Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is a young, middle-class Mumbai housewife trying desperately to spice up her marriage through the judicious use of the spatula–that is, through cooking. She desperately hopes that a new recipe of hers will arouse some kind of reaction from her tired and aloof husband. A “special” lunchbox is thus prepared and delivered to him at work. But it mistakenly reaches another office worker, Saajan (Irrfan Khan), 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.
There begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon gives away to an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become minor confessions about their respective loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even the smallest of joys. They discover their selves again 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.
“The Lunchbox” got positively received at at the last Cannes, Telluride and and Toronto festivals.
DRILLDOWN: Irrfan Khan previously appeared in “The life of Pi”