Review: ‘Selection Day’ fails to capture the nuances of the novel

A still from the show 'Selection Day.'(Supplied)
Updated 14 January 2019
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Review: ‘Selection Day’ fails to capture the nuances of the novel

CHENNAI: Children are often pushed into fulfilling goals that their parents themselves failed to clinch, and this is the theme of a new film by British-Indian filmmaker Udayan Prasad, who made his name with My Son the Fanatic and The Yellow Handkerchief. A Netflix original, Selection Day plots the story through six episodes in season one, with the next slated to follow in March.

Based on Booker Prize winning Arvind Adiga’s 2016 novel of the same name, Prasad’s web outing lacks the nuances and subtlety of the source material. For instance, the frequent intrusion of a Hindu deity into the visual narrative jars, as do some of the other sequences that go overboard in a series whose half a dozen episodes seem inadequate to lead the plot to the next season.

Essentially a teenage cricket drama (a sport which is unbelievably popular in India), Selection Day underlines the almost cruel discipline imposed on Manju Kumar (Mohammad Samad) and his older brother, Radha Kumar (Yash Dholye), by their father (Rajesh Tailang) to ensure that the boys get picked for the under-19 Mumbai cricket team. The father, driven by the ambition to turn his sons into stars, goes to an almost insane extent. The teenagers are uprooted from their village in central India and taken to Mumbai, their schooling is thrown into disarray and their own preferences are brushed aside. The younger son hates cricket, and is passionate about science, but the father will hear none of this, and his blind obstinacy gets him into a physical fight with a legendary coach, Tommy (Mahesh Manjrekar) – who had taken the boys under him.

Selection Day falters in the way relationships are scripted, especially between Manju and a spoilt brat, Javed Ansari (Karanvir Malhotra), but throws up first-class performances. Samad and Dholye are as impressive as the veteran Tailang, and make a striking pair both on and off the field. Selection Day works best when it focusses on the boys — the sub-plots that have been added in the web series could have been best avoided.


Jeddah's Kanz Al-Balad, Al-Ozwa Street Performance enthrall visitors

Updated 16 June 2019
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Jeddah's Kanz Al-Balad, Al-Ozwa Street Performance enthrall visitors

  • Kanz Al-Balad takes visitors on a historical journey through Jeddah’s Al-Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Al-Ozwa Street Performance is an interactive play about a young man who is preparing for his engagement ceremony

JEDDAH: The 40-day Jeddah Season festival is currently underway, with the launch of a schedule of international shows and plays being presented for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

The festival, which began on June 8 and runs until July 18, forms part of a major drive to boost tourism in the Kingdom.

Most of the festival’s events are taking place at King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah’s historical area, Al-Hamra Corniche and the Jeddah Waterfront.

Among the events is the Kanz Al-Balad scavenger hunt for families and children, with 41 shows lined up for the duration of the festival. 

Kanz Al-Balad is organized daily at Bab Jadeed from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and is aimed at helping participants learn more about Jeddah, interact with businesses, and improve their creativity and problem-solving skills.

Participants are split into teams, and are tasked with finding hidden objects or places with the help of clues.

Kanz Al-Balad takes visitors on a historical journey through Jeddah’s Al-Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For comedy and history lovers, Al-Ozwa Street Performance is a must. There are four 45-minute shows daily until the end of the festival.

The interactive play, set 100 years ago, is about a young man named Omar who is preparing for his engagement ceremony, and encounters a dilemma unrelated to his engagement.

He needs the audience’s help to get him out of the trouble he is in, and to have a problem-free engagement ceremony. Show timings are 6:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:45 p.m. and 10 p. m.

Raed Abuzinada, general supervisor of Jeddah Season, said the festival is part of a national initiative to promote the tourism sector, which is a major contributor to the Saudi economy.

Visitors buying tickets online for any of the festival’s events can secure an e-tourism visa at the same time, he added. The visa will be issued within three minutes, he said. Details are at www.sharek.com.sa.