Hope you have joined the ranks of people who have seen “Lunch-Box” and have salivated over the surrealistically romantic movie as well as over the lovely food shown throughout the movie. If you have not, and still intend to see the movie, then I would advise you to skip this piece and re-visit after having seen the movie. Somehow I feel that it may make more sense.
OK, now for the boxed-up people, many of us were wringing our hands in despair at the end and were trying to guess as to what would finally have happened in the lives of the protagonists. Well, think not – here are a few possible endings. You may choose the one that is closest to your hearts.
- Saajan Fernandes takes the slow local to Malad, gets down at Malad East, brisk walks to Ila’s apartment. He sees Ila and her child going in the cab to Bhutan (I mean through the airport). Saajan stops the cab, and asks “May I come along please ?” and Ila smiles. They discuss later about Saajan not having a passport, and go instead to Nashik, where the kid goes to Boarding School, and the two live happily ever after.
- Saajan stops the cab and thanks Ila for the lovely food. He says he has thought it over, has reaffirmed the age difference in his mind, and wants to adopt Ila as his daughter. Ila gets the Bandra bungalow, and the kid goes to a Bandra West nose-in-the-air school.
- Saajan realises that he is on a Borivali fast, which doesn’t stop at Malad. He sees Malad station whizz past. Ila is standing on the other platform with the kid (she came to the station in the cab). She has the Lonely Planet of Bhutan in her hands. Saajan vows to learn about the funda of “Fast vs Slow” Trains well for the future. Realises that living in Bandra, where all trains stop, had spurred him into a false world of convenience and ease. He also learns the hard way that Ammi was wrong – “a wrong train can never lead you to the right destination”.
- Saajan is chatting with the dabba walas in the train coach. Ila’s dabba wala tells him that he is the dabba wala who used to pick up the dabba from Ila’s home. He narrates how he was paid by Ila’s husband to deliver the box to a wrong address, so that the husband would not have to eat her lousy food everyday. Saajan rushes to Ila, informs her that her marriage is over, and they proceed to Nashik (please see Plot 1 for “why not Bhutan”).
- Ila’s dabba wala hints that Ila and her husband have hatched the entire plan of purposely sending the dabba to Saajan to earn his confidence. Then Ila will move in with Saajan, marry him and inherit the Bandra bungalow (they feel he doesn’t have anything more than that). Then, Ila would hasten Saajan’s death by feeding him high-calorie stuff (in dinner too). Her ex-husband would rejoin her, and they would live in Bandra West happily ever after. Possibly, get the bungalow redeveloped into a building, and become wealthy too. And the kid will say in Bandra speak “what yaar, he was a gone case only”.
- Saajan reaches Ila’s place, but Ila has had a re-think. She thinks that any husband who has survived on aloo-gobhi for months without complaining much is not all that bad. So, what if he has a couple of flings at work place. She politely refuses Saajan’s proposal and gives her ticket to Bhutan to Saajan. Saajan gets a tatkal passport, gets a visa-on-arrival, and spends his last days in Bhutan.
- Ila has found out that her husband works in a perfume factory in the second shift, to make ends meet. And the perfume on his shirt is from that (the dabbawala reveals this to her). Ila is really ashamed of her lack of Bharatiya naaripan. She apologises to Saajan for flirting with him over kheema-pav (almost), and decides to live happily ever after with her husband and kid.
- Saajan bumps into Ila’s mom, Lilette Dubey while walking from Malad station to Ila’s home. He finds Lilette prettier than Ila and more amusing and well, ahem, of his age. Lilette is a gold-digger anyways and coquettishly entices Saajan – mein to non-veg bhi bana leti hoon !! Saajan informs Ila that he sees her as his daughter, and well, meet your new mom…er…old mom…whatever.
- Saajan reaches Ila’s home and sees “Aaunty, Aaunty…” hanging the basket down. He imagines Bharti Achrekar’s husband lying on bed staring at the fan. And shudders to think that he may end up in the same stage, with such an age difference with Ila. He bids Ila good bye and goes back to Nashik. This time, he meets an older woman in the train, and proposes to her over kaali maina in Igatpuri.
- Ila and Saajan and the kid board the plane to Thimpu. They don’t like the scenery as much had been promised in the kid’s geography book. Saajan grumbles, “Nashik would have been better”. They meet the king, Jigme Singhye Wangchuk, to complain to him. When the camera pans from the king’s towel-like dress upwards, the audience is shocked to see that the king is…Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The movie gets over in THIS incomplete way than the one it ended in the cinema hall.
Hope you found the ending of your choice from the few that I have described above. Apologies for this frivolous post about a film which should have made it to the Oscars as our official entry over the “Good Road” Gujarati movie because Lunch-box was so much better than Good Road…shall write something about Good Road after I have seen it !