Grace asked Mia ::
1. How did you hear about The Lunchbox and why did you want to see this film?
I can’t quite remember how I first discovered The Lunchbox – perhaps it was via the IndieWire blog Shadow and Act – but I wanted to see the film because of it’s simplistic storyline and independent spirit. Plus, I’m a fan of Irrfan Khan. I find him to be quite handsome and I love his subtle acting!
2. Do you think the adverts for The Lunchbox were accurate to the film you watched?
Yes. The trailer was accurately representative to the film I watched.
3. What were you expecting from this movie? What did you get?
I was expecting a simple love story that would transcend the normal conventions of romance and I “got” just that.
4. Do you like Bollywood movies? Have you seen quite a few? Did you know this director previously?
I do enjoy Bollywood movies. However, I’m not sure if The Lunchbox fits comfortably in that category of film. Yes it was shot in Mumbai (aka Bombay) and yes Hindi was the main language used but “Bollywood” normally refers to Hindi films with high production value with song and dance throughout. One favorite Indian film of mine that I can watch over and over again is Monsoon Wedding. Also, does Bend it Like Beckham count? And no, before The Lunchbox I had no idea who writer/direct Ritesh Batra was.
5. What did you like most? What did you like least? What did you think of the ending?
Liked Most: Auntie was my favorite. She not once made an appearance on camera but her voice told her story.
Liked Least: I don’t know why, but Shaikh got on my nerves. I never could quite tell if he was telling the whole truth and if Sajaan just gave in to his story of being an orphan and not having a family. Likewise, Shaikh, as a character, didn’t grow. I kept waiting for Shaikh to have his “aha” moment but it never came.
The Ending: I like to think at some point or another they found one another but perhaps the ending is more representative of life. Not everything works out in the end. Not every relationship can begin and end as smoothly as we often see on screen. The ambiguity that Retish left us with is both reassuring and frustrating but it didn’t leave me unsatisfied in any way.
Mia asks Grace ::
1. Do you think the two main characters gave strong performances?
Yes! Both actors did a wonderful job. They were both reserved but evocative. I loved their quiet humor and all the non-verbal acting the most. The scenes where you just take in their reactions, breathing, small facial changes; those scenes were simple and beautiful.
2. Did you side with any one character?
I felt bad for both of them equally and I feel I fell in love with both of them equally.
3. What was your perception of Shaikh?
Shaikh seemed nice but over eager in the beginning. It seemed really disrespectful when he was not promptly ready to train at 4:45 on the first day. I’m surprised Shaikh and Saajan built any relationship and especially the one they had. In hindsight, he seems like a classic case of, “fake it til you make it.” Shaikh, in the end, seemed like a very sad little man who wants much more than what he has. However, he was a good tool to find out more about Saajan’s story.
4. Did you like the filmmaker’s decision not to show Auntie?
I kind of loved it! Auntie added a lot of the comedic moments. She was also a good tool to push Ila and also helped her into certain realizations about her own situation. For example, ,Ila sees how much Auntie loves Uncle and seems to recognize that her husband would never love her that much.
5. What do you think happened in the end? Or, what ending did you construct for yourself?
It seems as though Saajan was trying to track down Ila and Ila found her own inner strength to get out of her situation. I hope that Saajan catches up with her just as she leaves her house and they run away together. I actually feel an acute loss that we never really see them together. It makes the moments where they get close, like the restaurant and when Ila goes to Saajan’s office, more effective and emotionally evocative.