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Dabba
The Lunchbox
★★★☆☆
First run Theater cinema

Ritesh Batra’s debut feature, The Lunchbox, tells an old-fashioned story that finds a new spin on my favorite genre, the brief-encounter picture. This Mumbai-set romantic comedy/drama tells the story of two lonely people, a young housewife and an older widower, whose relationship consists entirely of notes passed back and forth via that city’s famously efficient lunch delivery couriers, the dabbawala. In making the transition from short films to features, Batra has found ideal subject matter; he sets his very small story against the backdrop of one of the world’s most rapidly developing cities and manages to touch subtly on many issues specific to that region. In its dry comedic tone and observational use of place The Lunchbox is reminiscent of the early Scottish films of Bill Forsyth (Gregory's Girl, Local Hero, Comfort and Joy). It also belongs in the pantheon of great films about food, because you WILL want to rush out for an Indian meal after watching accomplished Bollywood crossover actor Irrfan Khan (The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi) carefully unpacking, smelling and consuming the magnificent lunches that Nimrat Kaur (Peddlers) prepares for him. This is one of those movies that, judged only by its trailer, could appear cynically calculated to entice film festival and art-house bookers; but the honestly of the performances and simple elegance of the shooting style transcend that feeling entirely. 

Directed by Ritesh Batra
Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, and Arun Rangachari

Written by Ritesh Batra

With: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Lillete Dubey

Cinematography: Michael Simmonds
Editing: John F. Lyons
Music: Max Richter

Runtime: 104 min
Release Date: 20 September 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color