Selection Day -- A Clichéd Rags to Riches Story Gone Terribly Wrong

By Ritika Tiwari | Published on 10 June 2019

Inspired by Aravind Adiga’s novel of the same name, Selection Day is a story about an ambitious, tyrannical and abusive father Mohan (Rajesh Tailang) pushing his two sons Radha (Yash Dholye) and Manju (Mohammad Samad) to fulfill his own dreams and aspirations, without even giving them a choice to discover or pursue what they truly want to do.

Selection Day Web Series Poster

With Mumbai as the backdrop, viewers follow the story of Manju and Radha, who come from a small village in Madhya Pradesh and have been conditioned by their father to become the top batsmen of Mumbai’s under-19 cricket team. Radha truly aspires to be a cricketing legend, however, the younger brother Manju doesn’t like cricket and wishes to be a scientist instead. He discusses his troubles and passions with a hippie, English-speaking manifestation of the Hindu god Subramanyam (Shiv Pandit).

Selection Day Netflix Series Review

While Selection Day is the story of the two brothers, there are two major subplots that play an instrumental role in deciding the boys’ futures. The first subplot revolves around a pot-smoking headmistress Nellie (Ratna Pathak Shah) trying to save her broke school. Anand Mehta (Akshay Oberoi), an incompetent real estate investor with questionable allegiances, offers to solve her money problems by buying her abandoned cricket field.

The second sub-plot follows Nellie’s former glorious cricket coach turned art teacher Tommy Sir (Mahesh Manjrekar), who has sworn off cricket due to tragic events of his past. However, at a popular cricket playground in Mumbai, he sees the young brothers Radha and Manju playing against other aspiring cricketers and instantly realises their potential of becoming legendary batsmen.

Though Selection Day gets off to a good start, it quickly loses track and speeds through the rest of their storylines haphazardly, trying too many things at once. Mohan seems to be a silly character that just isn’t scary as the authoritarian father.

Tommy Sir’s backstory seems rushed and clichéd. The love story between the school bully and captain of the cricket team Javed (Karanvir Malhotra) and Manju -- that could have been intriguing -- appears to be forced and unnecessary. The series also fails to explore the various facets of Mumbai and its impact on the characters.

Even with powerful performances by Samad, Malhotra, Manjrekar and Oberoi, Selection Day utterly fails in making us care about any of the characters. It’s a total dud of a series that completely wastes a powerful narrative and ends up being just another forgettable Netflix original.


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