abba DABBA jabba

I’m forever muttering profanities at the absurdity Bollywood churns out. But after eons, a B-town flick has left me stuttering! I am at a complete loss for words and this I mean in a good way. The Lunchbox is one of those rare cinematic treats that will shush you into silence to make audible those tentative whispers emanating from your soul.

A slice-of-life film abounding with characters that could very well have been fleshed out from your ordinary universe and mine, it’s hard to believe that all it takes for a mundane existence to transform into a magical one is a teeny-weeny bit of conspiracy on the part of fate.

In his twilight zone, Saajan Fernandez is well aware he’s no Robert Pattinson πŸ˜† His nights have none of the latter’s high-octane energy, typical of a lonely widower. He slogs his butt by day and flogs his butt by night outta sheer boredom πŸ˜† He’s the kind of man who would love to abolish all holidays in the Indian calendar year, including Sundays! 😯 Just so that he can shine at work rather than whine to himself in his lonely home. Even Black and White have more color to them than the colorless life Saajan has taken to existing.

A steaming hot dabba spewing the most tempting of aromas falls from the heavens into his lap and color starts gobbling the starkness of his life. Turns out the source behind the life-altering lunches is Ila.

Ila’s plate seems to be more full than the dabba she inadvertently rustles up for Saajan. There’s a young daughter to nurture, an indifferent and possibly unfaithful husband to woo back and a million other thankless chores housewives around the world are expected to attend to. Ila sets out to knock on the firmly-shut doors of her husband’s heart through his stomach. Par daane daane pe likha hota hai khaane waale ka naam. In this case, Saajan’s. Conspiring with the Gods are Mumbai’s Lunch Gods, the Dabbawalas πŸ˜† who make this happy ‘accident’ possible.

Quite uncharacteristically, the normally-restrained soul tucks in a quirky note of profuse thanks. It’s pretty symbolic that despite having people to talk to- her daughter, her husband, and a friendly soul for a neighbor, Ila should turn to the handwritten note to affirm her worth.

In a rather impersonal age of FB and Whatsapp, these two lonely fossils are more than happy to tuck intimate notes in a dabba- complimenting, criticizing, contradicting and consoling each other. An undefinable bond blossoms between the unseen protagonists. Is it love? Is it mere companionship? I couldn’t say for sure but it’s so damned pure, it seems almost utopian. They really should have modified the background song to ‘Tu KHAAshiq hai, main teri KHAAS CHICK(i)’ πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

Bharati Achrekar as The VOICE and Nawazuddin as Shaikh are the finishing touches to an already perfect meal…or should I say lunch? If you watch closely, you’ll realize that everything in this rather ‘toned-down/ quiet’ film seems to do a lot of talking. Saajan’s monochromatic wardrobe is the perfect testament to his drab existence. Clean and neat, yet tired. Adjectives perfectly suited to their owner as well.

As the grumblings of the stomach transform to pleasurable rumblings, the austere demeanor takes a tumbling. Out come the cheques and a few colors that would delight the cockles of Govinda’s heart! πŸ˜† The man is walking in the clouds a la Keanu Reeves. He now likes to punctuate the silences with whistling and humming and it’s that mental nick he suffers whilst shaving that sends him crashing down to earth. Could anything concrete come out of this tantalizing yet covert relationship? Does he have it in him to banish the blues from his life forever? Can he make a move that will send tumbling all the other pieces on the chessboard called life?

Ila finds silence cloying. So she must engage in loud conversation with an unseen neighbor even as the radio blares in the background. Yet, the most meaningful words ever said to her that have stirred her up like never before are on a piece of paper! Acknowledgement of her efforts, never mind that it’s from a stranger, fires her up to look better because the world finally seems to be getting better.

You really have to be attentive to catch these small things that catapult a film into greatness. And The Lunchbox is brimming with delights. It’s truly a feast for the senses. I’m unashamedly on my third helping and salivating for more πŸ˜› You will be, too. Bon appetit then!

BELOW: A Feast Fit For a King? You bet!

2013-09-25 12_11_36-the-lunchbox-2v - Windows Live Photo Gallery

The Long and Short of it…

“Bite your tongue before you speak,” my mother would always say. The only boneless muscle in the body, you can count on it to slip and make others flip πŸ˜€

Apni BONG has quite a looooooong TONGue πŸ˜› Apparently Bips had a problem with Mr. Amaron Kissme’s overactive lips πŸ˜† Citing irreconcilable height differences, Basu was the reason for his aasu πŸ˜† Back then, she was basking in the warmth of the beedis she’d jalaoed and preoccupied doing racy stuff with Saif. It was also a time when Once Upon A Time in Mumbai, The Dirty Picture, and Shanghai had yet to see the light of day.

Back-to-back hits in two consecutive years catapulted the underdog into the big league. Overnight, every A-list actress worth her salt had a profound change of heart and shed all her inhibitions about onscreen exhibitionism in her desperation to be his arm candy.

Times had changed, the tables had turned and Miss Basu began feeling like Miss bASSu πŸ˜€ Not wanting to give her a taste of her own medicine, the ever-gracious Hashmi let bygones be bygones and gave her career a new lease of life with Raaz 3.

I liked the way he tackled a question probing how he felt being paired with saleable actresses finally. Here’s his kick-ass reply:

Actresses have their reasons. Probably they felt that I couldn’t clock in the numbers at the box office that time. I think Bipasha had said that I was short for her…kind of a metaphor (laughing), but I’ve gotten taller (laughing louder) over the past couple of years. Now she’s okay with my height, so now she’s okay to work with me. (big smile)

What has helped you gain that height?
Box office! It’s always the box office, it’s always the numbers your film opens up to.

Looks like splitting up with a Greek-God kinda BF has opened Bips’ eyes to the other regular-looking, supremely talented guys who inhabit our planet. Last heard, she’s pairing with someone as ordinary-looking as Nawazuddin Siddiqui 😯 for her next. But since he happens to be a powerhouse performer and a sureshot way of reviving her sinking career, Bips can have the last laugh… or quips, should we say! πŸ˜†

From Talaash to Goulash

They first attributed the delay in release owing to similarities with Sujoy Ghosh’s masterpiece, Kahaani. Then they insinuated that its plot borrows heavily from ‘Anniyan’, a 2005 Tamil blockbuster and from the grim 2010 Di Caprio starrer ‘Shutter Island’.
And all this while Aamir and his team kept mum. After all, any publicity is good publicity, right?

I can safely certify that Talaash is nothing like any of the flicks cited above. If anything, it’s far more superlative in terms of performances.

Aamir gets into the skin of his character- a tormented soul trying to exorcise his demons by diving headlong into his work. Another stellar job, yet another feather in his cap.

Rani is a breath of clean, fresh air- a clean look, and a clean act, consolidating her position as the Queen of Bollywood.

Kareena is lethal- right from the provocative swaying of her hips to her killer histrionics.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the brash, unapologetic special agent in Kahaani does a complete U-Turn as a shady, limping pimp. And if the jury left it to me, he’d be the one getting all the accolades from amongst this bunch of supremely talented actors.

But alas! An actor is only as good as the script and while Talaash is majorly a slow-paced, brilliantly constructed film, its climax was an unappetizing goulash (mish-mash) of sorts.

Without giving the suspense away, I thought it was the desi version of an acclaimed Hollywood psychological thriller that gave us all goosebumps in the last millennium. And another supernatural/horror flick that the Bhatt camp has been milking dry for the last decade or so.

I was reminded of the great fear that consumed me prior to entering the Haunted House at Essel World…the cold sweat trickling down my back…the sudden rush of adrenaline…and I don’t even want to elaborate on how I felt when I was back out in the sunlight!

Talaash’s twist is that nonsensical, that infuriating and THAT big a letdown! It might have been better to share Kahaani’s climax and end on a sensible note than reshoot it in a panic on a half-baked idea!

And here’s what stumps me. A man with as strong a business acumen as AK would want to co-produce a flaccid Talaash!? Not 3 Idiots, not even Ghajini, but this!?

There’s a method to his madness, everyone close to him insists. Still on the talaash for that!!! πŸ˜†

BELOW: Nothing can describe angst and the general tone of the movie better than this still.