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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

The Trial: Kajol, Sheeba Chaddha and Kubbra Sait make up for the average writing

The Indian remake of the American show The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies, has been directed by Suparn S. Varma for Disney+ Hotstar

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 27.07.23, 01:44 PM
Kajol in The Trial: Pyaar, Kaanoon, Dhokha streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Kajol in The Trial: Pyaar, Kaanoon, Dhokha streaming on Disney+ Hotstar IMDb

Disney+ Hotstar series The Trial: Pyaar, Kaanoon, Dhokha rides on the performances of its female cast — Kajol, Sheeba Chaddha and Kubbra Sait — to make up for the lack of emotional depth in the writing. The Indian adaptation of the American legal and political drama The Good Wife, where Kajol slips into the role played by Julianna Margulies, does offer the occasional high but fails to deliver an overall captivating experience.

The Trial revolves around Noyonika Sengupta (Kajol), a stay-at-home mother and law school graduate who had given up her career to prioritise her family. After a decade, when her husband Rajiv (Jisshu Sengupta) is accused of corruption and involvement in a sex scandal, she has no option but to get back to work to support her family. The story follows Noyonika’s journey as she tries to reestablish her legal career, taking on the hardships head on while seeking justice for her clients and her husband.

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As a devoted wife and mother, Noyonika is driven to protect her family and salvage her husband’s reputation. She takes up a job at her former love interest Vishal’s (Alyy Khan) law firm, where she faces tough competition from an intern, Dheeraj (Gaurav Pandey), for a permanent position at the firm. Additionally, Noyonika senses animosity from Malini (Sheeba Chaddha), the other boss at the law firm. Amidst these challenges, she finds support from Sana (Kubbra Sait), a co-worker who helps her navigate the complexities of her cases.

Over the course of eight episodes, the series effectively explores legal complexities and draws inspiration from real-life cases and characters reported in the news. From celebrities dying by suicide to witch hunt carried out by the media, the cases seem familiar and strike a chord. However, as Noyonika keeps winning cases faster than you can keep a track of, the emotional core of the story takes a hit. Sometimes all it takes is a happy coincidence, or an epiphany, for Noyonika to secure justice for her clients.

Director Suparn S. Varma relies heavily on his actors’ performances to compensate for the shortcomings in the screenplay. The focus primarily remains on the three key female characters — Noyonika, Sana and Malini. Kajol and Sheeba Chaddha effortlessly immerse themselves in their roles, giving us some magical moments both individually and together.

Compared to them, the male characters don’t quite measure up, coming across as stereotypical. Jisshu’s Rajiv Sengupta hardly appears remorseful for his transgressions but is quick to judge his wife when rumours about her alleged affair with Vishal reach his ears. Alyy, on the other hand, plays that old flame who perennially waits for his chance at companionship. Dheeraj, hailing from a humble background, attributes Noyonika’s success to her relationship with Vishal and spares no opportunity to upend her.

Another aspect that The Trial doesn’t get right is the portrayal of the social hierarchy of its characters. The only discernible financial hardship the Senguptas undergo in the first episode, following Rajiv’s arrest, is replacing a Mercedes with a Maruti. The new flat the family moves into is as posh as it can get. Dheeraj’s character is an opportunity wasted where the theme of class divide could have been explored in greater depths.

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