Lazy writing and too much melodrama sink this father-son sports drama
Rony Patra -
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Original Series Review
What is the story about?
Aurobindo Pal used to be a footballer, but an injury cut short his playing career. He now dreams of making his son Ravi a top-class player. When Aurobindo gets an opportunity to coach the Asansol XI side, he grabs it with both hands. Ravi, too, flourishes as a player in the Asansol XI team. However, financial hardships and the machinations by Aurobindo's rival Babul Banerjee result in Ravi leaving the team to play for Kolkata Bagan. Ravi's decision drives a wedge between father and son. When Asansol XI will lock horns with Kolkata Bagan in the final of the National Football League, who will win?
Yet another movie, long stuck in the cans, gets a new lease of life as a four-episode miniseries. But the recut is the only bright spot in this entire enterprise. Mohit Jha is an old hand in the world of TV serials, with shows ranging from Kareena Kareena and Saat Phere...Saloni Ka Safar to Kumkum and Kaala Teeka to his credit. Unfortunately, the same bombastic aesthetic sense that made these shows hugely popular on TV, sink his debut film, which was shot and completed in 2016. The dialogues are rife with the cartoonish bastardized Benglicized Hindi, where a question like "Shotti?" ("Really?") sounds like "Shorty". But that's not the worst part.
Sports dramas in India are still measured by how they stack up against the successful trio of Lagaan, Chak De India and M.S. Dhoni. Most of the films don't qualify as entertaining, but they make their own sincere efforts to be at least true to the sport. 7 Kadam, however, does not know what to do. Jha's writing is shockingly subpar, and, to compensate for the lack of nuance in the setting and characterization, he stuffs the series with too much melodrama. The series cannot decided if it wants to focus on football or on the father-son story. Amazingly, there are hardly any technical sequences related to football. I get that OTT platforms are always on the lookout for content, but this is an apology of a show.
Three performers stand out in the entire cast. Ronit Bose Roycould have played the character of the angsty, alcoholic Aurobindo Pal even in his sleep, but the actor still manages to shine in spite of the shoddy material he's given to work with. Physically demanding roles are Amit Sadh's forte, and he is really earnest as Ravi. I liked Rohini Banerjee's portrayal of Ravi's mother, as there is something very sincere about it. The rest of the cast are just middling.
Music & Other Departments
Lyton's background score is infuriatingly over-the-top. Dannie's cinematography is all right, but one wishes there was more life in the football sequences in the series. The music by Harshit Saxena and Raajiv Mitra is all right, but it sometimes plays spoilsport with the dramatic scenes.
The lazy writing, the cliched stereotypes about people living in Bengal and so on.
Did I enjoy it?
No. I wanted there to be a semblance of a gripping sports drama, but there's none whatsoever.
Do I recommend it?
No. Honestly, there are better projects with Ronit Bose Roy and Amit Sadh which you can watch.