Irrfan Khan's Dabba (Lunchbox) in Best Film category at London Film Festival

Archana Venkatraman

Anurag Kashyap’s Hindi film starring Irrfan Khan – Dabba or The Lunchbox released in India, UK and US on September 20. The film made its entry into the Best Film award category in BFI London Film Festival 2013’s official competition.

Irrfan Khan in Dabba - The Lunchbox - at London Film Festival 2013
Image: YouTube still

BFI London Film Festival, the UK’s largest public film event, is now in its 56th year and showcases the best of UK and international cinema.

From India, seven films have been selected to be showcased at the festival including Dabba or The Lunchbox. Other six films include Fandry, From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, Jeevan Smriti, Kalpana, Siddharth and Sniffer.

Dabba (The Lunchbox) which was screened at the Cannes International Film Festival 2013 is written and directed by Ritesh Batra and stars Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (of Gangs of Wasseypur fame). Its plot is based on the world-famous dabbawalas in Mumbai. It tracks the lives of two characters -- Sajaan, a widower and Ila, an unhappy housewife who exchange notes through lunchboxes as a result of one mistaken delivery of a dabba one day. The film tracks their relationship that develops after one mistaken delivery.

"I loved The Lunchbox, big hit at Telluride Film Festival, best Indian film in a long time. Strong foreign film Oscar contender, in my view," said author Salman Rushdie on Twitter.

The film, which is shot in documentary-style, had a budget of $1.5m.

“Crossed wires and swapped lunches make for a delicious feel-good romance in Ritesh Batra’s Mumbai-set charmer,” the film festival’s organisers describe Batra’s Dabba.

Dabba (The Lunchbox) has been nominated in the London Film Festival’s Best Film category in 2013 alongside ten other films from across the world. These include Scarlett Johannson’s Under the Skin; the UK film The Double, French film Abuse of Weakness, Polish film Ida, Japan’s Like Father, Like Son and Canadian film Tom at the Farm among others.

The Best Film Award recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, according to BFI London Film Festival’s organisers.

The prestigious London Film festival, when it began screened just 20 films in the first year from world renowned directors including Satyajit Ray and Akira Kurosawa.

In 2013, the Festival will screen a total of 234 fiction and documentary features, including 22 World Premieres, 16 International Premieres, 29 European Premieres and 20 Archive films. 

The 57th BFI London Film Festival will run from October 9 to October 20, 2013 and Irrfan Khan’s Dabba or The Lunchbox will be screened on October 19 at 3pm and on October 20 at 6pm at Odeon West End and Curzon Mayfair respectively.

Watch the trailer or extract of Dabba shown at Cannes film festival:



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