Irrfan Khan

Irrfan Khan in THE LUNCHBOX

There comes a point in nearly every relationship, romantic or otherwise, where a bout of stagnation nestles in. Such a stasis is seldom planned or desired; it simply comes to fruition, often without warning. As the matriarch of a family, Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is no exception. In an attempt to rejuvenate her marriage, she decides to use a new recipe in making her husband’s coveted lunch. Like The Lunchbox, Ila does not make the type of grand gestures we’re accustomed to receiving from tacky Hollywood fare. Director Ritesh Batra poignantly keeps in mind that in love, it’s often the little things that count. Unfortunately, Ila’s carefully crafted culinary gesture is not received by her emotionally distant husband (Nakul Vaid). Instead the home-cooked meal is mistakenly delivered to Saajan (Irrfan Khan), another accountant in the office. On the verge of retirement after 35 years of loyal service, Saajan accepts the enigmatic lunch. Surprised by the lack of response from her husband, Ila instead receives a letter from Saajan (upon receiving yet another meal the following day). A few simple words sets in motion a series notes between the two of them.

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Life of Pi

Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) is a middle-aged professor visited at his home in Canada by a stranger in search of a story. The two men share an acquaintance who pointed the writer (Rafe Spall) Pi’s way for a very specific tale. It seems Pi was the lone human survivor of a shipwreck when he was a teenager, and the events between the sinking and his rescue are reportedly enough to make a person believe in God. The story begins with Pi’s childhood and ends with his post-disaster return to civilization, but it’s the center of the tale that makes up the bulk of the film. And for good reason too, as minor familial interactions pale beside the visual wonders and life-threatening adventures that occur while he struggles to survive adrift at sea. His life afloat is made more dangerous and unpredictable by the presence of a full grown tiger he finds sharing the lifeboat with him, and as a few other zoo animal stragglers succumb to the elements and each other, Pi and the tiger (named Richard Parker) form an uneasy, symbiotic relationship. Director Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi takes up the challenge with the story’s implied promise of a resultant belief, but neither Pi’s tale nor Lee’s film satisfies on anything more than a superficial level. The beautiful visuals and occasionally tense action offer distractions in the service of empty platitudes and an insulting view of where and how people find their faith. Ultimately, this is a story that […]

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Director Ang Lee was given a reported $100 million to make this trippy, gut-wrenching, and moving picture. An adaptation of Yann Martel‘s novel of the same name, Life of Pi is an epic art house film that was somehow granted big studio treatment. How could this happen, you ask? If any excuse could be made, it’s likely that Fox knew Lee had something this special up his sleeve. Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) is given a lofty request by a visiting writer at the beginning of the film: “Tell me a story that will make me believe in God.” What follows is a story that may not make you run to church but at least will make you reach for a tissue. Pi tells this man, played by Rafe Spall, a tale full of suffering and hope. As a boy, he and his family are forced to move out of India, along with the zoo they own. Like most trips in film, their journey does not go smoothly. The ship is hit by a massive storm and the family is lost at sea, leaving the young Pi (Suraj Sharma) alone on a life boat with a few of their animals. Soon, he discovers he has a starving companion along for the ride in Richard Parker, who happens to be a Bengal tiger.

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