Netflix’s latest Indian Original Selection Day feels like a real missed opportunity. Despite a promising idea and some interesting plot developments, this Indian Original lacks the depth needed to help it live up to its potential. While thematically the series does well to tie in ideas around sacrifice, familial pressures and teamwork, the short episode length and unresolved ending make for quite the unsatisfying watch. Given the insane popularity of cricket in India, the rags-to-riches story at the heart of this show gets off to a good start before meandering into meaningless subplots and questionable character plots.
The story begins with some on-screen text, explaining about the nature of cricket and the importance of Selection Day. This hallowed event sees 3 individuals around India picked to play professionally among thousands of hopefuls, with the promise of seeing their life changed forever. Trained from birth by their over-protective, strict Father, brothers Radha and Manju follow their Father’s dream of breaking into the elite circle of cricket.
Along the way Manju finds himself talking to the ghost of a God and deliberating over his future, torn between engineering and continuing with cricket. Radha continues to impress in the sport he was destined to play and late on tries to bat without his brother. A separate subplot involving a businessman and investments ties into the narrative too and becomes more prominent late on. It’s all very busy from a narrative perspective but none of these stories are really fleshed out enough to make them worth exploring.
While Manju and Radha do well in their respective roles as opposing Brothers, the idea of their conflicting futures is never explored as thoroughly as it could be. Whether this will change in a future season is up for debate but what we’re left with here is an enthused Radha taking his glory in stride and Manju just swept along for the ride. There’s no brotherly conflict, no real antagonistic obstacles for the kids to overcome, except for their Dad’s overbearing influence, and nothing in the way of substantial drama to help the show stand out.
Some of the issues inherent with the show can be attributed to the short episode length which never really helps Selection Day settle into its stride. It’s all very lackadaisical and some of the more dramatic moments, like their Father squaring up against the coach and being kicked out of his apartment, are never given the time needed to really let these moments blossom and hit those dramatic peaks.
This lack of fleshed out narrative is really the biggest downfall for Selection Day. There are some nice ideas and themes here but they’re lost behind the agonizingly short run time and a narrative that can’t quite decide what it wants to do. With more episodes and a little more time dedicated to the two brothers and their relationship together, Selection Day could be a surefire winner. As it stands though, Selection Day is a disappointing run and fails to come out swinging.
Verdict - 4/10