Romantic comedies have an unfortunate stigma and are all too easily overlooked as being ‘chick flock' fodder or written off for being too sentimental. Sometimes the romantic comedy genre is given a darker, sadder approach and misses the mark completely. 7 Days managers to hit somewhere in between with its charm, predictable beats and all too familiar setting. But it does have two quirky hearts in the form of Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan.
After a pre-arranged meeting set up by their parents, Ravi and Rita have a very awkward first and what looks to be the last date. However, after Ravi cannot get home due to restrictions during the pandemic, he and Rita are forced to stay together during lockdown. Day by day, they get to know each other better, stripping away the lies they tell themselves and becoming closer than they anticipated.
Some might say that setting a film during lockdown and the pandemic would be too soon, but there is sure to be an influx of stories that filter through in the years to come, so why not now. Being forced to stay together, through legitimate reasons, too, is one way to either becomes closer to someone or eventually want to eject them from your sight. Ravi and Rita each come with their own baggage, which is slowly unpacked throughout the film.
On the surface, it seems that Rita is the one with the most chaotic life, especially as it is immediately obvious, she lied on the dating site as soon as the two are stuck together. Being an unemployed artist, forced into these dates by her mother, having an affair with a married man, her home an absolute mess, her issues are all on the surface at first. But it's Ravi who is the one with the most to consider in his life. So set on having a stereotypical married life where everything goes according to plan and being very close to his mother, he has blind-sighted himself into thinking this is what he wants. He is the romantic of the duo, but his idea of romantic love is extremely rose-tinted. Rita is the bolt of lightning he needed.
The film doesn't answer any big questions, and thankfully there are no grand gestures; it's not that kind of genre film, but the story does lose pace when Rita is moved away from the main action. It is necessary for the story and in keeping with the real-life situation that Ravi is left alone, reduced to interacting with people on the phone or video calls. Still, the dynamic of Rita and Ravi together is what worked so perfectly. Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan have fantastic chemistry and bounce off of each other so well, keeping us entertained and enthralled throughout when they are on screen together.
By no means is the film and story groundbreaking, but it does shake up the tired romantic comedy genre with genuine laughs and equal part heartfelt moments.
7 Days was screened at BFI London Film Festival 6 -17 October