Comparing The Film 'Deconstructing Food In The Lunchbox'
Being a passionate cook, I fell for first-time director Ritesh Batra’s film, The
Lunchbox. This film got the actual cooking right.
Several batches of food from different parts of India are recreated in the lunchbox Ila packs.
Maharashtrian dishes such as stuffed bitter gourd and basic comfort foods such as dal and paneer kofta made the cut.
The lunch break is the only time the otherwise frustrated and busy accountants in Saajan’s office are seen relaxing and talking. They unwinded over meals delivered to them by dabbawalas. Food, here, is depicted as a stress buster.
The film is able to differentiate between home cooked food and resteraunt food. When Saajan eats from his lunchbox packed …show more content…
Ila and Deshpande Aunty communicate through smell, the cook’s gold standard, which tells Aunty when the curry achieves full flavor and depth. The “recipe” is the back-and-forth between two cooks who share a culinary language. One knows where she wants the dish to go and the other, how to get there.
We witness culinary cultures outside India too. Shaik, invites Saajan over for a meal. Shaik serves him famous pasandas , chopped lamb, on the floor of his tiny, carpet lined apartment. Formerly a cook on the Arabian peninsula, Shaik deftly chops onions, garlic and carrots on his commute home, using office files as a cutting board.
And, at last we see Bombay’s Irani cafes, 400-year-old institutions, where people drop in for tea and toast and special dishes.
It was the food served in that tiffin box that made the movie so piquant. As much as I rooted for the bored housewife Ila to find true love with ageing accountant Saajan , I was interested in seeing what she had lovingly packed in the lunchbox, initially meant for her husband and later Saajan.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself drooling when Saajan takes a bite of the glossy aubergine stir