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Ritesh Batra debut ‘The Lunchbox’ wins critics award at Cannes

The debut film by an unknown Indian filmmaker has won the Critic’s Week Viewers Choice award at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.

Ritesh Batra’s ‘The Lunchbox’, a subtle, beautiful story about middle-aged love and Dabbawalah’s, ensured that the much-hyped Indian sojourn to the French Riviera this year – India is the guest country at Cannes in honour of the Bollywood Centenary – hasn’t been to no avail.

The feel good movie was universally acclaimed by critics.

Hollywood industry bible Variety said ‘The Lunchbox’ “touches the heart while steering clear of expectations” which had the “crossover appeal of Monsoon Wedding”.

Fionnuala Halligan, film critic for Screen Daily, said the “elegant” film had a “wistful” quality to it and was “unexpectedly charming”. 

Confirming the news of the award, Irrfan Khan tweeted, “Just got the news The Lunchbox won its first award at Cannes.”

The film’s producer Anurag Kashyap said: “It’s begun.. Lunchbox wins critics week viewer’s choice award.. It’s called the Golden Rail or something.. Yay,” he tweeted.

The film’s two leads, Nimrat Kaur, who plays a dissatisfied housewife and Irrfan Khan, in the role of a disenchanted government clerk, came in for particular praise with Halligan calling Khan’s performance “warm and sympathetic”.

Khan, arguably the most visible Indian actor in the West, earlier described what drew him to the picture.  “It has a kind of emotional world which was very sweet, very unique, and very interesting.

And I’m fond of doing love stories.  I didn’t get a chance to do love stories in my life, so I keep looking for love stories and this gave me a chance to play a love story.”

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