Sunday, June 8, 2014

Film: The Lunchbox | Around Australia from July 10

There were a lot of films that showcased at the Sydney Film Festival and The Lunchbox was one of the first films I chose to get tickets for. Why? Well, firstly I had a natural affinity to all things bollywood as I’ve been trained in that genre of dance – so much colour, liveliness and energy. It’s one of those things that makes me feel good every time I perform a Bollywood number. Secondly, the film contains food and romance. I love Indian food – the wonderful blend of spices and naan bread. And romance, well let’s just say the film contains enough ingredients to make you feel good.  Did you miss out seeing it at the Sydney Film Festival? Fear not. The Lunchbox will be screening in selected cinemas around Australia from 10 July.

If you are like me and check out the international reviews before seeing a film locally you would have noticed The Lunchbox received widespread critical acclaim. The Lunchbox is a clever crowd-pleaser from first-time director Ritesh Batra and starring Bollywood/Hollywood crossover star Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire), Nimrat Kaur, an Indian film and stage actress, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an Indian film actor who has appeared in some of Bollywood's major films.

The story centres around 3 people: Saajan is a lonely accountant about to retire from his job. Ila is a young wife seeking her husband's attention, looking for ways to put romance back in her marriage, and tries to cook her way to her husband's heart. The story is inspired by Mumbai's remarkable dabba (lunchbox) delivery system, in which only one in four million home-cooked meals is ever incorrectly delivered. That one wayward lunch links Ila with Saajan. Meanwhile Saajan deals with a young employee, Shaikh, he is supposed to train to replace him when he retires.

You can taste the food in this film without eating it. The film illustrates how old fashion letters and the longer wait for replies can be more effective to make your heart flutter than emails received in an instant; how food can transform the unlikeliest of people; and the key quote in the film, ‘how the wrong train can sometimes lead you to the right platform’. There is no shortage of good humour which will have you chuckling along the way. My favourite scenes are when Shaikh chops vegetables on the train to save food preparation time when he gets home for dinner and the scenes with ‘the heard but never to be seen’ Auntie who shouts out advice from apartment above to Ila on cooking and marriage.

It was a full house at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne when we watched The Lunchbox on a Sunday night, The Lunchbox did not disappoint and received an applause from the audience at the end of the film. Hats off to the director and the cast, The Lunchbox is a brilliant film, probably the best I have seen so far this year. It's fantastic the film is distributed again in selected cinemas around Australia. I would definitely watch it again.

A dabbawala is a person in India who is part of a
delivery system that collects hot food in lunch boxes

When? From July 10
Running Time? 123 minutes
Rating? PG Language: Hindi with English Subtitles
Cinemas locations?
- Palace Verona, Cremorne, Palace Norton St, Dendy Newtown, Dendy Opera Quays, Roseville, Randwick Ritz
VIC – Rivoli, Cinema Nova, Palace Como, Palace Brighton Bay, Yarraville, Kino, Balwyn, Classic Elsternwick
ACT - Palace Electric
SA - Palace Eastend
WA - Windsor WA, Luna SX
TAS - State Cinema Hobart
QLD - Palace Centro, Gold Coast Arts, Regal Graceville

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