Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Lunchbox: incomparable

I was at the ticket counter at 12:05 to buy tickets for the movie which was supposed to start at 12. Not wanting to miss the beginning of the movie, I was frantically pleading, "Bhai sahab, two tickets please, jaldi. This is for the 12 o clock show". Beside me another voice, "Bhai sahab ek ticket pl, for the 12 o clock show, jaldi." I looked up to see a guy perspiring from all the running he obviously did to get to the counter. When our respective tickets were handed to us, we ran simultaneously towards the elevator to rush to the movies. He admitted that he traveled 18 kilometers just to catch the first day, first show of this movie! What love for good movies can do to people! :) Luckily for us, the movie started a little late :)

Well, when you speak of a Irfan Khan movie, you dont need a movie review to watch it. You blindly jump at the opportunity. And the icing on the cake was having Nawazuddin Siddiqui in it. Watching Siddiqui was a treat. How he transforms from a sinister gangster roaming on Wasseypur streets in GOW, gun  or hookah in hand, to this opportunist who takes on the world breezily, is amazing.
Siddique is supposed to take over from Irfan who is about to retire after putting in 35 years of service. In Irfan's dry, monotonous and grouchy life, there comes a one in a million chance happening: the Mumbai dabba wala delivers the dabba to a wrong person. This triggers exchange of short notes between Nimrat Kaur, who plays a neglected housewife, and Irfan who receives her dabba. The notes, sent through the dabba, get longer as more personal details get exchanged. They are written on single-ruled pages torn from a note book and remind you of the little notes you must have exchanged with your friends in school.
Every time Irfan Khan opens the dabba cover and takes a deep breath of the food within, you too seem to enjoy those aromas wafting from within. And when he opens the tiffin box, you are as eager as him to see what the dabba contains today...the food and the note.
The food in the dabba each day conveys a different mood: eagerness, anticipation, love, anger, even revenge. That so much can be said through these dabbas forms part of the unspoken and subtle moments in the movie. Every scene is filled with meaning. Every moment filled with an emotion, largely unspoken and unexpressed.
The movie has a fourth character, the voice of Bharati Achrekar, who lives one floor above Nimrat's, and tries to help her by suggesting she spice up her food to find a route to her husband's heart. The love with which Nimrat Kaur cooks, from the loving way she washes the vegetables, to the way she adds a pinch of spice here and there, to the packing of the dabba, wiping it to ensure it is dust-free...each of these gestures show the love she puts into the cooking.
Food, love, and love for food, all these bring subtle transformations to the protagonists' lives. While it helps Irfan explore life beyond his secluded existence, it makes Nimrat find new strength in herself.
The movie was watched in pin-drop silence. No one wanted to miss a single moment or part of a conversation, I believe. After it was over, I remained seated in my place for a while, so overwhelmed was I with the experience of watching it.
Comparing this movie with any other movie, of any language or era is futile. This movie has simply no comparison. All departments excel: direction, story, acting... There are many meanings, inferences and conclusions that you can draw from the movie. What I choose to believe is that the movie tells me that life with all its subtleties is worth living every minute.
This movie is mostly Hindi but has large chunks of the English language too. The success of this wonderful movie ensures that a good script draws the audiences irrespective of  its very  little marketing or promotions.
I don't give this movie a rating as all the stars in the sky put together are not enough to rate this movie.


Ashwini Kumar said...

Good Review, loved the way you have described it.

Beautiful World said...

Thank you so much, Ashwini

Anonymous said...

So, the movie is ADORABLE. No disagreement. But what is Good ? depiction of loneliness ? OR we connecting to this expression ?