The Lunchbox


Ritesh Batra

Location Filmed

India, France, and Germany

Movie Synopsis

This is one of the best films that I have seen in a long time-food or otherwise. It is the story of Saajan (an old widower accountant who is about to retire) and Ila (a lonely housewife who is estranged from her husband). They meet in such a culturally unique way and develop a friendship that intrigues and adds purpose to their respective days.

In Mumbai, there is this massive system of lunch box delivery called dabbawalla; wherein, hot meals are picked up from households and delivered to customers for lunch. After lunch, the boxes are picked up and then delivered back home. Sound simple? Well, it’s actually a hyper complex system of organization and trust that goes back 125 years. It has actually been studied by the west because of its efficiency and precision. It is estimated that there is only about 1 mistake in every 8 million deliveries!!!! Crazy!

The plot goes… Ila (at the insistence of her auntie) tries to gain attention from her husband by cooking up really good food. By mistake, her food gets delivered to Saajan (who enjoys the food and cleans the tins bare). Hoping that the food has made an impact, Ila confronts her husband who brushes her off saying that it was nothing special. It finally occurs to Ila that her food is being delivered to someone other than her husband, so she decides to write a note. The ensuing relationship begins with these passing of notes between Saajan and Ila through this lunchbox. Food connects them and they are able to communicate (in this strange way) through the common medium of lunch.

The story goes on with some other characters adding to the sub plots and an ending scene that really makes you think about missed opportunities in life. As someone once told me, playing it cool is the wrong thing to do, if your really want someone.

Additional Credits

Writer: Ritesh Batra

Le Divorce
United Kingdom
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