Monday, 23 September 2013

A Love story redefined.

There exist love stories which are garnished with flashy, exorbitant, cheesy words, lines or rather emotions. The rule of having a slow romantic song in the rain or in exotic locations in the most eye catching clothes remains unsaid. And then there are love stories that don’t need long conversations to go with drinks and playful hands. They don’t need your pretty eyes or that make-you-go-weak-in-your-knees kinda smile. They just need a lunchbox and before you’ll realize, an unusual, unnerving love story has already distracted you from your mundane life.
A still from the film. Photo Courtesy: Internet

The past weekend, quite unexpectedly, has been happening with two very diverse films, both in terms of craft and target audience, releasing: Phata Poster Nikla Hero and The Lunchbox.
Lets first talk about the movie that’s more recommended from my side,The Lunchbox. Not that PPNH is bad, but at times stories of hope, sorrow, regrets and fears relating to everyday life shouldn't be overlooked.
The Lunchbox is your story. It’s my story. Its Ila’s story. It can be any homely hausfrau’s simple yet intriguing story whose sole motive on mind is to win the attention of her extraordinarily distracted husband(played by Nakul Vaid) through his stomach. She abides by her Nani’s self written recipes and looks forward to the little joys of opening an empty lunchbox, an affirmation of the fact that your experiments with new recipes are working. And in the quite acknowledgment you find a sense of self-worth. It gives you a sense of liberation from the detached void that exists in your own marriage.

The film was screened on May 19, 2013 as a part of the International Critics' Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation and positive reviews. A standout in the Cannes critics’ week that had generated potent word of mouth, It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Variety called it "a notable debut from tyro helmer-scripter", for creating a film with "crossover appeal of Monsoon Wedding", and also praised acting of Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. What impression do these numerous film festival achievements make on your mind? That the film must have had  a serious plot, not entertaining or worth spending your precious money or ideal weekend on? You are going wrong.

Until now, my ideology was that there are only 2 kinds of films: either good or bad, supported by my years old interest in movies. But then came The Lunchbox and my rigid thoughts took a new shape. This film is not about being good or bad. There are some films on which you don’t feel like segregating each aspect and commenting. The film will make you, mind you, you yourself willingly won’t, sit back and transit into another relatable phase of your life, which, either has already happened, is happening or you can foresee it happening. Ila and Mr. Fernandez‘s story is a phase I can myself see going through some 15 or 20 years down the path. Happens, happens, to every obedient, homely housewife in India. And maybe, to every about-to-be-retired lonely old man.

 Enclosing this overlooked, hopeful yet fragile love story are the ‘dabbawallahs’, a community of lunchbox deliverymen who deliver thousands of hot meals cooked by their housewives every morning at their husband’s work desk. Just watching the white-capped men bicycle the uncountable lunchboxes rain or shine is an exhilarating hoot. As one delivery man proudly recalls, their system has been the subject of a Harvard university, which concluded that only one in a million such lunchboxes goes astray. The film is about that one. See, how innocent love can crawl into your rigid routine and your heart goes hmmm...mmm...mmmm!

Nimrat Kaur in the film. Photo Courtesy: Internet
The nuanced approach with which the lead cast essays their roles is incredible. Irfan, Nimrat and Nawazuddin will take you by your hand into believing and pronouncing to the world that they are GODS and worth worshiping. Professionally lensed by Michael Simmonds, edited by John Lyons and graced with just-right music by Max Richter, the film poses no pacing or technical problems. It remains a very Indian tale in its delicacy and humor. A story that makes you want to break into spontaneous applause because it is incredible in so many ways, though you won’t be able to pin point solely one reason for it. The whole movie in itself or rather the feeling it generates is incredible.

The co-production among India, Germany, France and U.S. benefits from the fine production work and has, thankfully, made its way beyond just film festivals but into international marketplaces. It’s pure bliss to witness and acknowledge the uncanny forms that life can take, all unaware!

 As the film reached its unexpected, open ending climax and rolled into flashing the credits, I continued to stare back at the theater screen-the same, highly relatable story continuing in my head and even after I had left the theater to catch an auto back home.


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