Updated: December 28, 2018 10:32:11 pm
The story of an ambitious parent pushing their child into something that they don’t want to do is not new. Sometimes it takes the form of Dangal, where the pushy parent is seen as inspirational, on other occasions, it is seen as a violation of human rights where the child is given no freedom of choice.
Selection Day falls under the latter category. Based on the book of the same name by Aravind Adiga and adapted for the screen by Marston Bloom, Selection Day is a six-episode series by Netflix.
The show opens in a small town of Madhya Pradesh where two brothers are hitting balls out of the stadium effortlessly. Even before we learn their names, we know their father Mohan (Rajesh Tailang) calls them Champion No 1 and Champion No 2, and not just on the field.
On screen and off screen too, we have all seen parents who leave no stone unturned when it comes to shoving their dreams down their kid’s throat. Mohan has gone a step ahead. He married a hockey player just so he could have healthy boys who could become world-class cricketers.
Champion No 1, Radha, played by Yash Dhoyle, loves cricket. He might not agree with his father’s every action but chooses to follow him nevertheless. Manju, Champion No 2, played by Mohammad Samad, leads this show with constant fear in his eyes. He has the capacity to think about a rebellion but does not have the courage to do so. An ace player, he wants to become a scientist. Even before the story tells us to pay attention to the boy, Mohammad Samad screen presence catches our attention.
As the show moves to Mumbai, various new storylines are introduced. There’s a track about an ex-coach (Mahesh Manjrekar) who has given up on cricket, which is a reminder of Iqbal. Another track about a land deal for an old cricket ground has Akshay Oberoi meeting with some suits. Director Udayan Prasad shuttles between all tracks but the one with Akshay Oberoi impresses the least. There is also a sub-plot where Manju has conversations with God (Shiv Pandit) dressed like a hippie, which looks very out of place. Their scenes leave you wondering if there was some subtext that existed but there isn’t any resolution.
As far as the performances are concerned, the show looks aptly cast, especially with Mohammad Samad’s Manju and Mahesh Manjrekar’s Tommy Sir. Ratna Pathak Shah appears as a marijuana smoking woman who talks to her dead husband’s bust.
Two episodes in, the series isn’t particularly binge-worthy as far as the story or cliffhangers are concerned but the ease with which the episodes flow, sticks. With nothing to do during the holidays, six-episodes of Selection Day aren’t going to hurt.
The Indian web series space is surely on the rise but, it doesn’t look like Selection Day is adding anything great to the mix.
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