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The Lunchbox is cinematic gold

Published: 
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A scene from the Indian romantic comedy The Lunchbox.

The ninth T&T Film Festival concludes today, September 30. Guardian columnist BC Pires served on the first TTFF jury in 2009 and wrote the jury’s report. BC has picked a Film of the Day for every day of the festival. Non-linear, essentially visual or special-interest films not intended for the Vin Diesel crowd will be designated as “art films.” Films may be chosen ahead of other, perhaps “better,” films if the director (or other filmmaker) is present for a Q&A session after the screening.

Today’s Choice is:

The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra/ 2013/ India/ Romantic Comedy-Drama/ 104 mins/ Hindi with English subtitles, English / For all ages) 8.30 pm MovieTowne Tobago.

For most Trinbagonians, The Lunchbox is likely to be the best film of the festival; and the most persnickety cinephile is likely to be tempted to agree. Though it unashamedly puts its roots down in the most difficult film genre to do well—the romantic comedy—its fruit bears itself out. In spades. 

Undeniably an Indian film, Lunchbox is filled with only-in-India moments, such as the terrific little sequence in which the organisers of Mumbai’s daily lunchbox delivery system defend their world-famous efficiency, even as they’re obviously mistaken, or the never-seen “Auntie” with whom the female lead communicates by shouting out of her kitchen window to the floor above. 

But Lunchbox is also just as undeniably universal, touching subjects crucial to all modern cities, where most of us now live: loneliness; disconnection; intimacy and its lack; and the search for love and self-worth in a world that doesn’t value such non-negotiable commodities. 

Ritesh Batra, alchemist like, easily transforms rom-com cliché lead into cinematic gold and the viewer finds himself wanting to cheer a world, and an India, and a director, that can make films so very good. A movie for everyone absolutely positive they could never like a romantic comedy; they’ll love it.

Best of the rest

Art Connect, 10.30 am,
Q&A, They Are We, 
1 pm, MovieTowne Port-of-Spain; 

Behaviour, 8.15 pm
Little Carib Theatre; 

A Writer in His Place, 
5.30 pm MovieTowne Tobago.

Films start promptly at advertised times.
*Starred films have been or will be picked as daily selections.
 

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