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How Rom-Com 7 Days Sheds Light On Real Indian Arranged Marriages And Immigrant Experiences

The prolific rom-com genre may have worn out some long-standing tropes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more untold stories within the genre to be told to freshen it up. In 7 Days, Geraldine Viswanathan’s Rita and Karan Soni’s Ravi find themselves on a terribly awkward first date set up by their parents via an Indian dating site on the same day that the world shut down due to COVID-19. Due to the circumstances, the pair of strangers end up spending a week together in quarantine. 7 Days injects comedy into a number of poignant topics, which CinemaBlend discussed with the filmmakers. 

7 Days was co-written by Soni alongside director and real-life physician Roshan Sethi, who also co-created the Fox series, The Resident. When I spoke to the filmmakers, Sethi shared the backstory of their romantic comedy with these words: 

We’ve been dating now for three and a half years but were in a long distance relationship when this movie was created. We wrote this while on different coasts. I was working in the hospital and [Karan] was in L.A. in quarantine more or less because his show had been pushed due to COVID. We were definitely drawing on how we felt and then many couples at the time.

The movie features Soni’s Ravi, who is a more straight-laced traditionalist who is ready to get married and have children, whereas his prolonged date Viswanathan’s Rita is a closet drinker who only entertains her mom’s plans to set her up with a husband to keep the peace. At the start of the film, 7 Days features actual Indian couples who got arranged marriages. Sethi shared the decision behind this: 

Initially we conceived it as copying When Harry Met Sally, which has interviews with couples throughout that are scripted and then performed by actors and we were going to do the exact same thing, but with Indians, but then we decided instead to interview our family members. One of the couples are Karan’s parents and the others are aunts, uncles, cousins – people with the exception of one couple, related to us. And we decided to do a different structure than When Harry Met Sally. Instead of sprinkling them throughout the movie, we have them bookending the movie. We decided on that structure just because it felt more emotional to see them to describe the ways in which they met each other, which seem honestly preposterous. Thirty minutes before they got married in one case and then at the end seeing how they built an entire lifetime from what seems like an unstable foundation for a relationship.

Karan Soni shared with CinemaBlend that the dynamic was inspired his own with Sethi as a couple, with the Deadpool actor being more of the traditionalist, but as comedies go, 7 Days heightens everything. The story certainly sheds light on immigrant experiences, which Sethi commented on as well: 

[Talking about the immigrant experience] was definitely on our minds, constantly negotiating the lifes we have. Karan was born and raised in India. I grew up Indian as the child of immigrants in Canada and then America. So we’ve been feeling the balance of tradition and progress for our entire lives in all the stuff we do.

7 Days touches on the struggle of this balancing act and Rita and Ravi grow closer in quarantine despite being so different on the surface level. Karan Soni shared his own experience with these words: 

My parents had an arranged marriage, which is so normal in India and then when I came to America, I always found people like ‘Oh my gosh, are you ok?’ They are like ‘Is your mother trapped in a prison somewhere?’ So it’s always so bizarre to me because it has not been explored in Hollywood. So it was just an exciting opportunity for us to explore this because it has not been given the screen time and a story like this and especially the couples [at the beginning and end of 7 Days] help with that because you’re seeing real life people tell their story of this experience vs seeing it from a western point of view depicted in a certain way. So we never say one is right or wrong, we just feel like one got a lot more screen time then the other, so we wanted to tell the story of the other side.

7 Days is clearly a personal story to Karan Soni and Roshan Sethi, who wrote the script during the summer of 2020 when they were starved for a creative outlet. With support from the Duplass Brothers, the movie was shot in eight days. The movie reteams Miracle Workers costars Geraldine Viswanathan and Karan Soni, who worked together on three seasons of the comedy show alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi. 

The movie won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature for director Roshan Sethi. 7 Days is now playing in theaters (opens in new tab). Check out what other upcoming 2022 movies are on the way and for more from our interview, check out what Soni said about returning for Deadpool 3 here on CinemaBlend. 

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