by Nuha Hassan
The new subgenre of “pandemic movies” are becoming more relevant than ever, and Roshan Sethi’s 7 Days is here to prove the concept is cinematic escapism. It follows the concept of traditional marriages in India using rom-com narratives while set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Written and directed by Sethi, and co-written by Karan Soni, who plays Ravi (also known for his role as Dopinder in Deadpool), the film consists of awkward first encounters and the pressure of meeting the parents’ expectations. 7 Days is a funny and emotional romantic comedy that keeps the audience entertained, and Sethi presents a fresh take on the pandemic movie with an arranged marriage at the centre of chaotic times.
The film begins with Ravi (Soni) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan), who are set up on a pre-arranged date by their Indian parents in the hopes of their children getting married. As they are sitting on an empty reservoir, they receive notifications informing them that the whole country is in lockdown because of the pandemic. Ravi has no way to get back home, so Rita reluctantly suggests he stay at her place for the time being. Since they are stuck in the same place, Ravi gets to know Rita and learns that she is the exact opposite of what was described on the matchmaking website. But as they are forced to stay in the same house together, they begin to form an unlikely bond by learning from each other.
7 Days is an exciting and triumphant romantic comedy that shows two strangers opening up to each other in the most heartwarming way possible. Of course, to someone unfamiliar with the culture of arranged marriages and pre-arranged dates, this might be a strange movie. Even Rita’s decision to let Ravi stay at his house is strange enough, but understandable because of the circumstances they are in. Their journey together from disliking each other to finding comfort in the worst of situations is heartwarming, and the narratives don’t feel overused.
In the beginning, she admits she has no intention to get married and the only reason why she goes on dates is so that her mother will keep paying her rent. Unlike her dating profile, she eats meat, drinks a lot, and is in a secret relationship with a married man. Ravi, who is the opposite of her, prefers a more conservative, traditional lifestyle and future. On the other hand, Ravi’s sheltered childhood and awkward personality make it difficult for him to find someone he wants to marry. He doesn’t like to sit still and prefers to do anything during his free time rather than relax. At one point, as Rita and Ravi sit in the living room, he starts clearing her messy house just to pass time. Both of these characters are flawed in their way, however, as the movie progresses, it shows how much Ravi and Rita need each other to become better versions of themselves.
As Rita shows Ravi how to enjoy his life instead of following rules set by his parents, she gets him drunk. This leads to an impromptu comedy sketch, which was supposed to make Rita laugh but it is very awkward. In turn, Ravi teaches Rita to cook pasta which doesn’t turn out to be successful, but he doesn’t make her feel sorry about it. They exercise together and share stories of their lives even in the most difficult of times.
7 Days is a breathtakingly fresh romantic comedy where COVID-19 is the central plot device that keeps the movie moving forward. There is incredible chemistry between Soni and Viswanathan, who recently starred in Natalie Krinsky’s The Broken Hearts Gallery, and it is a rewarding experience watching these two actors interact with each other. They are charming as romantic leads and balance each other out during funny scenes. Arranged marriages are very uncommon in the Western world, and it is refreshing to see a concept and story that celebrates the union of love in the most unexpected of places (and times). It shows the seriousness of the early days of the pandemic and how much it affects loved ones, especially how it involves the people infected with the virus. 7 Days is a light-hearted comedy that roots Rita and Ravi to be better people. It’s set in a world where everything is spinning out of control and in the end, Rita and Ravi find each other’s presence to be unbearable at last.