Notes on Seven – a web series by Anjan Dutt




I discovered Anjan Dutt at first as an actor and later as a filmmaker. At that time, I was totally unaware that he is as well a famous singer and songwriter and stage actor. More recently he created some web series, Murder in the Hills, Murder by the Sea, Danny Detective Inc. (based on his own detective stories) and finally his newest web series Seven (available at the streaming platform zee5).



The opening of Seven looks really like a crime thriller. Two drug dealers are supposed to exchange drugs and money. Each of them wants to cheat and they kill each other. By accident a car full of five tourists passes by and one of them takes in his cockiness the bag full of money. But after this spectacular thriller-like opening the series turns more and more into a kaleidoscopic portrait of first five and later even 7 characters, their greed, their discontent and their dysfunctional relationships. Beside these seven characters this wild and thin populated landscape where the wildness of the environment is scarcely punctuated by signs of civilization like buildings and more or less insufficient roads. It becomes almost another protagonist. This mighty landscape between jungle and hills includes not only the manmade roads and paths, but a jungle behind where people can be lost forever and slopes where a body once dropped will never be found.


Even though the initiation point of the series is a quite spectacular thriller moment which turns into a sharp portrait of human behavior, it has an important function, to keep our attention and the suspense permanently awake. The criminal element is rather what Hitchcock called a MacGuffin.


Since Bow Barracks Forever (2004) Anjan Dutt introduced his very special talent to work with ensembles of actors, an ability he perfected in films like this unsung gem Aami Ashbo Phirey. In Seven, each individual story and each personality appears for a moment in the center and later vanishes in the interactions between the characters. The nervous energy in which the actors reveal the tensions, aggressions or even their neuroses of their characters reminds me in such different films like Satyajit Ray´s Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) but also Husbands by John Cassavetes. Actors and actresses like Rahul Bannerjee, Gaurav Chakrabarty, Ridhima Ghosh, Suprobhat Das, Ankita Chakraborty or Anjan Dutt – John Cassavetes would have fall in love with each one of them.

The variety of human emotions is very high between the protagonists. Tensions, jealousy, greed mistrust and senses of inferiority – a whole kaleidoscope of the inner life of ordinary people from the urban middle class who came for a holiday and become more and more caught into a nightmarish situation. The moment they found the bag of money they react on like what Chabrol called “a stone thrown into a quite stretch of water”. It is also a series of decisions. What to do with the money, to bring it to the police (who could be corrupt) to share it between them? Each next decision can be fatal. And before they finally get a consent, two other characters get to know about the money. The entanglement becomes unmanageable. A way out of this seems far out of sight.


The art of Anjan Dutt´s storytelling is very subtle. The opening appears as a push, the story needs. After that the narrative flow seems to move on its own. In visual storytelling one works with both, the things who are already present and the fiction, the invented story. The presence of the landscape alone in its wild beauty (which reminds me a bit in the French Provence near the Luberon) is impressing enough to tell its own story. And it is engrossing enough to imagine an ideal environment for a magic fairy tale because only the man-made buildings and streets, the cars and the people reprove an exact datable time. The story about this seven people is a very modern contemporary story but it also gives an idea about the fascination of storytelling which accompanied our specie since the very first campfire. Anjan Dutt´s art of visual story telling results from a razor sharp awareness of how and when the natural things which are already present and how and when the invention, the fiction comes or should come in. We might me captivated by the drama between the protagonists but when we remember this series, we will always remember the landscape and its unsolved mysteries.

Seven is entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.


Rüdiger Tomczak


link to Seven