The Lunchbox 〜 A Tale in the City of Diversity

2013's hindi film "The Lunchbox" had international success and won several prizes worldwide.

I went to see this movie at first in Mumbai without subtitle, then in Paris to understand hindi part of the film.

For me, this is "THE MUMBAI" film.

With South Mumbai's familiar scene of Oval Maidan, administrative office (tax office ?), commuters in packed suburb train (yes!), old irani cafe, and.....espacially, Mumbai's figure, lunchbox distributors Dabbawalas*** !

So much "Mumbai facts" do not turn into unconfortable "cliche", but all that just make the film realalistic, thanks for great job of characters setting and suitable casting.

A story of ordinary people, a lonely young house wife, an unsociable widower on the point of retirement, a self-made man, elderly housewives who look after their sick husbands without help.......daily life of all these people who are invisible in usual Bombay-made-gorgeous-dreamy-movies.

Ila, a Hindu housewife who lives in Hindu residential area in northern suburb of Mumbai with her husband and her daughter.

Her unseen neighbour of upstair, her unseen domestic, unseen mistress of her husband, and the unseen man for whom she cooks delicious vegetarian lunch every day.

The unseen man, Saajan Fernandes, a Christian office worker who lives in Christian neighbour in Bandra where the old Portuguese residential area are being replaced by modern buildings, trendy restaurants and shops.

The description of Christian graveyard where there is no more space to bury body horisontally but vertically shows the matter of densely populated expanding city.

* In Mumbai, there exists rare Hindu graveyard near Banganga Tank in Malabar Hill (Hindus have no grave).

Memory of his deceased wife, anxiety of growing old and being out of active list.

Facing a big turning point of life.

Yet, little by little, this solitary man learns to open his heart to the unexpected comers - Ila and the successor of his post.

The successor, Shaikh, a young Muslim lives in an ancient Muslim neighbour Dongri in South Mumbai, a struggled orphan who is about to lead a settled life.

Manage to adapt himself to new job and new family life.

This film is a fine patchwork art on diversity of Mumbai.

I am so curious to know how Mumbaikers think about this film.

*** Dabbawalas

This service was setup in 1890, it was said to be started for demand of British workers who did not like local food and preferred their lunch to be delivered from home.

5000 dabbawalas deliver 200000 lunchboxes daily.

Most of them are illiterate and distinguish coding on the box ;

(1) Collection points : in abbreviations

(2) Starting station : in colour code

(3) Destination station : in number

(4) Handling dabbawala at destination, building and floor : marking

If you see Dabbawalas around Churchgate Station from 11:30am on weekdays, watch coding on luchboxes and guess where to deliver ;-D .

In 2014, Dabbawalas join PM Narendra Modi's SWACHH BHARAR (Clean India Campaign).

Please see also "To see " page for further description on Dabbawalas.

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