A new film from India called THE LUNCHBOX is doing well at the box office in America probably because it's a sweet, enjoyable story of two lonely strangers who become close by writing notes to each other.
Here's the setup:
India's lunchbox delivery system transports thousands of meals every day from kitchens to offices.
A young wife in Mumbai prepares a special lunch for her neglectful husband hoping it will revive his interest in her. But the delivery system makes a rare mistake and delivers that delicious lunch to a lonely accountant whose wife is no longer living.
When the empty lunchbox is returned to the young woman and she discovers that it wasn't her husband who ate the food, she decides to send the stranger another lunch along with a note. And that's how the gentle, melancholy story of Ila and Saajan begins.
Ila's note: Thank you for sending back an empty lunchbox. I had made that food for my husband. And when it came back empty, I thought he would say something to me. For a few hours, I thought the way to the heart is through the stomach. In return for those hours, I am sending you Paneer, my husband's favorite.
At first, Saajan, an accountant in his fifties, who is about to retire, writes to her as a father might.
Saajan's note: Dear Ila, Your husband sounds like a busy man. Life is very busy these days. There are too many people and everyone wants what the other has....
Why don't you have another child? Sometimes having a child can help a marriage.
But that suggestion is not going to work since Ila suspects that her husband is having an affair. So she keeps sending lunches and notes to Saajan while her husband keeps getting the commercial lunches that Saajan should be receiving.
And even though they've never laid eyes on each other, Ila and Sajjan begin to confide in each other more and more. "We forget things if we have no one to tell them to," Sajjan writes.
And gradually, their communication changes the way each of them looks at life as the film moves slowly and gently through the small events of daily life.
As a colleague of Saajan's puts it, "Sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station."
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org