First Look : Ritesh Batra’s Dabba (The Lunchbox – stills & official synopsis)

Posted: April 27, 2013 by moifightclub in cast & crew, cinema, Film Festival, first look, Indie, News, pics, Stills, Story / Plot / Synopsis, Xclusive
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For those who have been curious about Ritesh Batra’s Dabba, we have got the first look of the film. Here are some of the stills from the film which look really impressive. We do also have all the cast, credit and official synopsis details.

The film will have its international premiere at Cannes Festival in International Critics Week section.

(Click on any image to start the slide show in hi-res)

Though Nawaz was also in Paan Singh Tomar, but it looks like this film finally brings together two of the finest actors of our generation in full fledged roles. And is Irrfan Khan in Namesake avatar again? Bring it on!

Official Synopsis

A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an old man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. Gradually, this fantasy threatens to overwhelm their reality.

Mumbai, a city of miracles.

One of Mumbai’s miracles is Mumbai’s Dabbawallahs – a community of 5000 dabba (lunchbox) deliverymen. It is a hereditary profession. Every morning the Dabbawallahs deliver hot meals from the kitchens of housewives to the offices of their husbands, and then return the empty lunchboxes back to the homes in the afternoon. For 120 years they have provided Mumbaikars with a taste of home in the office. They navigate through the overcrowded local trains and chaotic streets – that often have a namesake or more than one name. The Dabbahwallahs are illiterate, and instead rely on a complex coding system of colors and symbols to deliver dabbas in the labyrinth that is Mumbai. Harvard University analyzed their delivery system, concluding that just 1 in 8 million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. Dabba is the story of that one lunchbox.

A mistakenly delivered lunchbox connects a housewife, Ila Singh, to Saajan Thomas, a lonely man in the dusk of his life. Ila lives in Dadar, the conservative middle class Hindu enclave. And Saajan lives in Ranwar village, Bandra, an old Christian neighborhood that is threatened by the new high rises in Mumbai. Very soon Saajan will retire and bid goodbye to a Mumbai that has crushed his dreams, took away his loved ones one by one, and turned his hair white. Just then Ila comes into his life. In the big city, that crushes dreams and recycles them every day, both find a dream to hold on to. Ila begins a fantastical affair with a mystery suitor, pouring her heart into cooking meals for him. And Saajan looks forward to lunch box deliveries from a mystery woman every day. They exchange notes via the lunchbox and create a fantasy life. As the lunchbox goes back and forth, this fantasy becomes so elaborate that it threatens to overwhelm their reality. The characters of The Lunchbox exist on the line between the Mumbai of reality and the Mumbai of fantasy.

The Lunchbox is the story of the life we dream of versus the life we live in, and of the courage it takes to turn out fantasies into reality.


director: Ritesh Batra
screenplay: Ritesh Batra
cinematography: Michael Simmonds
editing: John Lyons
sound: Michael Kaczmarek
production design: Shruti Gupte
music: Max Richter

Irrfan Khan
Nimrat Kaur
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Denzil Smith
Bharati Achrekar
Nakul Vaid
Yashvi Puneet Nagar
Lillete Dubey
Sada (Dabbawala)

The film is produced by Sikhya Entertainment (India), Dar Motion Pictures (India), and co-produced by National Film Development Corporation (India), ASAP Films (France) and Roh Films (Germany).

Btw, Michael Simmonds? The DoP of Ramin Bahrani’s films? Chop Shop, Man Push Cart, Goodbye Solo and Plastic Bag. That’s a great talent to have on board.

To know more about the film and the filmmaker, click here to read his interview on DearCinema.


Ritesh Batra is a writer/director based in Mumbai and New York. In 2009, Batra was selected for the Sundance Writers and Directors labs for his feature project “The Story of Ram”. He was also named the Sundance Time Warner Storytelling Fellow and an Annenburg Fellow. He was part of the Graduate Film Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, from which he dropped out in 2010. His short films have been presented in many international film festivals and fine arts venues. His recent short “Café Regular, Cairo” was featured in the 2012 Inter- national Film Festival of Rotterdam and 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. His upcoming short ‘The State of Siege’ is currently in post-production.

His feature screenplay THE LUNCHBOX was part of the 2011 Binger-NFDC Screenwriting Lab, it won an Honorable Mention from the Jury at the 2012 edition of the Cinemart at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam and was part of the Berlinale Talent Project Market.

(Cast/credit/synopsis/Director’s bio taken from various co-producers’ site)

  1. ashish kumar says:

    hi nice sir keep it up …….
    i want to see this “lunchbox” movie ..

  2. Irrfan and Nawaz… Yay!!
    Now can they add Naseer somehow into the mix…😀

  3. The synopsis reminds me of one short movie “inbox”. Here is the link
    .Watch it and compare on your own.

  4. […] Written and directed by Ritesh Batra, the film stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith and Bharati Achrekar. To read its official synopsis and full cast/crew details, click here. […]

  5. […] The film had its premiere at the Cannes Film festival in Critics Week section. To know more about the film, click here, here and here. […]

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