music friday: harry belafonte
film fatales #167: strange days (kathryn bigelow, 1995)

the lunchbox (ritesh batra, 2013)

This is the thirtieth film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2022-23", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 8th annual challenge, and my fourth time participating (my first year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", the second year at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21", and last year at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2021-22"). Week 30 is called "Modern Bollywood Week":

This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen modern Bollywood film, as dictated by Ramish's list here.

This was the first feature for writer-director Ritesh Batra. He had intended to make a documentary about the Dabbawala, a lunchbox delivery service in India that works remarkably well. Doing research, Batra decided there were plenty of good stories among the delivery workers, and so he opted to create a fictional film, The Lunchbox. The documentary basis is evident in the detailed way he shows us how the system works. But the central story is a romance between a wife, Ila, who makes lunches for her husband, and a man, Saajan, who accidentally receives her lunches (a mistake said to occur only once every six million deliveries). The two form a relationship around those lunchboxes ... she includes a note in each box, and he writes a response for when the box is returned. The relationship deepens, as does the length of the notes, which become more like letters.

All of the acting is excellent: the late, award-winning Irrfan Khan as Saajan, Nimrat Kaur as Ila, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a workmate of Saajan's. It's a delightful first feature, although I felt a bit cheated by the ending, which is inconclusive when the audiences wants resolution.


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