Story

The Lunchbox follows the lives of lonely accountant Saajan (Irrfan Khan) and housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur).

Ila has a loveless marriage. After getting advice from a neighbour, Ila creates a delicious lunch package to send to her husband. Because of an error with the delivery service, the lunch box is mistakenly delivered to Saajan. After she realises the mistake, Ila leaves a short message in the lunch box, addressed to the stranger who enjoyed her meal. After some time, the two begin exchanging messages regularly through the lunch box, growing closer and developing an increasingly intimate relationship.

Ila eventually discovers that her husband is having an affair. Saajan – an older man whose wife has died – decides that it would be a good idea for him and Ila to meet. They discuss moving away together, but when it comes time to meet, Saajan can’t go through with it. He writes to Ila to apologise, telling her that she is young and beautiful with her whole life ahead of her. He is old and can’t offer her the life she deserves. Saajan moves away without her, and Ila leaves her husband and moves with her daughter to Bhutan. But Saajan ultimately changes his mind and sets out in search of her.

Themes

Love and relationships; culture and convention; infidelity; identity and independence

Violence

None of concern

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

There is nothing in The Lunchbox to scare or disturb children under five years. 

From 5-8

The Lunchbox includes references to a news story about a suicide. A woman jumped from a tower while holding her young daughter. She killed herself and her daughter. This might disturb children in this age group. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by the story about the suicide and death of a child in The Lunchbox

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in The Lunchbox

Sexual references

The Lunchbox has some sexual references, including when Saajan tells a story about thinking he was being sexually assaulted on a train by a woman standing nearby. But he tells the story to explain that things are not always as they seem, and that it was merely the woman’s purse that had been pushing against him. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Lunchbox is about the enrichment of life through love and relationships. It presents Saajan and Ila as two individuals in need of companionship. Without actually meeting, they deeply touch and affect one another’s lives. They each inspire the other to make a significant change – Saajan quits his job and Ila leaves her husband.

Although there is little in the movie to disturb children, the movie’s themes make it more suited to teenagers and adults. It lacks interest for younger children, particularly because it is in Hindi with English subtitles.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with older children include:

  • acknowledging reality, and making difficult changes in your life
  • being prepared to take risks and letting new people into your life
  • having the drive to improve your skills so you can support yourself or your family.

You could also talk with your children about:

  • cultural issues related to Indian marriages
  • infidelity and the consequences it can have on a marriage.