A woman and a man. They both want to take leave from loneliness. While the woman wants to retire from the role of an unloved wife, the widower plans an early retirement from his professional responsibilities. In the midst of all these, the aroma of love promises a change in the course of life.
Lunchbox is the journey of two individuals on the same track of consciousness. The contentment of being heard, anticipation of getting an answer, and the hope of being understood is what propels them to carry on with their communications. As letter-exchanging exercise turned into a habit, the sense of belonging started to surface.
The screenwriter needs a pat at the back for a wonderfully touching narrative. The chiseled words of Sajan (Irfan Khan) seemed so unlike, yet familiar with the vernacular of vacuity found in Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) notes. Their exchanges were interplay of recollections, regrets, and moment of revelries. Every time Sajan opens the lunchbox, the fragrance of affection and bonding between the two comes alive. Although the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but in this case, it’s the mutual desire to row over to the other side of boredom that gave this story a stimulating facet.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an erring apprentice under Sajan is another delicious item on the menu. He cajoles, he pleads, demands forgiveness, and encroaches privacy – all with an artistic ease. Nirmat Kaur nailed it with her unpretentious portrayal of a character trying to wade through stifling domesticity. Watching her stand by the French window and contemplate what future has in store is like reliving the metropolitan dilemma of where are we heading? Lilette Dubey’s cameo seemed to say, “I have not lost my mojo.”
Mumbaikars would find this journey even more real as the city is not just a backdrop of the movie – it’s a strong character that binds its inhabitants to rigmarole and restlessness. And yes, this epistolary masterpiece creates a strong case for the hand-written letters to be back in vogue.