Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra’s fails to acquire Indian release, and here’s why

Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra’s fails to acquire Indian release, and here’s why

Where is the eagerly awaited follow-up film to Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox? Batra who achieved more international acclaim for The Lunchbox than any other Indian film since Satyajit Ray, who wowed the world with Pather Panchali, was gung-ho about the Indian release of The Sense Of An Ending, a screen adaptation of British author Julian Barnes’ Booker-winning novel featuring a distinguished cast of British actors.

The film was originally scheduled to release in India on March 24 and the super-excited director had said to me, “The Sense Of An Ending is being brought to India by PVR. I must say it’s good of them to back my film. It is an English-language film and I didn’t expect it would get such an easy release in India. But I am happy to say there are lots of Julian Barnes fans in India as well, and some people who are looking forward to seeing what I’ve done after The Lunchbox. I am curious and anxious to see how people react to it.”

Well, Barnes’ fans in India, as too Batra’s have all bowed to Baahubali.

March 24 came and went. There was no sign of Batra’s film in Indian theatres. Reports in a section of the press suggested that the censor board had held up the film for its key love-making scenes. However sources at the censor board pooh-poohed these claims as “delaying tactics”, saying the film had nothing objectionable.

The Sense Of An Ending which opened in the US on 10 March, was then announced for April 7. The new release date in India of the highly acclaimed film—which the Washington Post has described as “an excellent adaptation”—has also come and gone.

No sign of this eagerly awaited film! Repeated attempts to get PVR, Ritesh Batra’s film’s Indian distributors, to shed some clarity on the mystery of the missing masterpiece was road blocked rudely by key personalities in the company who simply seem to have no interest in the fate of the film .No comment was available from anyone at PVR despite repeated attempts.

“Why should they comment? Kis mooh se kuch bolenge? PVR is no longer interested in releasing Ritesh Batra’s The Sense Of An Ending. It is seen as too British for Indian tastes, even if a globally acclaimed Indian director has directed it. Aesthetic and critically acclaimed Hollywood films don’t do well in India. The Oscar-winning Moonlight was a flop in India. With The Fast & The Furious 8 and Baahubali 2 ruling the box office this summer season, PVR is not interested in investing money in a brooding introspective British film about an autumnal hero’s introspection,” says an informed source.

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