Kolkata has never been an easy arena to interpret. The people there are more than just shots of Howrah Bridge, football stadiums, trams, yellow taxis and bhnarer cha (tea served in clay cups). It is not an audience you win over with mere visuals, rather it is more about mind over matter. Something director Mohit Jha did not realise while shooting his four-episode mini-series 7 Kadam.
The first thing that turns you off in 7 Kadam is the language that the characters use. Have you ever heard our former President Pranab Mukherjee talk in Hindi? Or more recently, have you heard Mamata Banerjee take on the BJP with her anti-establishment chants in Hindi? The dialect was probably inspired by the lingo made popular by these two infamous politicians from Bengal. However, no one seems to have realised that in terms of lingo, the duo are extremely bad examples to follow. Not all Bengalis talk in Hindi the way these two do!
The story revolves around a former footballer Aurobindo Pal (Ronit Roy) who hurt his leg after a fracture and had to give up a promising career in football and opt for more menial jobs to sustain his family. He even changed cities and started living in Assansol, a few hours train journey from Calcutta. His son Ravi (Amit Sadh), who he trains secretly to be a footballer without the knowledge of his wife, is stuck between his father’s ideologies and his mother’s emotional atyachaar.
Though Amit and Ronit try their best to salvage the already sinking ship, Deeksha Seth who plays Amit’s stalker-turned-girlfriend Kiran seems all the more determined to kill your already wavering attention. One wonders why someone would let a stalker take enormous leeway into one’s life. Kiran gives out more chewing gum and less of soul mate ones.
What is expected to take centerstage here is the game of football. Though the plot revolves around the game, the technicalities are definitely out of place. The director has tried to tap the emotion riding on the game rather than focus on the lack of infrastructure and corresponding areas that need focus and development.
Hundreds of sportspersons in Bengal and outside suffer from poverty and neglect, just because the government has no policy in place for such players once they retire. Others are riddled with injuries which force them to bow out, only because fitness is not a way of life with so many of our sportsmen. Also, sports administration in India needs a thorough revival, something the series chooses to ignore completely!
Now that the Indian audience is used to watching sports dramas, even the international ones, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fool them with sub-standard plots. Though the core here is a dysfunctional family torn between life and livelihood, 7 Kadam is a big let-down! It could have been a lot more, the ingredients were all there. Yet, it turned out to be a mere mash up of unnecessary twists and turns.
Title (Web series): 7 Kadam
Cast: Ronit Roy, Amit Sadh, Deeksha Seth
Director: Mohit Jha
Streaming on: Eros Now
Rating: 1.5 stars