Long overdue “Lunchbox” review
Too much adulation for a film that is flawed though it has some nice touches too
So what’s flawed about “Lunchbox”?
- An insult to the organization of the Dabbawalas. Though the director has also partially captured the life of the Dabbawalas and tried to show their lot it fails miserably considering the flaw that is made by the Dabbawalas and that too repeatedly, as the basis of the story. This director seems to have no idea who and what the Dabbawalas are and the phenomenon they are. In real life they are rated 99.9999% for efficiency for work spanning 132 years, yes since 1890. Even the one error in 16 million transactions wasn’t their fault. It was attributed to act of God or some other cause of Nature. Though Six Sigma is attributed (actually wrongly) to them, the Dabbawalas don’t know or don’t care to know what it is. In fact they are beyond Six Sigma. The Dabbawalas work at 99.99 percent efficiency without using any modern technology such as computers and with a work force whose average age is 52 and with the average education of the employee not going beyond the 8'th grade. Moreover they have not had a single strike or legal issue since operation from 1890, yes in 132 years. There is no retirement age and there are people as old as 79 in their fold. I’ll stop here for now. This phenomenon has been insulted by this film where the Dabbawalas are shown to be delivering the wrong box to a person everyday for days, something that has never happened and will never happen in the history of the Dabbawalas. However, one scene where a Dabbawala is shown pushing his cart in the rain filled my eyes with tears. If you have time watch the video below to know more about the Dabbawalas and their amazing work which is nothing short of “sheer wonder”.
Simple, the director could have just used “Swiggy” or “Zomato” or a fictional delivery service provider in the film, as the ones that I have mentioned have flouted rules and one even stole food on the route to delivery.
2. For all the good food that gets delivered the protagonist has absolutely no gratitude to Thank the person cooking it. Instead he has comments and complaints that the food was too salty, too much spice etc., not one comment of appreciation or a “Thank You” note. That was too ungrateful.
3. Two pain in the butt characters, a. Auntie. Right from the very beginning her voice was introduced I knew that Auntie wasn’t going to be revealed in person. The silence and lovely pace of the film is constantly broken with cacophony when the character played by Nimrat Kaur keeps yelling “Auntie, Auntie….” and has to scream to her during the conversations through her kitchen window as “Auntie” resides on the floor above her. This loud calling and speaking is nothing short of irritating. This “novelty” from the Director has certainly backfired.
b. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, A problem if you have a talented actor. I am not sure if his presence was used to deliberately introduce a painful character as this or if it actually happened that way. Just imagine, apart from the painful dialogues Nawaz’s character delivers, he also has a weird habit of slicing onions on his office file on the way back home (his idea is to help his wife with her cooking) in the crowded train in Mumbai. Didn’t the director have anything better to do with this character. Best of all he should have replaced Nawazuddin with some other character in that role.
The cinematography is good and the the pace of the narration nice, otherwise this is just a film hyped unnecessarily. Although I don’t recall much now, I think the background score was good too. For the Oscar submission there was a hue and cry about this film not being selected by the jury. If only they took a moment to watch the film that was sent instead, the Gujarati film “The Good Road” they would have realized their unwanted protest in favor of “Lunchbox”. What a superb road trip film, “The Good Road” was. I liked it even when watching without subtitles, a short while ago. I highly recommend watching “The Good Road” and I hope to come out with a review soon.