Monday, April 7, 2014

Craving love and aloo gobi in 'The Lunchbox'

Monday Movie Madness may have fallen by the wayside, but I still find myself wanting to share some cinema time with all of you.  Especially because yesterday I went to the movies, and I want to let you all know that if 'The Lunchbox' is in a theater near you, it's worth seeing.  But I'm going to start from the beginning.

All in all, it was a very Indian Sunday.  As I was doing a little late-morning channel surfing I discovered something rather unusual for American television: a cricket match!  I have caught highlights of cricket matches every once in a while as part of SportsCenter's Top 10, and I knew that ESPN had been including matches as part of their online coverage.  But this wasn't a highlight, it was a live match on ESPN2.  My mom was as pleased as I was surprised.  She may not like tea, but in her love of cricket at least she shows her Britishness.  We watched Sri Lanka beat India in the T20 by six wickets with 13 balls remaining.  Yeah, I only sort of know what that means.

After that we went up North towards the lone theater presenting our desired feature.  That meant, of course, that first we would have a lunch of frozen yogurt at Yogurtland.  While they didn't have anything particularly Indian, they are doing another round of flavor passports that did include Spanish flan, Geneva chocolate, French black currant tart, and Florida orange sorbet.  We could have had some Indian food at Tarka just around the corner, but Mom isn't a big curry person, so we stuck with froyo.  We also stopped by Sea of Beads, and I was tempted to pick up some seed beads to add to the final blue edge of my Affection-ite.  But in the end I decided that just finishing those final rows is going to take long enough, and I think the striping will be interesting enough without the additional sparkle.

My mom had been wanting to see 'The Lunchbox' since she had heard something about it on the radio.  These days, I end up putting more movies on my to-watch list from listening to NPR, and then from seeing the trailers when I go to see those movies, than from commercials on TV or Oscar buzz or things like that.  Anyway, we had to wait a few weeks for the film to come to Austin, in the meantime I had found the trailer and concurred with Mom's assessment that this looked like something worth seeking out:

This is one of those movies where it is truly cruel to only have overpriced buttered popcorn available to eat.  Even with a stomach full of froyo, I could practically smell the paneer and the aloo gobi.  It was so unfair.  This movie would be perfectly paired with a dinner party of Indian food, whether attempted at home or brought in from a take-out place.

Just like the layering of flavors in Ila's lunches, the film's story is a perfect blend of emotions.  It shows rather than tells, and adds depth to characters in daily details.  It's not too schmaltzy, but it's not depressingly cynical, even though Saajan begins the movie that way.  I simply cannot spoil the ending, but it similarly balances realism and the kind of optimism that I like to leave a theater with.

If I've whetted your appetite, I hope 'The Lunchbox' might be playing nearby you!

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