Tuesday, 22 April 2014

REVIEW - THE LUNCHBOX (RITESH BATRA)


If I lived in India, I would get so fat. So fat! I actually did get fat... living in Northern Ireland, but that's another story for another time. There are parts of The Lunchbox that could easily be from the best (imaginary) film ever made, and this is why television cookery shows are so popular. The Lunchbox mainlines its appeal, since the best way to a person's heart is through their stomach, and if ever there were a case for smelly-vision, this would be it. You can understand how a relationship might blossom over a paneer kofta as scrumptious-looking as this. It's enough indeed to lull a lonely government accountant back into life, and it'd be enough to redeem a rote relationship drama such as this were director Ritesh Batra not so much more interested in his timeworn (in a bad way) storyline than these timeworn (in a good way) dishes. If his film is, at is appears to be, about adaptation and escape, about learning ways to change and to cope, well what better escape than food? Let these characters get as fat as I would, I say. For Batra, curry becomes a conduit, spiriting his story along to places new to him but so old to us, a method of providing insight into the heads of people we care about only as far as we care about what they put in their mouths. You know a film is a dud when I start to pick apart the plot and critique it on its predictability and other deficiencies, if not at least for the fact that this means there's little else in the film to critique in the first place. But oh, those curries. That's how to fall in love. That's how to get over grief. That's how to adapt and escape and change and cope with anything! That's how to get fat. That's how to make a film!