If you’ve ever taken public transit in Toronto than you’ll know that Torontonians tend to keep to themselves. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most people that live in a big city are inclined to worry about their own life and their own problems without caring about the person who inconveniently asked them to move their bag so they can sit down on an extremely packed bus. And why should we care? Individuality is cherished in our society – which is a great thing. I would hate to live in a world where everybody is the same. That would be extremely uninspiring. But of course there is a downside to individuality. We fail to recognize that we live in a community – full of people just like ourselves going through each day with their own stories and conflicts.
The Lunchbox (2013) is an Indian romantic film written and directed by Ritesh Batra. It follows the lives of Saajan and Ila whose destinies are intertwined by a lunchbox. One of the joys of watching foreign films is being able to learn about a country’s ways without having to buy a plane ticket. How many times have we gone to work with our lunches still in the fridge? If you’re a ‘forget-head’ like me, than you probably leave your lunch behind every other day. Thanks to the ‘dabbwala’ system, people in Mumbai do not have to deal with such a problem. Imagine getting your lunch delivered to you everyday right to your desk! That’s VIP service right there.
Food brings people together. Everyone has heard that phrase. Batra’s 104 minute film plays with that concept. You can probably picture in your head the amount of people there are in India – especially in a city like Mumbai. So it might be no surprise that someone’s lunch might be delivered to the wrong person. But the film constantly reminds us that this can’t be the case because the ‘dabbwalla’ system has been studied by Harvard as making zero mistakes – the lunch deliverers can’t comprehend the fact that maybe Ila’s lunchbox has been delivered to the wrong person. They just go about their business and continue to do the same thing every single day. Everybody in the film seems to be just going through the motions, not noticing what is going on around them.
The lunchbox serves as an escape for both Saajan and Ila. They look forward to reading the letters that they write to each other. Their lives begin to have some meaning and excitement in a world that just doesn’t seem to care. The city of Mumbai becomes a character itself. With all the distractions that occur in our mind like how we’re going to pay for all the bills or what we’re going to prepare for dinner, we become preoccupied with ourselves – not noticing the changes that are going on in our environment and the problems of our neighbours. Maybe the next time someone asks you to move your bag so they can have a seat, don't kiss your teeth but instead, give them a smile and remember that they are an individual just like yourself.
The Lunchbox (2013) rating a GOOD watch plain and simple . If you take my advice and watch the film or have already watched it, let me know! Please comment below.
Watch the Trailer Here: