Cast: Amit Sadh, Ronit Roy, Deeksha Seth
Director: Mohit Jha
A former football player, who lost out on the biggest opportunity of his life due to an injury, now has the dream of making his son the nation’s greatest athlete. The son, on the other hand, has a similar ambition but he wants to earn a lot of money to sustain his family. This leads to the age-old conflict of cultures between father and son. For the father, his dream is important and so is his loyalty towards the team he coaches. The son knows his worth and wants to get the best opportunities that he could get. However, the problem with 7 Kadam is that it gets to the point three episodes too late.
7 Kadam starts with a thrilling sequence from a football match. Amit Sadh’s character Ravi is West Bengal’s star player who is about to attempt a penalty. But we don’t get to see if he is successful yet, what we instead get is a monologue where he says that this penalty goal has much more value than just being the winning goal of the match. It can actually change his family’ future.
We are then taken back a whole year, when we see Ronit Roy as Aurobindo Pal doing menial jobs to sustain his family. When he comes back home he eats dinner in his room because he’s also gulping down a quarter of whisky. Ravi, on the other hand, is always wracked with guilt because he is unable to help his father, and he is also lying to his mother who has forbidden him from playing football. She says that the only thing that football has given their family is grief. However, both father and son have been training in secret to make Ravi a professional player.
The show basically revolves around the bond between Aurobindo and Ravi as they both set on their own journey with football. Through reverse chronology, we see the events leading up to that penalty. For a long time in the show we see them stand together as a single unit. But as Aurobindo searches for lost glory and Ravi seeks financial security, they hit a few speed bumps.
To be very clear, I find the set-up of 7 Kadam quite refreshing. Watching a dysfunctional family through the medium of sports is rare in Indian cinema. However, it is the treatment of 7 Kadam that makes it an excruciating watch.
For starters, the show is based in Kolkata so from the very beginning we get a brick-load of stereotypes. It starts off in a charming and nostalgic way but then you start listening to the characters speak. The direction given to them must be to be extra with their accents. The ‘O’s and ‘Sh’s are exaggerated to a ridiculous degree.
The most unsettling part of the show is that it is not subtle at all. Instead of showing a layered story about a father-son relationship, we see a random villain introduced in the middle. This forced revenge storyline takes the depth out of the show. Parent-child relationships can be complicated and vulnerable as is, they don’t need a greedy vengeful capitalist to come between them. The Dilwale-type intergenerational conflict takes attention from the fact that it is supposed to be a sports drama.
A good sports drama can make you forget about everything going in your life. The thrill you feel when you watch a match in a stadium, or a depiction of it in theatres is unparalleled. That’s why they always do so well. 7 Kadam needed to focus on its strength and it didn’t.
Amit Sadh and Ronit Roy do the heavy-lifting in the show. They give their best and despite the dialogues and accent problem, their efforts shine through. The women in the show are agency-less. Deeksha Seth plays a pretty yet creepy stalker-type character. For a moment it feels like her Kiran Banerjee is up to something, but soon our hopes are quashed. Other actors in the series are not utilised according to their talents.
In a nutshell, watch 7 Kadam if you are a fan or Ronit Roy or Amit Sadh. They deserve the love and appreciation.