Ritesh Batra (born June 12, 1979) is a BAFTA awards (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nominated writer director. Ritesh is widely known for his debut feature film The Lunchbox starring Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 and won Rail d’Or (Grand Golden Rail). Ritesh also won Toronto Film Critics Association Award for best First Feature Film in 2014. The Lunchbox has been credited with highest grossing foreign film in America, Europe and Australia for the year of 2014 grossing over 25 Million USD/ 180 Crore INR.
He is directing an english language film The Sense of an Ending, starring Jim Broadbent(Academy Award Winner). The film is an adaptation of Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending.
Early life and background
Ritesh grew up in a middle-class family in Mumbai, India. His father Joginder Batra, worked in the Merchant Navy of India and his mother Manju Kapoor Batra, is a house wife. Ritesh completed his high school from AVM High School in Mumbai and later went to United States of America to complete his higher studies. Ritesh worked as a consultant at Delloitte after graduating from Drake University, Iowa in Economics. But after three years of working he went back to school to chase his childhood dream of filmmaking. He attended New York University but dropped out of the film school.
He began his filmmaking career by writing and directing shorts. His Arab language short Café Regular, Cairo, screened at over 40 international film festivals and won over 12 awards including Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) Best Film at International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and Best Film at German Star of India. Ritesh was part of the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors lab with his project “Story of Ram” in 2009. Where he won Time Warner Story Telling Fellow at Sundance Film Festival and Annenberg Fellow at Sundance Film Academy. In 2011 Ritesh came to India to make a documentary on the lunchbox delivery system in Mumbai. It was this little venture of Ritesh which conceptualized his first feature film “The Lunchbox”.
The Lunchbox premiered at the Cannes Critics Week 2013 and won Rail d’Or (Grand Golden Rail). At Cannes the movie prompted a bidding war. Sony Pictures Classic acquired the North American rights of the film. The Lunchbox has been nominated for 33 Awards and won 25 so far. In 2014, He founded his own production company PoeticLicense Motion Pictures and currently developing a slate of films.
Filmography as director
|2008||The Morning Ritual||Short Film|
|2010||Gareeb Nawaz's Taxi||Short Film|
|2011||Café Regular Cairo||Short Film|
|2013||The Lunchbox||Feature Film|
|2015||Sense of an Ending||Feature Film|
- Time Warner Storytelling Fellow - Sundance Film Festival
- Annerburg Fellow - Sundance Film Institute
THE LUNCHBOX, 2013
- (Nominated) “Film not in the English Language” - BAFTA 2015
- Rail d’Or (Grand Golden Rail) - Cannes Film Festival
- Best First Feature - Toronto Film Critics Association Award
- Best Director Award - Odessa International Film Festival
- Church of Iceland Award - Reykjavik International Film Festival
- Best Screenplay - 7th Asia Pacific Screen Awards
- Best Screenplay - Asian Film Academy
- Best Screenplay - Asia Pacific Film Festival
- Jury Grand Prize - 7th Asia Pacific Screen Awards
- Muhr AsiaAfrica Special Mention - Dubai International Film Festival
- Best Film - Amazonas Film Festival, Brazil
- Canvas Audience Award - Ghent International Film Festival, Belgium
- Audience Award - World Cinema Amsterdam
- Best Director - International Festival Young Filmmakers of Saint-Jean-de-Luz
- Audience Award - Belfast Film Festival, UK
- Best Feature Film - Zagreb Golden Pram Award
CAFE REGUALAR CAIRO, 2011
- Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) Best Film - International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
- Jury Special Mention - Tribeca Film Festival
- Jury Special Mention - Chicago International Film Festival
- Best Short Film - The Warp
- Best Short Film - German Star of India
- Clipagem Trophy - Kinoforum - Brazil