Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox (Dabba) and Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout had their premiere screenings at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. Lunchbox is selected in International Critics Week section and Monsoon Shootout had a midnight screening. Some early reviews of both the films have been pouring in. For curious folks like us, here are the excerpts and links to the reviews.
Variety review is here
A feel-good movie that touches the heart while steering clear of expectation, “The Lunchbox” signals a notable debut from tyro helmer-scripter Ritesh Batra. The ingredients on their own are nearly fail-proof, yet it’s the way Batra combines food with an epistolary romance between a nearly retired number cruncher and a neglected wife that hits all the right tastebuds. An indie Indian pic with the crossover appeal of “Monsoon Wedding,” it’s sure to be gobbled up by audience-friendly fests before heading into niche cinemas.
Screen Daily review is here
A wistful, elegant love story played out across the streets of Mumbai, The Lunchbox is an unexpectedly aromatic charmer from first-time film-maker Ritesh Batra. Eschewing the pitfalls of what appears, on face value, to be a highly schematic set-up, Batra infuses his film with warmth and humanity, while cameraman Michael Simmonds steps up to deliver delicate visuals of modern Mumbai.
Film Business Asia’s review is here
There’s hardly a shot, line or gesture out of place in The Lunchbox, a hugely impressive feature debut by Mumbai-born, partly New York-based Ritesh Batra that starts out like a foodie film but spins a simple idea into a whole mini-universe of feelings.
– To watch the presentation ceremony video, click here
– To watch Ritesh Batra’s interview, click here
– Two clips from the film
Cast and crew list
And here are the reviews of Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout.
Peter Bradshaw’s review is here
It’s a moody, broody downbeat drama for most of the time, a rainy noir. But along with the plot trickery, there are some unexpected turns…..It’s an entertaining popcorn-movie with a twist, for which commercial success is on the cards. There should be space for pictures like it in Cannes.
The Hollywood Reporter review is here.
A cunningly intricate first film from India, Monsoon Shootout combines the best of two worlds – a ferocious Mumbai cops and gangsters drama, and a satisfyingly arty plot that turns in on itself to examine the outcome of three possible choices a rookie cop might make when he confronts a ruthless killer. Three times the story returns to a key moment: a boy with a gun uncertain whether to pull the trigger. Though the idea of Dirty Harry meeting Sliding Doors may sound abstract, writer-director Amit Kumar pulls it off gracefully, without losing the sense of heightened drama that earned the film a Midnight Movie slot in Cannes. The Fortissimo release should make good headway in territories open to India and exotic genre fare and put Kumar on festival radar.
Screen Daily review is here.
Serving up a portion of Rashomon with a side of Sliding Doors, this tasty Mumbai crime story offers multiple outcomes of one fateful decision in a rookie cop’s professional life. Though it sounds like a potentially experimental premise, Monsoon Shootout is a glossy ethical drama designed to appeal equally to more upscale Indian audiences and worldwide genre fans.
Film School rejects review is here
The Upside: Nicely photographed; boasts decent enough lead performances, specifically the presence of Thapa as Adi’s beau; sound editing is also strikingly effective
The Downside: Aspirations towards existentialism don’t pay off well because it lazily recycles some grand ideas, but without the same level of ingenuity and entertainment value; atrocious editing stifles the action beats, which are themselves too sparse and brief to satisfy.
Here’s the Variety review:
“Monsoon Shootout” is a racy mash-up of Tarantino-esque ultra-violence and-gritty but-hip contempo Indian actioners. Amit Kumar invests a schematic police-thriller structure with a compelling moral dilemma hinging on a standoff between a cop and his suspect.
And here’s the Rope of Silicon podcast on the film.
A look at the film:
Cast and crew list
Production companies: Yaffle Films, Sikhya Entertainment in association with Pardesi Films AKFPL, Dar Motion Pictures
Cast: Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Thapa
Director: Amit Kumar
Screenwriter: Amit Kumar,
Producers: Trevor Ingman, Guneet Monga, Martijn De Grunt
Co-producers: Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari
Director of photography: Rajeev Ravi
Production designer: Mayur Sharma
Editor: Atanu Mukherjee, Ewa Lind
Music: Gingger Shankarv Sales Agent: Fortissimo Films
(Pics taken from various online sources/social media)
Update: TWITTER BUZZ…
Since reviews for Indian films are scarce, we decided to add some tweets into the mix.
On The Lunchbox:
THE LUNCHBOX (R Batra): Like a bonsai tree, modest but magnificent. Standout performances. Bit cloying, but only if you want to find faults. — @bgji May 20, 2013
A very well-deserved, sustained, standing ovation for The Lunchbox at Cannes. Congratulations, Ritesh!! — @Shripriya May 19, 2013
On Monsoon Shootout:
MONSOON SHOOTOUT (D-) 3 versions of the same story, except it’s not as the filmmakers abandon the logic of the conceit. Morally dubious too — @CSkinner May 19, 2013
MONSOON SHOOTOUT (A Kumar): Thoroughly ordinary. Heavy handed 3 pronged narrative structure/metaphor. More imagination re: Bombay, please. — @bgji May 19, 2013