A simple story about a man, a woman, and a dabba (lunchbox). Guest writer Priya Chopra reviews Ritesh Batra’s critically acclaimed, award-winning film, The Lunchbox.

The Lunchbox TIFF Irrfan Khan VIFF

A mistaken tiffin delivery leads to a beautiful relationship between Saajan (Irrfan Khan), a soon to be retired widow, and Ila (Nimrit Kaur), an unhappy housewife. Both characters are missing something fundamental in their lives, and there is a simple sweetness to their note exchange throughout the film. Based on the dabbawallah (tiffin lunch carrier) documentary that Ritesh Batra started in 2006, The Lunchbox is the director’s first feature film, and won the Critics Week Viewer’s Choice Award at the Cannes International Film Festival 2013.

Nimrit Kaur is brilliant as Ila, and Irrfan Khan shines in what he does best: non-verbal communication through his eyes, body language, and subtle pauses. A full 10 shots are taken of Irrfan simply eating, without any sort of dialogue, yet the viewer is immersed in every bite. Although food sets the story, it is the higher need to connect and relate to others that charms the audience. Batra has a magical way of storytelling that transcends cultures and appeals to audiences around the globe.

This is a Jugni Style Must Watch Film. 


The Lunchbox opens at the Vancouver International Film Festival on September 28, 2013 and is currently playing in theatres across India. Lookout for a limited theatrical release in North America in February 2014.


Story By: Priya Chopra  |  Photography Courtesy: Sony Classics