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The late, great Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire) stars in this funny and touching 2013 feature directorial debut from Ritesh Batra (Photograph, Sense of an Ending), 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 spouses, to working men across the city. Ila (Nimrat Kaur) lives 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 meals meant for her husband, the two begin sending each other letters through the lunchbox. What starts as an innocent exchange about cooking develops gently into something more. Outside the confines of their daily lives, Ila and Saajan feel free to express themselves in new ways, leading both to question how they might find happiness.
The Lunchbox paints a nuanced portrait of life in contemporary Mumbai, weaving themes of gender values, social class, and generational differences into its core love story. Batra’s beautifully penned characters and subtle, precise direction are enchanting.
Programmed by TIFF’s Asian Heritage Month Staff Advisory Committee
Official Selection, 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
TIFF’s Asian Heritage Month programme is made possible thanks to the generous assistance of: Blockchain Venture Capital Inc., Canada Hong Kong Alliance – Toronto, Andy Chan, Elegant Financial Inc., Sharifa Khan/Balmoral Marketing, Alan Kwong, Irwin Li, Nobis Inc., and Justin Poy