Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tribeca with Abe: 7 Days

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections virtually from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs June 9th-20th.

7 Days
Directed by Roshan Sethi
Viewpoints – Screening Information

Many cultures facilitate arranged marriages as a way of matching up those that families believe will be good for each other. This tends to have a negative connotation since the assumption is that the betrothed have no say in who they will marry, and a chance at modern happiness may be missed in favor of the preservation of what some see as an antiquated tradition. In some cases, one member of a potential couple may be all for the existing system, while the other is absolutely not in favor of it. In drama, the result is usually miserable, but in comedy, it can be gold.

On March 20th, 2020, just as the pandemic is beginning, Ravi (Karan Soni) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) meet and go on a date set up by their parents. Ravi has a clear idea of what he wants from his future wife, and Rita seems like the perfect match. But when Ravi’s car rental gets cancelled and he’s forced to stay with Rita, he quickly discovers that she’s nothing like the perfect Indian-American woman she pretends to be. Forced to spend time together in close quarters, two initially very incompatible people slowly build a friendship that confronts their differences and embraces their similarities.

This is, like so many others, a film that takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s merely a subplot that serves as the catalytic event for these two to have no choice but to get to know each other. Many opportunities for humor about masks or protocols are avoided in favor of the truly worthwhile moments, and there’s more than enough comedy to be milked simply from the way the two of them interact with each other and the world.

Soni and Viswanathan have worked together before, playing two of the only intelligent characters on TBS’ anthology series “Miracle Workers,” and it’s great fun to see them take on completely different roles here. Their performances are purposefully subdued so that their personalities come alive, and it’s remarkably entertaining to listen to their banter. This film starts with stereotypes but doesn’t stop there, and both Ravi and Rita feel like they could really exist. Its plot could follow any number of predictable trajectories, but at every turn, the script, co-written by Soni and debut director Roshan Sethi, instead chooses to enhance its content with enticing and immensely entertaining developments. This film is funny and heartwarming, a fantastic ode to love under the unlikeliest of circumstances.


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