The Lunchbox


English and Urdu with English subtitles, 2013, 105 minutes, color, India/France/Germany

Sundance Feature Film Program fellow Ritesh Batra dazzled audiences and critics alike with his debut feature The Lunchbox, which premiered in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week.

To add spice to her marriage, Ila sends a special lunch to her husband’s office via dabbawallas (Mumbai deliverymen who transport hundreds of thousands of lunchboxes daily). But the meal is mistakenly delivered to Saajan, a lonely accountant who is about to retire. When a second lunch, this time with a note, again goes to Saajan, he is intrigued and replies. Through a series of notes, the lunchbox pen pals share personal feelings and form a relationship, despite having never met.

With a beautiful simplicity, The Lunchbox relates a nostalgic, but unsentimental, love story that belongs to the classic age of cinema. The twist is that it has been dropped into the anonymity of modern Mumbai, whose incessant commotion and commuting masses defy romanticism. The wonderfully subtle Irrfan Khan and luminous newcomer Nimrat Kaur draw us into the emotional world of their characters and their willingness to confide in a stranger. The Lunchbox delights its audience with its portrait of a virtual romance—one conducted only by pen and paper.

Director: Ritesh Batra

Screenwriter: Ritesh Batra

Producers: Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari

Executive Producers: Ritesh Batra, Irrfan Khan, Lydia Dean Pilcher

Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds

Editor: John Lyons

Production Designer: Shruti Gupte

Principal Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar, Nakul Vaid

About the Director

The Lunchbox is Ritesh Batra’s debut feature. Shot on location in Mumbai, it made its world premiere at Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. His recent short, Café Regular, Cairo, won 12 film-festival awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival and Special Jury Mentions at the Tribeca and Chicago film festivals. Born and raised in Mumbai, Batra now lives between Mumbai and New York with his wife, Claudia, and their daughter, Aisha.


1/19/2014 5:30 pm
Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
1/22/2014 6:00 pm
Egyptian Theatre, Park City
1/25/2014 6:30 pm
Salt Lake City Library Theatre, SLC