screening can visit or call the Festival Box Office before 7pm on Thursday, September 12 to reserve a ticket to this additional screening.
In Mumbai, a misdelivered lunchbox brings together two very different people — a neglected housewife (Nimrat Kaur) and a grumpy, solitary widower on the verge of retirement (Bollywood star Irrfan Khan, also appearing at the Festival in Qissa) — in this funny and touching comedy-drama from first-time writer-director Ritesh Batra.
Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire)
stars alongside the radiant Nimrat Kaur in
Ritesh Batra's delightful feature debut, in
which a mistaken lunchbox delivery paves
the way for an unlikely romance. In Mumbai,
home to over 18 million people, more than
5,000 famously efficient dabbawallas —
lunchbox couriers — navigate chaotic streets
to deliver lunches, lovingly prepared by
housewives, to working men across the city.
Ila (Kaur) is a housewife living in a middle-
class neighbourhood with a husband
who ignores her. Saajan (Khan) is a beaten down
widower about to retire from his
number-crunching job. After Ila realizes
that Saajan is receiving the meals meant
for her husband, the two begin sending
each other letters through the lunchbox.
What starts as an innocent exchange
about Ila's cooking gently develops into
something more. Outside the space of
their daily lives, both Ila and Saajan feel
free to express themselves in new ways,
leading them both to question how they
might find happiness.
Batra's The Lunchbox paints a nuanced
portrait of life in contemporary Mumbai,
effortlessly weaving themes of gender
values, social class, and generational differences
into its core love story. Batra's beautifully penned characters — including
Aslam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the eager
trainee preparing to take over Saajan's
job — and gentle, precise direction simply
Whether it's the cooking of a meal, the
reading of a letter, or the riding of a crowded
train, the film's small moments culminate
in big impact. In a word: enchanting.
- Ritesh Batra
- Ritesh Batra was born in Mumbai.
He has directed the short films The
Morning Ritual (08), Gareeb Nawaz's
Taxi (10), and Café Regular, Cairo (12),
which received the FIPRESCI prize at
Oberhausen. The Lunchbox (13) is his