Left Me Hungry for More
‘I think you forget things when you don’t have anyone to tell them to’ this single line is enough to feel your heart sink and set The Lunch Box apart from other movies. It does not compromise on anything – be it the attention to details, quality, identifiable characters, slow pace, social commentary or the lack luster sets.
All the elements of the formula of a hit Bollywood movie are thrown into the dustbin. There are no cheesy one liners, item numbers, 5 songs, unwanted attention to star actors, one expression actresses, semi naked hot bodies, or one dimensional characters.
What we have in the lunchbox is fantastic portrayal of characters you might just know, meticulous attention to detail, wit intelligently woven to the screenplay, and a haunting melancholy. The underlying theme of the movie is loneliness’, monotony and an inherent desire to find someone, that someone who will listen to what you have to say, appreciate you, or even just eat the food you prepare.
lla is an unkempt, notice her undone eyebrows in every scene, ignored, house wife whose sole intention is to get some attention from her husband. She is helped by her friendly neighbor to prepare a tasty meal to impress her husband. But, the lunchbox is delivered to Sajan Fernandis, a widower, who is about to retire from a job he has been in for 35 years. What develops through notes in the lunch boxes is a unique and complex relationship and this forms the crux of the story.
30 minutes into the movie, I saw three girls leave an already empty hall. Can’t blame them because, the movie is not everyone’s dabba. The pace and the recurring shots might get on to some people’s nerves. It defies entertainment which is often defined as escapism. The movie can get so real, sometimes, that you might want to escape from it.
Sajan’s wrinkles, aging eyes, undertone frustration, spectacles and its golden case, his markers, half spoken words or train, auto, and bus rides he takes. Everything either breaks your heart or forces you to connect with him.
Same goes with Ila. Her helplessness, her want of appreciation, her vulnerability or her guilty pressure of exchanging notes with a stranger. She does everything with ease and poise like any other house wife.
The relationship of an employee with his replacement is so well done that you end up giggling at the actuality of it all. Aslam Shaeik is a man who will go to any extent to get his work done. How many of us can actually deny of knowing people like him? His ‘Hello Sir’ and ‘I love this’ manages to bring a smile every time.
The Lunch box is like a good book, it needs time to grow on you. But it pains my hands and heart to write the next few lines. For me, the movie didn’t work because of one primary reason – Closure. A lot is left to the imagination of the viewer. When the movie was over, a guy behind me said ‘Arre, kitna time waste ho gaya yaar, dekthe rahe aur kuch hua nahi.”
May be a few years ago, I wouldn’t have agreed with that guy but now I do. A story teller’s responsibility is to tell a story completely. I did feel a little cheated. Since, food is a central character in the movie; I will explain my point of view with an example.
Imagine you are a chocolate lover. You always crave for a gooey in the middle, super moist chocolate cake with chocolate sauce dripping all over it. Now, God grants your wish, the cake of your dreams is right in front of you. You admire its beauty for a good 2 hours. Then you are tempted with a piece, you are even allowed to slice it, you take it in your hand but just when you are about to eat it, someone snatches it away.
You are so disappointed that you don’t even want to lick what is left with your fingers. And that’s exactly how I feel but that should not stop you from watching the movie.