The Lunchbox (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
June 29, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“The Lunchbox” is an entertaining, warm and captivating epistolary romance film! A film about how two strangers ease their sadness and loneliness by sending letters to one other through a lunchbox. Featuring strong performances by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, filmmaker Ritesh Batra’s feature film debut, “The Lunchbox” is highly recommended!
© 2014 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Lunchbox
FILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 111 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, Hindi 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: PG (For Thematic Material and Smoking)
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Written and Directed by Ritesh Batra
Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Arun Rangachari
Co-Producer: Shahnaab Alam, Marc Baschet, Benny Drechsel, Nina Lath Gupta, Nittin Keni, Cedomir Kolar, Vivek Rangachari, Karsten Stoter, Danis Tanovic
Executive Produced: Ritesh Batra, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Irrfan Khan, Vikramjit Roy
Music by Max Richter
Cinematography by Michael Simmonds
Edited by John F. Lyons
Casting by Seher Latif
Production Design by Shruti Gupte
Set Decoration by Akshi Kapoor
Costume Design by Niharika Khan
Irrfan Khan as Saajan Fernandes
Nimrat Kaur as Ila
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shaikh
Lillete Dubey as Ila’s Mother
Nakul Vaid as Rajeev
Bharati Achrekar as Auntie
A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects Ila, a neglected housewife, to Saajan (Irrfan Khan), a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Through a series of exchanged notes that they pass back and forth through the lunches, Saajan and Ila find comfort in their unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in their virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.
Ritesh Batra was one of 2013’s success stories.
Best known for his short films, his 2013 feature romantic film “Dabba” (The Lunchbox) would receive positive reviews from film critics and audiences around the world.
Starring Irrfan Khan (“Life of Pi”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”), Nimrat Kaur (“One Night with the King”) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (“Talaash”, “Kahaani”, “Gangs of Wasseypur”), “The Lunchbox” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
“The Lunchbox” focuses on two unhappy characters.
Saajan Fernandes (portrayed by Irrfan Khan) is an accountant close to retiring and must help the younger Shaikh (portrayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) of how to do his job. A widowed man who is often seen as anti-social and grumpy, he is also lonely.
Lia (portrayed by Nimrat Kaur) is a married woman with a child. With the help of her auntie (featuring the voice of Bharati Achrekar), she is trying to make dishes in hopes to win her husband’s affections and feels he is having an affair.
One day, as Lia prepares a dish for her husband, the lunchbox delivery man (Dabbawalas) accidentally delivers the lunchbox to Saajan Fernandes. When Fernandes tastes the food, he notices how delicious it is.
As for Lia, hoping to hear comments about her cooking and most of all, seeing an improvement in the relationship with her husband, he doesn’t respond at all and is critical about her cooking of cauliflower which she was not responsible for.
Realizing that her food is going to another man, she writes a note to whoever may be eating her food and continues to make food for the lunchbox that is delivered to Fernandes and he responds and it ultimately leads to these two unhappy people to write each other about how they truly feel about their current life.
But what happens when their communication by mail grows to be more than strangers writing each other but a dependent on each other for support during their tough time in their lives?
“The Lunchbox” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film looks magnificent on Blu-ray. Earthy colors, close-ups show great detail and for the most part, no signs of excessive banding or artifact issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Lunchbox” is presented in Hindi DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Audio descriptive track in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue driven as dialogue is crystal clear through the front channels. There are use of the surround channels for more ambiance (especially inside the train). But as a romantic film, the soundtrack is appropriate.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.
“The Lunchbox” comes with commentary by writer/director Ritesh Batra.
“The Lunchbox” comes both with a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film.
The concept of accidental messages have been topics in film and television for years.
From “Il Mare/The Lake House” which dealt with mail communication from a man in the past to a woman of the future, to the Japanese TV series “With Love” about a woman who accidentally receives a composition from a music composer and begins an e-mail dialogue or “The Shop Around the Corner” and “You Got Mail” which dealt with two people counting on each other for support but hopefully finding love.
“The Lunchbox” was rather fascinating that while the film could have been another romantic epistolary film, because of the Indian culture, the storyline for “The Lunchbox” is rather different from the films just mentioned.
Similar to these other films, how communication soothes their soul and makes them reflect on their current lives, there is always that time when both agree to meet each other. Will any romance happen between the older Fernandes and the younger Lia?
One must watch and find out but most importantly, the warmness of the film, its characters and character direction was well-done.
There is no doubt that Ritesh Batra hit a homerun with his feature film debut and thanks to the magnificent acting of Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, one can only hope that the hype that “The Lunchbox” has received worldwide that she churns out another captivating film.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is magnificent. Close-up details are well-done, colors are natural and earthy. I didn’t notice any artifacts or edge enhancement issues during my viewing of the film. As for the lossless soundtrack, as one can expect from a romance film, the dialogue is primarily front-channel driven. While surround channels showcase the ambiance of the character’s surroundings, especially on a train. You get a single special feature which is a commentary with writer/director Ritesh Batra.
Overall, “The Lunchbox” is an entertaining, warm and captivating epistolary romance film!
A film about how two strangers ease their sadness and loneliness by sending letters to one other through a lunchbox. Featuring strong performances by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, filmmaker Ritesh Batra’s feature film debut, “The Lunchbox” is highly recommended!
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