After wowing festivals worldwide and winning hearts back home in India, The Lunchbox, Ritesh Batra’s charming debut film, continues its winning run garnering raves and awards at two amazing international film festivals. It has won the Church of Iceland award at the Reykjavik International film festival, and the Best Director and Best Actor awards at Saint Jean de luz Film Festival (a French Festival).
About the win in Paris, actor Irrfan Khan said in a recent interview, “The Lunchbox is a very special film with such a simple and heartwarming story and a universal appeal. The film has got a great response and has been hugely appreciated pan India and internationally. It feels great to receive an award in the global capital of romance — Paris, for our sweet love story.”
The Lunchbox has now been selected in the official competition section of the prestigious BFI London Film Festival. In the 56th year of this festival, The Lunchbox, starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur as two people who exchange handwritten letters, will compete with some of the best films in the world including the Jesse Eisenberg-starrer The Double and the Scarlett Johansson-starrer Under the Skin. The festival will also screen Steven McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave and Alfonso Cuaron’sGravity in the Gala section. Both screenings of the film at the festival are completely sold out!
About the film, Cary Rajinder Sawhney of BFI London Film Festival wrote, “India’s hottest indie film of the year is a feel-good love story with global appeal. Award-winning short filmmaker Ritesh Batra’s debut feature is based on the legend of Mumbai’s Lunchbox delivery service, which it is said, never goes wrong. In this ‘what if’ tale a lonely housewife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur), sends a lunchbox through the usual couriers to her disinterested husband, but it ends up at the wrong man’s desk. Sajaan (Irrfan Khan), an accounts clerk on the brink of retirement, receives Ila’s lunch in an identical box to his own and is delightfully surprised at the wonderful tasting food. After a while the solitary Sajaan, realises the mistake and sends a note back to Ila in the lunchbox. She tries to correct it, but the dabba delivery service say there cannot be a mistake. With her real husband not noticing the difference, the two strangers build a gentle rapport through the food deliveries, exploring their hopes of the future. At the same time Sajaan’s gregarious new work replacement (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), struggles to befriend the increasingly distracted Sajan. On his retirement Sajaan goes in search of the cook of his dreams. Batra deftly unfolds a wonderfully observed range of subtle emotions, supported by a lightly paced and often humorous script. India’s greatest character actors Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Gangs of Wasseypur), with emerging star Nimrat Kaur, build on the flawed personalities of their characters to deliver unforgettable performances.”
In another key development, Artifical Eye has bought the UK distribution rights of The Lunchbox. “We acquired the film both because we love it and because we feel it will be loved by UK audiences,” says Artificial Eye Managing Director, Louisa Dent.