I am not a movie buff. I have a reason to start this blog post with such a statement. This reason impatiently forced me to get back to blogging.
I am picky when it comes to watching movies. I don’t go by reviews. Sometimes, I watch movies that were released many years ago; movies that are out of regular movie buffs’ minds haunt me after years because someday I would have registered in my mind that I have to watch so and so movie. I watch such movies when I need a break from the many tabs of thoughts constantly open in my mind. I watch these movies in bits and pieces; while eating, doing household chores, overworking over the weekend with stuff that doesn’t help in balancing personal life, etc. One such movie that I watched recently is “The Lunchbox.” Released in the year 2013, watched in the year 2022 in parts with multiple breaks on 21st, 22nd, and 25th of April.
The whole movie is not something I want to talk about. I wish to discuss its ending only. I wasn’t expecting a together-forever kind of closure. I was expecting Ila’s husband to miraculously receive the last food delivery, find her note to Saajan, become furious at his wife’s pen-romance, and come home early to find Ila leaving and start accusing her of an extramarital affair, forgetting about his own. But Ritesh Batra (director of the movie) threw me off the loop, so much so that I couldn’t sleep all night. The restlessness of Saajan Fernandez (played by Irrfan Khan) waiting to get down at the right railway station and the determination of Ila (played by Nimrat Kaur) ready to dive into the uncertain future that she chose for herself, aptly and convincingly emoted, without a conventional ending (or a proper closure to the storyline from the audience point-of-view) caught me completely off guard! The exclamatory mark I am using in this blog post is not capable of doing justice in conveying my inner turmoil caused by the end given to this movie. So, naturally, I decided to give an extended ending to “The Lunchbox” to pacify my mind so that I can sleep well at least today.
The doorbell rings as Ila finishes packing her daughter’s and her belongings to embark on their journey to Bhutan. When she opens the main door, she finds Saajan, whom she has never seen before, standing with the green-coloured lunch bag in his hand, next to the dabbawala, whose mistake is responsible, in a way, for the innocent communications between two lonely humans.
Dhabbawaala leaves as soon as Ila sees Saajan. She doesn’t need his introduction.
Ila: Andar aayiye (please come in).
She invites Saajan into her house (no longer her home) and walks away, leaving the door open. Saajan follows her. She sits at the dining table facing the TV. He sits facing Ila, slowly pushing the lunch bag towards her. She calmly studies his face, making him momentarily uncomfortable. She doesn’t show any signs of repulsion due to age difference, anger due to abandonment, or disbelief of his presence.
Ila: Maine meri favourite kheema-pav banayi hai. Mere liye. Aap khaana chahenge? (I have prepared my favourite kheema-pav. For myself. Would you like to have some?)
Saajan: If you have enough to spare some for me, I would love to eat the food you have prepared, as always.
She gets up from her chair, walks into the kitchen, and starts to warm pav on a tawa and kheema in its wok to serve him. His eyes start observing his surroundings, to get more insights about Ila. She watches him from the corner of her eyes while plating his food, and walks back to the dining table, to place food in front of him. Quickly, he finishes eating kheema-pav.
Saajan: Kheema-pav is delicious.
Saying so, he gets up from his chair to wash his hands, while Ila clears the table. As they both return to the dining table, Ila’s daughter returns home from school. Saajan sees all the packed bags and picks two of them. Ila asks her daughter (who is not sure what is happening, but still obeys her mother) to pick up two of the lighter bags and she picks remaining luggage. They all walk out of the door as Ila turns back to lock it.