Sadhya, which is mostly attributed to the festival Onam globally but is otherwise a regular fixture in almost all events and ceremonies in Kerala, when served in its true form and devoured passionately as a true Malayali is expected to, can leave you bloated and intoxicated even, when you haven’t concluded it as it should be. If you have been to one of these elaborate sessions, you must have come across people going around with a serving of spiced buttermilk towards the end. This has in fact been immortalised in the minds of Malayalis across the globe by actor Innocent and the whole idea is that the buttermilk serving is supposed to work as an antidote to wave off the intoxicating effect of the feast, especically the penultimate serving of paayasam, the sweetened porridge of sorts. Now if your’e wondering what in the name of Mahabali’s belly does this have to do with Seven Seconds, the show that debuted on Netflix few weeks back, it’s the most fitting analogy that I could come up with to convey the kind of effect, watching the show close on the heels of Black Panther, could have on a viewer. Seven Seconds is the dose of buttermilk to wave off the sway of Black Panther and jolt you back to reality.
Veena Sud, the creator of the show specialises in remaking and transplanting foreign shows to the American heartland for the benefit of the English speaking audience. She did it in the past with The Killing, the Danish show and this time around she has found the perfect cultural setting for the Russian movie The Major in Jersey City. The show is a police procedural, a courtroom drama, a crime thriller and social commentary at the same time.Seven Seconds does not hide the fact that it draws inspiration from the #blacklivesmatter campaign and features direct references to the events in Ferguson and New York. This is one show that is not afraid to take sides and call a spade, a spade. It shows you how ordinary people struggle with personal loss and how it wreaks havoc in their lives.While they demand answers and asks questions too, they are not always the same ones that the crowd of protestors ask.Everyone is a victim here of the choices they make, some more than the others, justice is elusive and penance is not an option, as in real life.
The show rides on some of the most powerful and compelling performances in recent times by a group of talented actors. Regina King and Russel Hornsby play parents to a slain kid with an honesty and depth that leaves you no choice but to empathise with the characters. Clare-Hope Ashitey plays the troubled prosecutor and keeping her company in the hunt to nail the bad guys is Michael Mosley whose cop character and portrayal is an oasis of sorts for the viewer in a story that’s otherwise grim and bleak to the core. The most complex character of the lot, that of the cop who is torn between his own past, his integrity, the crime that he commited and the decision that changes his life forever taken under the compulsion of his corrupt colleagues, is played by Beau Knapp. Though it starts off slow to a brooding pace, the series makes up for it the later episodes and takes the tone of a thriller almost, that would make Grisham proud.There are a few successful attempts to break steterotypes and avoid cliches. All things said, this is one show that chooses to stick to ground realities and offers little or no closure to the viewers and the charcters in the end, much akin to the world that we live in.