shrill voice echoes

Sunday, September 22, 2013

PALATE POWER




Has “cuisine” ever been so glamourous  as it is today? Look at the way it has been sensationalised. As a child I remember it was Sanjeev Kapoor who took the bold step of appearing on screen teaching recipes to an afternoon audience primarily targeting homemakers. But look at what globalisation and technology has done to the food culture today. There are special channels dedicated to cooking shows.Nigella Lawson,Padma Lakshmi and David Rocco are no less popular than rockstars. Thats the power of palate. Kudos to masterchef! That is some reality TV innovation.
     In fact culinary is getting much deserved attention .It is a pursuit that activates all the five basic senses. For engineers as my friend points out,it is thermodynamics. There’s requisite heat,consistency of ingredients and proper curing that is required to make a dish a success. With rising disposable incomes,food seems to be the most happening investment.Yet we have the sad plight of homemakers across the country who dedicate most of their lives to cooking in kitchen and yet receive little or no credit.
    I remember as a young girl the only reason I studied was to escape what I saw my mom do. The thankless and labour intensive job of a homemaker. The arduous process of kneading the dough, rolling the chapatti and then baking it. And then processing vegetables and perfecting that stew. All this 3 times a day.After English Vinglish here is another movie showcasing the helpless “Bharatiya Nari”.This is the theme of the movie “Lunchbox”.
 A brilliant movie for connoisseurs as it explores the simplicity and thrill of a mundane life of a homemaker played by Nimrat Kaur.The pretty lady scorched the screen in 2002 with music videos. Sad! No one noticed her then,but she is back with a bang and sans makeup.
The director,a debutant  Ritesh Batra has executed the craft brilliantly,keeping an eye on details; like keeping  Ila’s eyebrows unkempt,her kitchen not so clean. Irfan and Nawazzudin need no credit. Their acting like always, is class apart.The subtle humour  between them is impeccable.At times you will need to listen to the dialogues attentively to understand the underlying humour. For eg . Nawazuddin tells “how his dad last laughed in 1984 when India won the world cup against Pakistan”. Irrfan  dons that perfect expression whether he is being molested in train or simply missing his late wife.Many moments in the movie pass in silence but you cannot ignore the emotions.
    The central story revolves around exchange of letters with an unknown friend,the only difference being that this time it is  passed in  lunchbox  that lands up at the wrong destination.It also explores the facet of human relationships.  A widower’s isolation and his scruffy attitude towards his neighbourhood kids.His indifferent attitude towards his colleagues.All this changes when he comes in touch with an unknown woman who starts confiding in him.
  The movie is also a tribute to Mumbai dabbawalas. My favourite part is when Ila accuses the dabbawala of delivering tiffin at the wrong address,the dabbawala mumbles “ Aisa nahi ho sakta,Harvard waale aake padhke gaye hain aur Britain ka Raja bhi jaanta hai”(This cannot be true ,Harvard had conducted study on us and even Britain’s prince knows that).
No more spoilers,go watch the movie that pays tribute to household economics. 
 I feel sorry for KJO and Anurag Kashyap who have every right to be sad as the movie has not been chosen as India’s entry to Oscars.
They had tried hard to make an authentic movie,and going by the Oscar “intellectual” trends  kept it open ended (which is making Indian junta scratch their hair)

P.S I wanted to use Vir Sanghvi's presently inactive column's name Rude Food to lure attention nevertheless kept it simple as our moms. And If your mom or wife is a homemaker make sure you let her know about this



1 comment:

Alok Harsh said...

When i started to read this article i felt it will be on food making and taste, but certainly it turns out to be a review of Lunchbox. One should hold their emotion to stick to original motive. Anyway i have seen LUNCHBOX and i must say it was a good review...