Home Written work 7 Days is a pandemic romantic comedy about Covid, written by a doctor

7 Days is a pandemic romantic comedy about Covid, written by a doctor

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When he’s not winning the Indie Spirit Awards for Best First Feature, Roshan Sethi tours one of the country’s top hospitals.

Most pandemic movies haven’t directly addressed the actual disease of COVID-19, but most movies aren’t written and directed by real doctors. Over the past two years, independent filmmakers have risen to the challenges presented by smaller crews and daily testing, producing inventive versions of distance learning like “Language Lessons” or provocative live-action thrillers like “Deadstream.” and “Dashcam”.

But few have managed to show a character suffering from the effects of COVID, let alone in a romantic comedy. Shot in one location with a cast of two and set during the first week of the pandemic, “7 Days” is a snappy, rambling romantic comedy that doesn’t shy away from the human cost of COVID.

That’s all down to director and co-writer Roshan Sethi, who moonlights as an oncologist at one of the nation’s top hospitals for nine weeks a year.

“It was really important to me at the time that we didn’t look away,” Sethi said. “It was happening, and making a piece of art that pretended that what was happening and affecting all of us wasn’t happening was really difficult. … So we took a very natural global force that we were all facing and reflected how it would specifically affect these two people.

A first-time director and successful television screenwriter, Sethi pursued Hollywood with the same intensity that took him from Harvard Medical School to his current position as a radiation oncologist at the prestigious Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He began his screenwriting career as a medical consultant, quickly rising through the ranks to co-create and EP “The Resident,” now in its fifth season on Fox. In medicine and cinema, the scammers will hustle.

“7 days”

Cinedigme

“I came out very late in life when I was 30, or what felt like very late in life,” Sethi said. “Honestly, I think the reason I have two careers and so much ambition, too much ambition for one person, is because I’m gay. Because I felt so broken and unworthy ever since my younger age. I was never satisfied with what I did no matter what I achieved because of the fundamental problem I had which was that I didn’t have made me come out.

Shortly after his release, he met his partner and “7 Days” co-writer, actor Karan Soni. A likeable and familiar character actor, Soni has racked up a range of credits over the past few decades, spanning everything from cult indies like “Safety Not Guaranteed” to the TBS anthology series “Miracle Workers” to hits. massive studio releases like “Deadpool” and “The Office Christmas Party. With encouragement from her partner, Soni felt confident to pursue writing for the first time.

Soni brings an endearing nerd charisma as the film’s protagonist, Ravi, a protected teetotaler who hopes to marry a nice Indian girl to make his mother happy. Too serious for his own good, Ravi’s traditional worldview is suddenly challenged by Geraldine Viswanathan’s Rita, a free spirit who only agrees to the date to get his mother off his back (and pay his rent). . The title refers to both the time most arranged married couples have to get to know each other and the time strangers find themselves unexpectedly quarantined together. Following its premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, the film won Best First Feature at the 37th Independent Spirit Awards.

Soni notes that he often benefited from “colorblind casting” throughout his acting career and relished the chance to play an Indian character written by an Indian.

“I really wanted to tell a more Indian story,” the actor said. “I can improvise a lot in the things that I do, but I was never able to improvise my Indian experience. Because it wasn’t a niche in this film, I felt like I could use a lot of things that I had never used, and I was really excited to tell a story from that perspective.

Due to Sethi’s schedule at the hospital, the couple often operate long-distance stretches at a time. The film’s unusual circumstances were obviously inspired by the pandemic, but also speak to their experience as well as the experience of their parents.

7 days

Karan Soni and Roshan Sethi on the set of “7 Days”

Cinedigm/Cardenas

“We’re both from an arranged marriage, so that’s always been on our minds,” Sethi said. “And then ‘Love Is Blind’ had just come out. And we were thinking about what it’s like to fall in love with someone without seeing them, to talk through walls, to share things you wouldn’t otherwise share when you’re not personally and physically with the person. And then we thought about our own relationship and the fact that we were doing long distance.

Shot on a shoestring budget, “7 Days” transformed the constraints of the pandemic into a unique premise that shakes up the traditional romantic comedy while staying true to its roots. It’s a tender and funny depiction of a strange couple who let their guard down long enough to let love in. Although the central couple are straight, the intimacy they share is informed by the love of the partners behind the scenes.

“As our love progressed, I became interested in writing about love. And this film kind of grew out of our relationship and the things that we went through as a couple,” Sethi said. “After I came out, I experienced a truly incredible softening of my personality. Falling in love with Karan showed me that I can be a tender and generous person and that my life doesn’t have to be as preoccupied with ambition as I have. So now I’m the coldest I’ve ever been.

“Which is always – he has four jobs, but yeah,” Soni added.

“7 Days” is in select theaters now.

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