A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an old man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox.
Directors Ritesh Batra
Genres Drama
Subtitles None Available
Audio Languages English

THE LUNCHBOX [2013 / 2014] [Blu-ray] A Feel-Good Movie That Touches The Heart! Subtle, Heart-warming and Delightful . . . A Masterful Success!

When Saajan Fernandes [Irrfan Khan], an ill-tempered Mumbai office worker nearing retirement, is delivered the wrong lunch he is pleasantly surprised by the improvement in his food. The lunchbox had been intended for young housewife Ila [Nimrat Kaur] from an emotionally indifferent husband in an attempt to win back his favour. When he fails to respond to her efforts, Ila decides to enclose a note in the next meal and Saajan Fernandes, his taste-buds tickled and his interest piqued, decides to write back…

An exquisite comedy-drama featuring some of the most mouth-watering scenes of cooking and eating ever seen on film, and ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ is a warm-hearted treat that will leave you hungry for more. So begins Ritesh Batra’s exquisite comedy-drama.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 2013 Amazonas Film Festival: Win: Best Film for Ritesh Batra. Win: Best Actress for Nimrat Kaur. 2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards: Win: Best Screenplay for Ritesh Batra. Win: Jury Grand Prize for Ritesh Batra. 2013 Cannes Film Festival: Win: Grand Golden Rail for Ritesh Batra. Nominated: Critics Week Grand Prize for Ritesh Batra. Nominated: Golden Camera for Ritesh Batra. 2013 London Film Festival: Nominated: Best Film for Ritesh Batra. 2014 Apsara Film Producers Guild Awards: Win: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Win: Yash Chopra Award for the Most Promising Debut Director for Ritesh Batra. Win: Star Verdict of the Year for Irrfan Khan. Nominated: Best Screenplay for Ritesh Batra. Nominated: Best Film for Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari and Guneet Monga. Nominated: Best Director for Ritesh Batra. Nominated: Best Actress for Nimrat Kaur. Nominated: Best Actor for Irrfan Khan. Nominated: Best Story for Ritesh Batra. Nominated: Best Female Debut for Nimrat Kaur. 2014 Asian Film Awards: Win: Best Actor for Irrfan Khan. Nominated: Best Screenwriter for Ritesh Batra. 2014 Awards of the International Indian Film Academy: Nominated: Best Story for Ritesh Batra. Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Nimrat Kaur. Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Nawazuddin Siddiqui. 2015 BAFTA® Awards: Nominated: Best Film Not in the English Language for Arun Rangachari, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga and Ritesh Batra. ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ was selected for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Telluride, and Sundance.

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Lillete Dubey, Nakul Vaid, Bharti Achrekar, Yashvi Puneet Nagar, Denzil Smith, Shruti Bapna, Nasir Khan, Lokesh Raj, Sadashiv Kondaji Pokarkar, Aarti Rathod, Krishna Bai, Raj Rishi More, Santosh Kumar Chaurasiya, Swapnil Shirirao, Avijit Khanwilkar, Aakash Sinha, Xavier Hodges, Rosemary Hodges, Hubart Vossoaker, Rosemary Vossoaker, Flory Vossoaker, Sebastian Vossoaker, Quitira Vossoaker, Baaburao Sankpal, Chandrakantha Rajani, Kancha Karki, Rajendra Dubey, Narendra Arora, Ashwin Desai, Mahesh Mahadev Salavkar, Krishna Mandal, Calvin Desilva, Craig Narona, Kyeron Kandoria, Shubh Jadav, Rita Sonal Panjatan (voice) and Akash Sinha (uncredited)

Director: Ritesh Batra

Producers: Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari, Benny Drechsel, Cédomir Kolar, Danis Tanovic, Gitika Aggarwal, Guneet Monga, Irrfan Khan, John F. Lyons, Karan Johar, Karsten Stöter, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Marc Baschet, Meraj Shaikh Nina, Lath Gupta, Nitin Keni, Ritesh Batra, Ronnie Screwvala, Sahab Narain, Shahnaab Alam, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Shaan Vyas, Shivani Saran, Smriti Jain, Sunil John, Vikramjit Roy and Vivek Rangachari

Screenplay: Ritesh Batra (screenplay) and Vasan Bala (hindi dialogue consultant)

Composer: Max Richter

Cinematography: Michael Simmonds (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio: Hindi/English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Hindi/English: 2.0 LPCM Audio Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 104 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Curzon Artificial Eye / British Film Institute

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ [2013] is director Ritesh Batra’s debut feature film, where we see a romance that takes place in Mumbai, but its style is more Hollywood than Bollywood, and Old Hollywood at that. Though director Ritesh Batra and his cinematographer Michael Simmonds, shot the film on location in the bustling modern Indian city, with a naturalism alien to both American studios and present-day Indian musical extravaganzas.

‘THE LUNCHBOX’ film has the measured pace and classical restraint of a romance from the 1930s or 1940s. The comedy is more wry than uproarious, the melodrama gently poignant rather than operatic, and the sentimentality just sweet enough to be satisfying rather than bothersome. The main characters Ila [Nimrat Kaur], a neglected housewife, and Saajan Fernandes [Irrfan Khan], a widowed office worker nearing retirement and communicate through personalised handwritten letters and home-cooked meals.

Their world has been only lightly touched by the latest social and technological advances. Ila launders her husband’s shirts by hand and cooks his lunches that are supposed to be delivered to him, via bicycle, rail and the shoulders of white-jacketed couriers called Dabbawala (Lunchboxes), through the streets of Mumbai’s elaborate and storied meal-delivery system. Saajan Fernandes, labours at a wooden desk in a crowded workplace that is anything but paper free. For 35 years, without error or complaint, Saajan Fernandes has doggedly ploughed through endless stacks of folders, keeping accounts with a ruler and pencil.

With Saajan Fernandes he has a warm heart that lurks beneath his dour exterior and is something the audience will assume right away and this is a comfortingly familiar kind of film we come to expect from the continent of India. Saajan Fernandes relishes understatement, occasionally allowing the character’s suppressed emotion to peek out from behind his quiet, standoffish demeanour, and is plagued, and eventually befriended, by Shaikh [Nawazuddin Siddiqui], the eager young man who is his designated replacement. Shaikh is an orphan who subsists on a few pieces of fruit at lunch and an inexhaustible supply of positive thinking, represents the striving of poorer Indians scrambling toward the middle class.

As the days go by, Ila and Saajan Fernandes use the lunchbox notes to unburden their thoughts, relieved at having a confidante in each other. Though chaste and brief, the messages become the focus of their days, zeroing in on their loneliness and dissatisfaction with society today and they also exchange appreciations of old TV shows. Director Ritesh Batra’s adeptly plays on the tension of will they or won’t they meet, making good decisions based on character and situation rather than the need to uplift an audience without causing any tension.

Here director Ritesh Batra has an understanding of visuals, in collaboration with Michael Simmonds (Director of Photography), results in a meaningful use of space, such as the way the multi-stacked lunchbox sits at the far end of Saajan Fernandes’s desk, a conspicuous tower separated from him and his paperwork. Even more important for composition and character, early scenes of Saajan Fernandes’s commute have him in the middle of the packed train cars, clearly hemmed in by society, while later on he is shifted to a space by the open window, allowing him to breathe in the possibilities opening up before him.

Director Ritesh Batra, who has also done the screenplay for the film written ‘THE LUNCHBOX,’ has allowed his smashing actors tremendous room to improvise, all the while himself sketching in nuanced details about the city, its food-ferries, the Dabbawala (lunchboxes), and the many disparities in the city of Mumbai is crammed within the film scenario. It is a film of multiple pleasures, small ones and overwhelming ones and exquisitely crafted ones and layered one on top of the other, with something for everyone, and so much for the cinematic feast before your eyes, you wish you was in the film enjoying all what you view. There are plenty of moments to treasure in ‘THE LUNCHBOX,’ and they are all small and delicately crafted. Those looking for romance will swoon with delight as they discover two lonely people can find a way to make things work. All in all, the director Ritesh Batra certainly delivers what he intended the film to portray about all aspects of human life in India and is the most optimistic film to be released in 2013, especially when you realise Indian cinema is undergoing a renaissance, right in front of your eyes.

Blu-ray Image Quality – Curzon Artificial Eye has pulled out all the stops with this Blu-ray release, as the 1080p image resolution looks spectacular. Certain scenes and environments have a very pastel look to them and there were no signs of contrast or sharpness fluctuations whatsoever and it has a flawless presentation. With all the food you get to view, you feel you want to feast on it all, and made me want to get my passport out and take a trip to Mumbai, and you can almost feel India right there in your living room. Black levels remained deep and inky and the colour palette is sensational. There are many uses of colour throughout the film and it is a very cool colour palette that puts the viewer at ease and they are a work of art unto themselves and it’s one of my favourite things about the film. Flesh tones look also very natural, so making this a very clean and natural looking pristine image of the film and are a flawless victory throughout the film. You get very nice subtitles, but sadly they only give us 50% of what the actors are saying and found this very frustrating and so I found this to be very unprofessional om the part Curzon Artificial Eye. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Curzon Artificial Eye brings us two audio experiences in the form of Hindi: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Hindi: 2.0 LPCM Audio Stereo, but luckily with English subtitles. For such a low-key film you would not expect to have that “oomph” factor, but during those scenes that feature any given character out and about in the streets of Mumbai and either walking, driving, or taking the bus, the elements and busy-ness of the environment really livens up the surround audio track. I felt like a fly on the wall riding the bus and it is a very immersive track. There are many instances where you may hear an engine revving up or when the bus is revving up, and the speaker channels get a real revving up in itself. The City of Mumbai is heavily populated and busy and you will feel as if you were walking the streets as the rear channels have every background noise coming at you at the same time without feeling cluttered. It’s an extremely clean ambient experience. Dialogue is crystal clear, so be prepared for many instances of English being spoken by many of the characters and seem to be very fluent in both languages and the centre speaker handles it perfectly well.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Short Film: ‘Café Regular, Cairo’ [2012] [1080p] [1.78:1] [10:58] Director Ritesh Batra’s award-winning Arabic language short film ‘Café Regular, Cairo’ has been screened at over 40 International Film Festivals and won 12 awards. For the most part this is a charmingly frank film that mostly gets by on how very simple it is. Here we see a young couple having a discussion at a table in the Café Regular in Cairo. They have been together for two years but for Mai there are frustrations bottling up and the divorce of her sister and an interaction with some foreigners on a train have brought the subject of sex to the fore front of her mind and a subject that Alaa is not particularly comfortable discussing in a public place, who is a typical Egyptian, who is a typical misogynous dinosaur in his attitude towards discussing sex. The film is essentially a dialogue scene for just over 10 minutes and means that the challenge is to hold the attention of the viewer and for me this worked really well. Fortunately, both Abozeed and Ezzat are very natural with one another, nervous of those around, taken aback with one another but yet still intimate as a couple and in this regard the film works very well. For the most part the subject matter works very well and mainly because it is a very natural discussion, even if it is culturally taboo in Egypt. It does still work because of the script direction and the nature of the discussion allows us to see the desire of the next generation to not be restrained by tradition but at the same time still have the desire to observe these two people talking frank, especially when it comes the subject of having sex to be the central subject. That said it was still a very enjoyable little short film thanks to the topic and how naturally it was presented. Cast: Alaa Ezzat and Mai Abozeed. Director: Ritesh Batra. Producers: Alaa Mosbah, Guneet Monga and Wajdi Elian, Screenplay: Ritesh Batra. Cinematography: Islam Abdelsamie.

Special Feature: RITESH BATRA: Director of ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ [2014] [1080p] [1.78:1] [12:55] Here we have a very intimate interview with director Ritesh Batra. Here Ritesh explains that in 2007 he wanted to make a documentary about the people who deliver the Dabbawala (Lunchboxes) and was involved with them for a couple of weeks and just personally with them finding out all what they do, with just Ritesh on his own without notes and camera crew, and in the process Ritesh became very close friends to these people and heard all about their intimate stories in what happened to them. So as things moved on with hearing all these intimate stories, this is when Ritesh started to do his screenplay, especially with more fascinating characters he encountered. One of the men started to tell his story about a bored housewife who did different cooking of meals every day and how a mistake in the delivery of the lunchbox changes their lives forever. So as Ritesh went through the process of the screenplay, more characters started to evolve and Ritesh also informs us that although he was brought up with the Hindi language, he had to write the screenplay in English and some of the cast helped him translate the words into the Hindi language. Ritesh also informs us on the Directors he admires, which include Louis Malle [French film director] and Ingmar Bergman [Swedish film director]. As Ritesh explains his thinking about the process he went through for his film ‘THE LUNCHBOX,’ we also get several clips from the film. Ritesh also allowed the main actors to improvise, as he felt very confident in this situation. Also the main actress Nimrat Kaur in the film, Ritesh took ages to find this actress, and found her performance in the film totally perfect. Despite the interview being just over 10 minutes, it was still fascinating hearing the personal views of the director Ritesh Batra talking about the process of producing and directing this film and is at the same time really fascinating to hear him talk and someone I could listen to for ages, as Ritesh Batra is a very engaging young man. This definitely gets a five star rating from me. The interview was carried out by Journalist Anne Tezenas du Montcel.

Special Feature: NIMRAT KAUR: ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ [2014] [1080p] [1.78:1] [00:00] Here we have the second intimate interview, but this time we have the actress Nimrat Kaur who was the main character of the down trodden housewife in the film ‘THE LUNCHBOX,’ that was directed by Ritesh Batra. Nimrat informs us that the housewife was like a prisoner in her own home and at the same time feeling trapped, as is Saajan Fernandes, the ill-tempered Mumbai office worker, and both characters are also prisoners in their own world, but hoping one day that a ray of sunshine will enter their lives. When Ritesh Batra was in Berlin, met up with Nimrat Kaur, while viewing clips from her previous films, and when Ritesh and Nimrat met up in Bombay later on, Nimrat felt the meeting went very well and also felt a great energy from Ritesh, who eventually let Nimrat read the scriptand really fell in love with the whole concept of the film, and of course was now really keen to appear in the film. Because of the character Nimrat plays, feels again trapped, because the housewife is not allowed to be independent from a her husband, because most of the time he is very cold towards his wife, but has also not in love with her anymore, so this leads her to feel slightly cold towards her child, but tries her best to not show the child is not loved. Nimrat comments about the one scene in the film that really resonated towards in a very strong way, which was when Nimrat had to visit her Mother, because her Father had died, and was expected to be emotionally upset, because normally in India there is a great deal of pouring out of great emotions when someone in the family passes away, and Nimret found that scene particularly interesting, and especially felt her character should have everything revolve round her, especially because of the way her husband is so cold towards her and is crying out to be loved. To prepare her part as Ila, Nimrat spent six months with the script before shooting started, and felt it was a very satisfying process, and felt working with director Ritesh Batra was totally brilliant and very rewarding, as well as being very democratic experience, especially over the 29 days solid filming, and was also at the same time very exhausting, especially working is a very confined apartment, especially with all the crew in the rooms as well that really tested their endurance. Nimrat has met many Indian women who were very happy to just be a housewife 365 days of the year, but also has met other Indian business women who were very successful, but also felt at the same time felt very lonely, especially not having any kind of emotional outlet. Nimret also gets very upset when she hears especially via the news media about the terrible violence against women in India and feels this is down to a lack of education on the part of the men and also feels it stems from the common man who has to change their ways, especially their old fashioned misogynous attitude. Once again we get lots of clips from the film where Nimrat Kaur is illustrating different aspect of her relevant comments relating to the film. Once again this was a very engaging interview and the actress Nimrat Kaur is really lovely and like the previous interview I could have listened to Nimrat for a very long time, as all her conversations were very interesting to listen to. This also get a five star rating from me. The interview was carried out by Journalist Anne Tezenas du Montcel.

Theatrical Trailer [2013] [1080p] [2.35:1] [1:47] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘THE LUNCHBOX.’ This has English subtitles that is far superior to what you get to view in the film.

Finally, with the film ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ we find two strangers fall in love over a lunchbox and their letters that get exchanged and do they ever meet? Like a tiffin carrier, ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ has so many levels and it is the story of a man so lonely, he has forgotten what any companionship really means. It is the story of a suburban housewife, who is deeply alone. It is the story of meeting via eating. It is a love-story and a love-letter at the same time to Mumbai, to the trains that go click-clack over long distances, to Dabbawala (lunchboxes) and rain, to love and life, sugar and spice, the despair and the hope that mark every heart. Warming this feast of delight is the wonderful screenplay, you have sound recording that must be heard to be believed. Its finesse qualifies this charmer as India’s potential entry to the Oscars, and of course got rewarded with lots of Awards and Nominations. ‘THE LUNCHBOX’ film is an unusual banquet, raising a bitter-sweet toast to life, so dig in! Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso
United Kingdom