A romantic dramedy that uses the 2020 worldwide pandemic for its launching point is apparently going to be something we see quite often. Whether it’s Language Lessons, The End or Us, Songbird, or Locked Down, the fruitful new cinematic ‘COVID romance’ options are growing by the day. Enter: 7 Days. When a wonky pre-arranged date from their traditional Indian parents is forced into an extended stay thanks to the sudden emergence of the pandemic and ‘shelter in place’ orders, Ravi (Karan Soni) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) must learn to live with each other. The two are completely opposite personality types, and sparks are not immediate. He works as a researcher at a local university with zero hobbies by choice because “he loves his job so much”; she is a laid-back rule breaker whose motto is “doing nothing” because “the less you do, the less you do.”
The forced friendship birthed from their circumstances borders on unbelievable, but when do you ever watch these types of films for realism? 7 Days feels more like it should have taken place over 7 weeks. The adorable relationship between Ravi and Rita is what makes this such a charming delight. Ravi gets awkward and sensitive about anything sexual, so when he overhears Rita on a phone call telling a prospective partner “I want your cock,” he is fully caught off guard. Rita helps to bring Ravi out of his sheltered shell. He longs to try stand-up comedy, so they jump the gun—he relates his mother’s unspoken divorce to Jon Snow’s resurrection in Game of Thrones. After insisting his family grew up on Bollywood movies only (no Hollywood!), the duo get plastered while blasting banging Indian tunes. Rita struggles with the frustrations of being unable to see her unavailable hookup or travel anywhere without a mask. Ravi changes her as well, helping her to see the importance of structure and motivation.
7 days is light, fluffy, and more or less exactly what you’d expect. It is predictable by design, and one can sense the direction it will take well before it arrives at the final destination. A development in the final act attempts to up the stakes. It is a cute and frothy film that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Through the specificity of Indian culture, it comments on arranged dating, the pressures of pleasing your family, and coping with the social limitations of a worldwide pandemic. Director Roshan Sethi, who also wrote the screenplay with lead actor Karan Soni, adds personal touches of unique storytelling and quippy dialogue to this charming little dramedy.
7 Days screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, June 10th, 2021.