By Andrea K. Hammer
One of the prized aspects of film is the medium’s ability to preserve visual images of beloved actors. For fan’s of Irrfan Khan who have not recovered from the loss of his great talent, Lunchbox enlarges and deepens his soulful body of work (Puzzle, Namesake).
Simple Yet Compelling Premise
In this unique romantic drama by Ritesh Batra with a simple yet compelling premise, Irrfan Khan plays the widowed Saajan with his trademark subtlety. As he mistakenly receives lunches carefully prepared to re-awaken interest in housewife Ila’s disinterested husband, the lonely man about to retire begins to anticipate and devour her enclosed notes with equal relish. Only an actor of his high caliber could successfully make many of the wordless scenes in Lunchbox interesting–and often heart wrenching.
Ingenious Scenes During Advice-Seeking Exchanges
In a well-balanced match, the actress Nimrat Kaur captures Ila’s unspoken despair as she discovers and faces her husband’s infidelity. As she picks up an unfamiliar scent on his shirts and watches him return from work without a word, Ila registers the complex emotions visually. In some of the film’s most ingenious scenes, her advice-seeking exchanges with her unseen but heard aunt–who lives one floor above–involve gathering special ingredients from a basket lowered outside her window.
Off-Putting Element With Graphics and Disclaimers
In contrast to the overriding charm of this romantic drama, one off-putting element involves the opening graphics and ongoing labels that “smoking kills” during scenes with cigarettes. With whole-hearted support for this type of ad campaign at the right moment, we cannot object to this statement. However, Artsphoria viewers wonder why the harm-causing props weren’t simply eliminated. Perhaps watching an actor standing and thinking on a porch didn’t seem interesting enough, but the inclusion of smoking–and the disclaimers–does not enhance the film.
Overriding Strength in Memorable Story With Reverberating Messages
Despite this distraction, the overall strength of Lunchbox makes it an outstanding film showcasing Irrfan Khan‘s extraordinary talents and those of everyone involved in this memorable romantic drama, with messages that continue to reverberate.