Ritesh Batra’s ‘The Lunchbox‘ is easily one of the most assured debuts of our times. Not only do the performances seem natural, but the way the camera closes in and captures every moment is amazing too. I never really get how so many filmmakers ignore what the real Bombay stands for – they forget, no, ignore Mumbai’s filled-to-the-brim-and-spilling milieu.
Thankfully Ritesh knows what he’s doing. You remember that scene when Irrfan gets bugged with the traffic and takes a rickshaw home – how he has to bend himself just to get off the bus? Well, when that scene was over, a friend sitting next to me said, ‘I do that sometimes.’ I couldn’t help but wonder why wasn’t this little moment captured on film before? Ritesh Batra is a man who carefully listens. To our world. To the stories we tell in whispers. Oh and he can use sound well too. Remember the loud thumping of the leaky tap when Saajan (Irrfan) goes to the washroom to check his shave?
There’s so much about ‘The Lunchbox‘ that needs to be lauded. But I am writing to you because I wanted to share this little gem with you. Cafe Regular, Cairo is the short film Ritesh made right before he made ‘The Lunchbox’. So if you were craving for more of his stories, this is the perfect little treat for you. Granted it’s tad different from The Lunchbox. But even here the performances are just as assured and the role reversal between the man and woman is both entertaining and refreshing. Just hit play to watch. Add salt, sugar and compliments to taste.