Movie Review: Lunch Box

Food for thought…

The Dabbawala community has been awarded a Six Sigma Certification. Six Sigma is a set of practices to systematically improve processes by eliminating defects. They received the Certification because they did not care about Certification but cared only about customer satisfaction.

Agreed a mistake can be happen once, even by the efficient Dabbawala. But to consistently hand over a tiffin to the wrong address to a wrong person for over a fortnight certainly makes a mockery of the fact that these guys have this Certification. And that they are passionate about customer satisfaction.

What is even more traumatic for one to fathom is that while the wrong guy gets the wrong tiffin, the tiffin meant for the wrong guy goes to another person, the husband, with the same consistency. This coincidence is baffling. And what is unpalatable is the fact that the husband who gets the wrong tiffin is not able to recognize his own tiffin! The service provider only ensures your tiffin reaches on time. How come the husband does not know the taste of his own home-cooked food and the colour and type of his Lunch Box?

Indeed fiction is stranger than fact.

Given this backdrop, you understand that the basic premise of on which Lunch Box is based is horribly flawed. Even if one were to take cinematic liberties one cannot account for such creative lapses. It is like cooking meat without washing and without first marinating it. What would be its taste?

And even if you are willing to look the other way where this weak foundation is concerned, you are not able to savor the brilliance of Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui or the genius of Nimrat Kaur. This one nagging flaw returns to haunt you because the dots don’t join. That’s why I mentioned earlier, it is traumatic.

Ila (Kaur) deligently cooks for her husband (Nakul Vaid). However, the Lunch Box lands at Sajjan Fernandes’ (Irrfan Khan) table. He is the wrong guy. Fernandes is a widower and is on the verge of retirement. The first time Ila learns that her husband was not the recipient of the tiffin, she says nothing. Instead, she writes a note and packs it off with the lunch to Sajjan. Thus begin their exchange of notes; she shares her story, while Sajjan narrates his. Meanwhile, her husband wants to know why she is always sending potatoes!

Watching Irrfan and Nawazuddin in the same frame is a treat. As the new recruit who is to take on Sajjan’s job in the Claims Department, Nawazuddin is annoying to the point of being likeable. Nimrat is just perfect for this role and she dishes out every scene with brilliance rarely seen in someone so new. She is like this last ‘dash’ of sugar you add in a dish to give it that extra punch!

But what’s the point when there is no right dose of proper ingredients which makes the final dish yummy?

When a cricket or a soccer team is out of the running for the knock-out stage and their last league match is on, it is only of academic interest to the viewer and the players. They play to save the name of their team and increase their ratings.

Ditto Lunch Box. The three actors soar.

Two stars are for these three actors who hold together a meaningless plot.

A director who is part of this production venture says that it should win the Oscar. For that to happen, it should first be nominated.

Rating: 2 / 5
Martin D’Souza
This first appeared on glamsham on September 20, 2013


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