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The evening starts at 6:30pm when Arun Kapil of Green Saffron serves up an authentic, flavour-infused North Indian supper. His menu will include Tandoori Chicken Masala, Rich Tomato & Fenugreek Glaze, ‘Jeera’ rice, salt lemon riata. The vegetarian option is Green Saffron’s ‘Tikki Thali’, smoky jalfrezi lentils, tadha dahl, parsnip & red onion bhaji balls. Both are served with plain naan and bitter leaves with a mustard-mayo yoghurt dressing.
At 8pm, settle down for a screening of the absolutely delightful film, The Lunch Box [running time 104 minutes], which The New York Times calls ‘A deft and charming first feature…a perfect balance of tact and sentimentality’ and The Guardian says is ‘Perfectly handled and beautifully acted...a quiet storm of banked emotions.’
Mumbai’s Dabbawallahs are a community of 5000 dabba (lunchbox) deliverymen. Harvard University analysed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunch boxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This film is the story of that one lunch box.
Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that a new recipe will finally arouse a 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 Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.
Director: Ritesh Batra. India, 2013. Language: Hindi, English. 104 minutes. Cert: PG