The Lunchbox

2013, Romance/Drama, 1h 45m

117 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Warm, affectionate, and sweet but not cloying, The Lunchbox is a clever crowd-pleaser from first-time director Ritesh Batra. Read critic reviews

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The Lunchbox Photos

Movie Info

Lonely housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) decides to try adding some spice to her stale marriage by preparing a special lunch for her neglectful husband. Unfortunately, the delivery goes astray and winds up in the hands of Saajan (Irrfan Khan), an irritable widower. Curious about her husband's lack of response, Ila adds a note to the next day's lunchbox, and thus begins an unusual friendship in which Saajan and Ila can talk about their joys and sorrows without ever meeting in person.

Cast & Crew

Irrfan Khan
Saajan Fernandes
Denzil Smith
Mr. Shroff
Bharati Achrekar
Mrs. Deshpande
Nakul Vaid
Ila's Husband
Lillete Dubey
Ila's Mother
Ritesh Batra
Screenwriter
Lydia Dean Pilcher
Executive Producer
Irrfan Khan
Executive Producer
Ritesh Batra
Executive Producer
Michael Simmonds
Cinematographer
John F. Lyons
Film Editor
Max Richter
Original Music
Shruti Gupte
Production Design
Niharika Khan
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for The Lunchbox

Critic Reviews for The Lunchbox

All Critics (117) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (113) | Rotten (4)

  • Batra brings out the humdrum of his characters' lives with little deft touches.

    December 13, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Batra's characters are a delight. They may be of Mumbai, infused with intense desi flavours, but can inhabit any part of the world.

    December 13, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • This is a thoughtful little movie, one that benefits from its main performances and a nicely slow building romance.

    January 6, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The subtle performances of the leads, the remarkable Irrfan Khan and the engaging Nimrat Kaur, make 'The Lunchbox' a pleasure to watch.

    July 16, 2014
  • Ritesh Batra's debut feature reinvents the charms of old-fashioned romantic cinema for adults.

    June 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • A bittersweet story of moving on, of memory and nostalgia, and of familiar songs, smells and sensations that ground us, and remind us of who we once were.

    December 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lunchbox

  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Lunchbox is a moving drama with a gentle touch. The story and characters feel simple and real, pensive but not melancholy. The film is about two people trying to make a connection in a world of tension and contradiction. Indian metropolitan culture presents as bustling and quiet, crowded with great distance, its people being wistful yet responsible. The Lunchbox is a very relatable film and one I believe to have universal appeal.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2015
    A warm, melancholy drama that enchants and moves us even more thanks to the way that its three-dimensional characters reveal so much about themselves between the lines - and it is only a pity, though, that it drags a bit in the third act and ends in a rather frustrating conclusion.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2014
    Feel-good drama mixing the chaotic and spacious.
    hawk l Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2014
    'The Lunch Box' (2014) is the genial and sensible debut film of Ritesh Batra which takes place in India. It's a nice slice-of-life story that follows the subtle neglected lives of two different people who are misguidedly brought together through a lunchbox. Even for how slow-paced this film can be, it is ultimately saved by impeccable performances and genuine dialogue. There are many cases where films ensure languid camera movements that just seem to go on and on with not much happening. However, with the 'The Lunch Box' (2014) almost every minute of languid camera time gives direct details, whether it's cultural or for a character's depth-real characters, real situations.
    Noah N Super Reviewer

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