Flavours of the Lunchbox in Nantes

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Pankhuri Wadhwa, an alumna of Alliance Française d’Indore is presently in Nantes, France. She is participating in the program “Assistants d’anglais en France 2014-2015 “. She was witness to the screening of the Bollywood film Lunch Box which was recently released in France, in a cinema in Nantes. Here, she shares with us her first thoughts :

Nantes

Nantes

There I was! Being in the birthplace of cinema, following my passion for teaching and traveling. I found myself mesmerized by the picturesque landscapes of France nurturing a treasure of history preserved in its museums. It seemed to me that life was taking shape right before my eyes, time unbound, untangled and swiveling in the land of my dreams.
Aptly renowned as “mini Paris“, Nantes satiates the hunger of every art lover. One can surmise therefore that a movie like “The Lunchbox” is warmly welcomed and applauded in Nantes, a city that has been the proud patroness of the “Festival of Three Continents” since 1978. This is a week-long celebration of films from Asia, America and Africa and the movies are cherry-picked to project on the screen the varied societal aspects of diverse countries. For its 35th edition, India was the country of honour owing to the centenary of Indian Cinema and a repertoire of twelve films, depicting the various phases, directed by the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mani Ratnam and Guru Dutt, were chosen.
Ritesh Batra’s “The Lunchbox” flagged off the festival on the inaugural night and the lobby was abuzz with excitement to watch an Indian film, with a motley crowd of about five hundred people from different cities of France. I was eagerly awaiting the screening of this contemporary film, curious about the response it would generate among the French audience. Finally the lights were dimmed and the opening scene of the film established an ever crowded Mumbai train disgorging the daily commuters.  Being a frequent traveler to Mumbai, it was a pleasure recalling the scenes and people that had etched in my memory . For a moment I thought I caught a waft of Mumbai air which was laden with the stench of a bustling life, vehicles milling about and the street food had my nostrils inadvertently dilating.The film revolves around the mundane life of a young housewife whose every effort to please her husband goes in vain. One day, as providence would have it, the lunch box which she prepares with a lot of love, reaches the wrong person through an otherwise unerring Dubbawalas. What follows is an anxious love being inflamed, between a middle-aged woman and an ageing widower, in an obscure way through a series of letters exchanged by the medium of the lunchbox. The event clearly establishes an adage “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” with the Dubbawalas being brought to life. These characters, wan and wasted, not by exhaustion, but by self-restraint decide to take a half-hearted look into their souls, unwittingly examining the conventional morals decreed by the culture. But can such a love stand against an overbearing society? Should one weigh the passion for love and life against the prevailing idealism? Is self-restraint as powerful as self indulgence? The movie seems to walk on this abhorrent line where a man is unable to make up his mind. It reverberates the slice of life we could all relate to: loneliness, the ever increasing need to be loved, eternally wanting to belong.

The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox

The viewers inevitably ponder over these questions which are raised by the the film and each one could find a part of their life’s story in these two characters. Eventually, the two couldn’t be united and we are left with unhinged pieces that make us think. As life continues in Mumbai’s local trains, the viewers are stirred by the folk song of the Dubbawalas, clapping to their tunes and when the end credits roll, the lights are lit to witness a standing ovation. The hall was vibrating with thunderous applause and I walked out with my shoulders broad and my head held up high with pride.
On my way back, a lady in the tram shook me from my reverie and talked about how much she loved the film. The tram was packed and it was a thorough shift from the stillness of Nantes, a wistful reminder of the jostle in Indian cities. Fifteen minutes later when I alighted from the tram I was intoxicated with delight as I pictured the amorous couples, young and old, lost in each other and the benevolence they carried with them.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Comments are closed.

Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...