The Lunchbox is a wonderful tale of two strangers, and how a dabba forges a beautiful relationship between these two individuals. The film explores how even amidst the busy life led by people in a metropolitan city, little things like a lunchbox can bring happiness in someones life. I play Ila, a young married woman who lives a simple life, without any modern amenities. The home is her world and cooking is her talent. She is someone who purely exists, and is ignored all the time by her husband.
I had done a crime-thriller called Peddlers in 2012, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was produced by Guneet Monga and Anurag Kashyap. Later Guneet showed my work to director Ritesh Batra, he liked it and asked me to read the script. The moment I saw the script, I fell in love with it and immediately agreed.
I come from an army background, so changing schools and meeting new people was very normal for me. Post 1994, I finally settled down in Delhi and completed my graduation from Lady Shri Ram College. While in college, I took a keen interest in debates and loved participating in co-curricular activities. One day, I confessed to my mother that I was interested in a career in performing arts. The journey was tough, as I had to start working from a grass root level. The first time people noticed me was in a music video called Tera Mera Pyaar, which was sung by Kumar Sanu. Post that, I have been associated with theatre and have also done quite a few advertisements. Although my experience has been good, there was an urge to move on and do interesting things. That is when, I decided to take up film offers.
The first time I faced the camera for this film was for the climax sequence, which was a very crucial scene. It was shot at Churchgate, and this was also the first time that I met both Nawaz and Irrfan. We had a casual chat, before we commenced shooting. I wasnt nervous at all, as I have faced the camera before. The stories of both the protagonists were shot separately, so I didnt get a chance to meet Irrfan again.
I had the luxury to live with the films script for a long time, which proved to be an advantage. Hence, I didnt face any problems as such.
I learned a lot at every step. The experience of working on a film like The Lunchbox was very enriching. Although, I understood my character while reading the script, Ritesh would help me with small tips before every scene.
My mother has been my biggest strength and my role model. She is a strong woman who inspires me with the way she lives her life.
I havent signed any project as of now, and I am not in a rush. I will wait for the right script to come my way.