Today, September 20, marks the 10th anniversary of The Lunchbox (2013). The film is remembered not just for its simple and touching plot and powerful performances but also for how it almost became the first Indian film to win an Oscar. Directed by Ritesh Batra, it generated immense buzz in some of the important film festivals, fueling the perception that it is likely to be nominated for the Academy Awards. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for distribution based on this perception. Hence, it was a shocker when the Film Federation of India (FFI) chose to submit an unknown Gujarati film, The Good Road, as India’s official entry to the Oscars over The Lunchbox. Anurag Kashyap, one of the producers of the film, blasted the FFI, and so did the other members of the film.
10 Years of The Lunchbox: The Irrfan Khan-starrer was a RARE niche film to cross Rs. 100 crore mark; its overseas collections were more than that of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Krrish 3, Ram-leela
Besides this controversy, The Lunchbox is also memorable for its box office performance. Usually, niche films struggle at the box office. But The Lunchbox had a healthy lifetime of Rs. 20.19 crores. Incidentally, the Oscar row happened at the time of its release. Hence, the curiosity to see the film was more. However, it also enjoyed a good word of mouth which also attracted moviegoers.
Overseas, The Lunchbox scored a sixer. It did unprecedented business in Japan. As per reports, the dubbed Japanese version ran in cinemas for more than 50 days. In many European countries, its business was very impressive. In Germany, it collected € 1,286,912. A film like Pathaan (2023) had earned € 889,469 in the European country. In Italy, it ended up earning 207,891 USD while Pathaan had earned 57,242 USD.
Anurag Kashyap, in an exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama in December 2013, said, “It is the most distributed Indian film. It released 96 prints in France. It released 80 prints in Germany. The number of admissions for The Lunchbox in 3 days is beyond any Hindi film has done in France ever.”
And that’s not all. The Lunchbox grossed Rs. 74.14 crores overseas. Its worldwide gross stands at Rs. 100.02 crores. In short, The Lunchbox was a rare Rs. 100 crore niche film.
Moreover, its overseas gross collections were more than the 2013 blockbusters like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Rs. 57.70 crores), Krrish 3 (Rs. 53.20 crores) and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela (Rs. 45.76 crores). It was the third highest-grossing Indian film overseas in 2013 after Dhoom 3 (Rs. 192.29 crores) and Chennai Express (Rs. 109.08 crores).
The Lunchbox starred Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur. It is the story of Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) who ends up getting the wrong lunchbox one day at work. It leads to the beginning of a novel relationship between him and Ila Singh (Nimrat Kaur), who cooked the dishes that landed on Saajan's desk. Nawazuddin Siddiqui played the role of Aslam Shaikh, Saajan's happy-go-lucky colleague.
More Pages: The Lunchbox Box Office Collection , The Lunchbox Movie Review
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