Film Review: The Lunchbox

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Continuing on from Dum Laga Ke Haisha (read the review here) I picked out another great Indian film from Netflix, The Lunchbox. I’d heard good things about the film which is set in Mumbai and features the city’s famous lunch delivery system. If you haven’t heard of the system and the tiffin-wallahs then read on.

The idea is that families of workers, usually mothers or wives, cook their lunches in the morning and put them in lunch boxes, or tiffins, and the tiffin-wallahs – the lunch delivery boys, collect them every morning and deliver them to the worker at his desk at 12:45pm sharp every day via bicycle and train, sorting out all the lunch boxes on the train platforms and passing them along to each other. It’s then reversed and the tiffin-wallahs pick up the lunch boxes to return to the mothers/wives. The amazing fact however is that for every six million tiffins delivered, only one fails to arrive. They virtually never get it wrong. The system has been studied by professors from Harvard and is amazing considering that most tiffin-wallahs are illiterate.

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So the setting of the film is of the rare occasion where a lunch box goes astray, to the wrong man. The two main characters of the film are both lonely in life, one has lost his wife and has barely any friends, the other is in a loveless marriage, ignored by her husband. They begin to exchange letters via the lunchbox and they help each other to begin to find happiness.

It’s an uplifting film that reminds you that there’s always someone to listen to you, and by opening yourself up to others you can begin to find happiness. However the love story that begins to grow gets pretty frustrating at times, just to warn you. I literally got so annoyed by the ending.

I suppose that’s one of the messages of the film, sometimes you don’t need someone to help you you need someone to help you help yourself, just by talking to you or supporting you.

The film is a great portrayal of a really unique system, I had no idea about the Mumbai lunch boxes before watching the film and although it’s a feature I seriously doubt I’ll be using in Mumbai, I’ll be sure to look out for any tiffin-wallahs!

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