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Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery.

This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Sajaan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.

Director and writer: Ritesh Batra

Year : 2013

Genre : Fiction

Length : Feature

Runtime : 104 mins


Country : India

Language: Hindi (english subtitles)

Cast & Credits:

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Producers: Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari

Co-Producers: Nina Lath Gupta, Shanaab Alam, Vivek Rangachari, Sunil John, Nittin Keni, Karsten Stöter, Benny Dreschel, Cedomir Kolar, Marc Baschet, Danis Tanovic

Executive Producers:  Lydia Dean Pilcher, Irrfan Khan, Ritesh Batra

Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds

Editor: John Lyons

Production Designer: Shruti Gupte

Sound: Michael Kaczmarek

Music: Max Richter

Production and Sales compagnies: Sikhya Entertainment (India), Dar Motion Pictures (India), NFDC (India), ROH Films (Germany), ASAP Films (France), Cine Mosaic (USA), Mongrel media

THE LUNCHBOX is Ritesh Batra’s debut feature. Shot on location in Mumbai, The Lunchbox made its world premiere at the Semaine De La Critique (Critics Week) at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Ritesh Batra’s short films have been shown at many international film festivals and fine arts venues. His recent Arab language short Café Regular, Cairo, screened at over 40 international film festivals and won 12 awards including the International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) at Oberhausen, and Special Jury Mentions at Tribeca and Chicago. Café Regular, Cairo was acquired by Franco-German broadcaster, Arte.

His feature script The Story Of Ram was part of the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors labs in 2009. He is currently working on his next film Photograph and a collection of short stories. Born and raised in Mumbai, Ritesh now lives between Mumbai and New York with his wife Claudia and their daughter Aisha.

“A deft and charming first feature by Ritesh Batra. A perfect balance of tact and sentimentality.” – A.O Scott, The New York Times

“A tasty surpise”- Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood reporter

“Enormously warm and subtle, and Irrfan Khan is just a dream to watch.”- Linda Holmes, NPR

“Ritesh Batra has his own distinctive style, and his feature debut is thoroughly endearing.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Food is enjoyed, lives are changed, and real passion—however chaste— is expressed. Batra has crafted a genuine crowd-pleaser.” – Paul Ennis, NOW Magazine”While films with this subject matter are often gooey at their core, The Lunchbox offers fully realized, tough-minded characters who just happen to be spicing up their lives with touches of humor and hints of mystery.” – Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News

2013 Cannes film Festival

2013 TIFF


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