Will the COVID-19 pandemic ever end? Not if cinema has its way. For reasons that are bemusing at best, the film and television industry seems determined to preserve the misery of the last 18 months in crystalline amber, plumbing the narrative potential of our all-too-fresh lockdowns in films as varied as hellish rom-com The End of Us (sigh) or Michael Bay extravaganza Songbird (double sigh).

The latest offering is romantic comedy 7 Days by debut director Roshan Sethi, which follows two second-generation Indian twenty-somethings Ravi (Karan Soni) and Rita (an ever luminescent Geraldine Viswanathan) who find themselves having to shelter in place together after an awkward first date arranged by their mothers. Lockdown shenanigans and emotional breakthroughs ensue, as two characters who have nothing in common – Ravi a dorky researcher whose eagerness to wife up hides a well of loneliness, Rita a quippy millennial afraid to show her true self – are forced to share the only common space they have.

Some of the jokes really land (“No mum, we didn’t talk about Modi,” Ravi sighs) but unfortunately 7 Days breaks the golden rom-com rule: that the audience should really want the leads to get together. Both Soni and Viswanathan are delightful and there are moments of striking intimacy, but it is difficult to get past a lack of chemistry and the wide chasm that exists between Rita and Ravi’s desires.

7 Days’ core fantasy is that if someone could only see you for who you are, they would love you: an aching, sweet and utterly human impulse that is sadly no foundation for a relationship, on- or off-screen. It is difficult to imagine any kind of future, or even happiness beyond the immediate pleasure of vulnerability, for Rita and Ravi. Both deserve better, and ultimately, so do we.



CAST:  Geraldine Viswanathan, Karan Soni, Mark Duplass

DIRECTOR: Roshan Sethi

WRITERS: Roshan Sethi, Karan Soni

SYNOPSIS: Two young people are forced to live with each other for a week after a first date arranged by their parents coincides with the COVID-19 lockdowns.