Watershed and the Thali - two of Bristol's most loved independents - have joined forces to celebrate the release of The Lunchbox, a critically acclaimed feel-good foodie love story set in the bustling streets of Mumbai.
The Lunchbox, which opens at Watershed on Fri 11 April, centres on the famously efficient world of dabbawalas, who have been delivering hot lunchboxes from wives, restaurants and cafés to office workers (and back again) throughout Mumbai for over a century.
Their foolproof delivery system is apparently never wrong ("They came from Harvard to study us," says one of the couriers in the film. "The King of England came to see!"), but in this film, they make a mistake.
Desperate to impress her neglectful husband, Ila (Nimrat Kaur) pours her heart and soul into every meal, a gastronomic love letters of sorts. "One bite and he'll build you a Taj Mahal!" promises her neighbour. Instead, her food ends up on the desk of lonely Sajaan (Irrfan Khan), who polishes off every delicious drop and crumb.
When Ila discovers the mix up, she sends Sajaan a note secreted away in one of her chapattis, and soon the pair, through the exchange of notes, begin to reveal details of their inner lives, and fall in love. But can they work up the appetite to finally meet in person?
The Lunchbox is unashamedly old fashioned, a delicate mix of laughs and romance, hope and melancholy that will be sure to charm the hearts (and stomachs) of Bristol.
Watershed ticket holders for The Lunchbox get 20% off their food at the Thali, a much-loved Bristol institution who have restaurants in Clifton, Easton, Montpelier, Southville and Totterdown. You can choose to eat in, or takeaway in your own tiffin, the stainless steel lunchboxes you see Ila and Sajaan using to secret away their letters in the film.
We first saw The Lunchbox at an industry screening in Bristol last November, and by the time the credits were rolling we were desperately hungry. The first thing we wanted to do was to run to the nearest Thali with the rest of the cinema in tow and treat ourselves to some of their brilliant Indian food - which is exactly what we did! We are delighted when they agreed to come on board and support the film with us - so now every person who sees the film will be able to sate their hunger at the Thali!
The Thali said:
"In the film, Ila cooks up an incredible array of dishes to tempt (and punish!) Sajaan. Our chefs, inspired by the tastes on screen, have created a special Aloo Baingan (potato and aubergine) curry so now you too can experience the delicious flavours of the film. We can't guarantee that you'll find any love letters tucked into our chapattis but you never know - keep your eyes peeled!"