The Trial Review
The Trial Review ( Photo Credit – Instagram )

The Trial Review: Star Rating:

Cast: Kajol, Jisshu Sengupta, Kubbra Sait, Sheeba Chaddha, Aamir Ali, Gaurav Pandey, and ensemble.

Creator: Suparn Varma.

Director: Suparn Varma.

Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar

Language: Hindi (with subtitles).

Runtime: 8 Episodes, Around 45 Minutes Each.

The Trial Review ( Photo Credit – YouTube )

The Trial Review: What’s It About:

A housewife is forced to join back her job as a lawyer and take care of her world after her husband is accused of corruption and is also involved in a s*x scandal. How she navigates her way through the hard times makes the show.

The Trial Review: What Works:

Majority of us Indian audience were introduced to the deep dive that The Good Wife offered when the show was wrapping up its final run around 2016 in The US. Which meant we were watching a show that kick-started almost a decade before that and presented the life of an ordinary woman fighting the odds in an engrossing structure. When almost another decade later of the finale season, an Indian filmmaker decided to adapt it with the cult status it now enjoys, and cast one of the most prominent names of the Hindi cinema, is the decision well thought out and calculated enough?

The Trial: Pyaar Kaanoon Dhoka, created by Suparn Varma, doesn’t waste its time in establishing an ideal woman to lead the camp first. It instead captures her right at the most shattering moment of her entire life. What she decides to do at that moment, and many more to follow is what makes her the ‘Good Wife’. And the decision to start exactly at this point establishes that the creator is confident about his actors and the content. From here begins the journey of a woman who has to now navigate a life not just through financial hardships, but even the embarrassment of being her husband’s wife.

The Trial, in the writing handled by Abbas Dalal, Hussain Dalal, and Siddharth Kumar, captures the secondhand embarrassment forced on Kajol’s Noyonika very well. The embarrassment given by her unapologetic creepy husband, the embarrassment that comes with re-joining work post a decade and being called a junior, the embarrassment of her past relationships, the judgement, and so on. The baggage is heavy, and the men around her only make it heavier. When a colleague is quick to point out that her kids are in a very posh school for someone who is facing an economic crunch, or how she is a product of nepotism wooing the boss, he embodies the gaze of society towards her. A clever move.

Special mentions to whoever thought of right showing a lawyer walks in with her baby in a cradle to a hearing. Much needed conversation.

The Trial Review ( Photo Credit – YouTube )

The Trial Review: Star Performance:

Kajol is an actor who knows what works for her and what she can ace. Decades in front of the camera has taught her that. But does that necessarily work for the show as well? She is brilliant when she has to reflect confidence and take down egoistic people, but in the scenes where she has to be emotionally vulnerable and broken, her defence mechanism is the scream. That does work in some places but not all. The fact that even the script only allows her to do much restricts her even more.

Jisshu Sengupta as the husband, is a stereotype of the unapologetic, wasted, toxic husbands who don’t deserve to be brought back. But just like all the other heroines, Noyonika brings him back. Even he isn’t explored well. Regarding exploring parts, Sheeba Chaddha wasn’t underutilized so much in the longest time, and the show does nothing with such a seasoned performer. Her curled hair is more detailed than the world around her. In one scene, she is throwing shade at Noyonika, and the last confesses that she is now fond of her. Done.

Also, what exactly is Aseem Hattangady’s part? Yes, he plays Jisshu’s best friend, but why does he look like a fantasy character with superpowers and Doraemon’s Any Where Door? He is literally everywhere doing everything with no possible explanation. It almost felt like he is a ghost spirit helping Noyonika.

The Trial Review: What Doesn’t Work:

The structure of The Trial is a huge problem. It’s more of a new episode, new case format where a main track of Noyonika and her personal life keeps running, with new cases popping up every now and then. The problem here is that the CID level of treatment doesn’t let us connect to anything, as it keeps running on the fast track. Instead, it doesn’t even allow us to breathe with Noyonika and let her have her moment of silence in the chaos. Alicia, played by Julianna Margulies in the original US show, amid the chaos, had her time to process it all and make a gateway for the audience to enter her mind and eventually her situation. There is no pause for Noyonika where she can just be and let the world sink in.

The adaptation starring Kajol ends up looking too surface-level just because of that. Because no character ever gets enough spotlight to become a three-dimensional person. The show doesn’t even attempt to have a conversation with its audience after a point, and it feels like many other shows we have already seen. These aren’t fresh twists or set up; there has to be something more to substantiate them. The fact that the viewer is just told to be a viewer as the episodes pass one after the other, makes us look at the stereotypical route the show takes after a point. Everything starts to look like we have seen it already.

The fact that the show begins running too fast with no emphasis on particular sequences ends up diluting the ones that really could have made an impact. For instance, Noyonika when she regains her confidence, should have been an image of courage, a scene where you get hooked for the next seven episodes. But it comes so quickly and in no time that there is no effect. Even the first day at job, where Kajol is hesitant when called a ‘junior’, is lost without using it for a larger picture. Also, for a woman struggling to arrange finances, we never see the impact visually around her to feel it.

The Trial Review: Last Words:

The Trial is a surface-level adaptation of a show that was known for diving deeper.

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