The Lunchbox

Rated 4.0

The Lunchbox is a low-key love story from India in which small passions and pleasures enliven the otherwise discouraging circumstances of its characters. The principle characters include Saajan (Irrfan Khan), a rather dour widower who is on the verge of retirement after 35 years in a large firm’s claims department, and Ila (Nimrat Kaur), a young mother and unhappy housewife who prepares boxed lunches for the city’s noontime delivery system. Ila prepares a lunch meant for her husband, and includes a personal note. The lunch is delivered to Saajan by mistake; he appreciates it, reads the note, and sends one of his own back with the empty containers. Gradually, an increasingly personal correspondence develops between the two of them—all by way of lunch-time notes, until the possibility of meeting face-to-face seems irresistible to both. Batra’s film is impressive (and unexpectedly moving) in the ways it remains calmly sympathetic with at least the potential for a May-September romance in all this, while also presenting a sensitive and nuanced picture of the characters’ lives and their social circumstances. Pageant Theatre. Rated R