The Lunchbox

May 19, 20208:30pm

Irrfan Khan, who died last month age 53, was that rare Bollywood star also to receive international acclaim, if mainly through films by Western directors, such as Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Batra’s The Lunchbox is that other rarity: an Indian film which reached a worldwide audience. The award-winning short filmmaker shot his first full-length feature on location in the bustling city of Mumbai, with a naturalism that distinguishes itself from both Hollywood’s romantic fantasies and Indian musical extravaganzas.
Khan plays Mr Fernandez, a world-weary, widowed office worker facing a lonely retirement.

Across the city lives Ila, an emotionally starved young housewife. The thread that joins them is spun by Mumbai’s legendary dabbawala lunchbox delivery network. The object of a study by Harvard Business School, it is a logistical wonder that never gets it wrong – until it does. Will they, won’t they? Added to the wryly wistful mix is Fernandez’ designated job replacement.

Siddiqui plays the young man with hapless bravura, the perfect foil for Khan’s reticence, yet with the dignity and desperation of one for whom everything is at stake. Indeed, behind the light comedy lurks the pervasive fear of ending up alone in the teeming streets. As one character remarks: “The wrong train can get you to the right station.” What station is that? It’s a question open for debate.

a delectable take on the hunger for connection” Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“perfectly handled and beautifully acted; a quiet storm of banked emotions” Xan Brooks, Observer

The Lunchbox is either a piquant romance or a wise comedy. The director’s confidence with such a delicate story makes it successful as both.” Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

Share this film (1819):   

TwitterFacebookWhatsAppLinkedIn Email
Film Information
Release year: 2013
Running time:   105 mins
Directed by: Ritesh Batra
Language: Hindi (English subtitles)
Country: India
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Irrfan Khan,
Nimrat Kaur,
Nawazuddin Siddiqui Cannes:
Grand Rail d’Or for Ritesh Batra;
Asian F
Awards: Cannes:
Grand Rail d’Or for Ritesh Batra;
Asian Film Awards:
Best Actor for Irrfan Kahn
More info:

Rotten Tomatoes

View our 347 screenings by season, country, language and other dimensions.

Sign up for the Wimbledon Film Club mailing list and find out about our upcoming screenings at the Curzon in Wimbledon.

All fields are required