The Trial(Disney+Hotstar, 8 Episodes)
It is deeply saddening to see Kajol trapped in a series that does her no justice, although it is all about bringing justice to the wronged. Who more wronged than the audience which is subjected to this kind of judicial brutality , all the time pretending to be upholding the cause of female empowerment?
The once powerful Kajol, now sadly out of depth on the OTT platform in Lust Stories and now The Trial, plays Noyonika Sengupta, a lawyer with two very smart daughters(special praise for the two young actresses who steal the show each time they are on screen) and disgraced husband who is in jail for demanding(and apparently getting) sexual favours .
Jisshu Sengupta a fine Bengali actor is typecast in Bollywood as the supportive/errant husband to top Bollywood stars, Rani in Mardangi,Rani’s cousin in this series which does no justice to any of the actors.
Alyy Khan makes a comeback as the protagonist’s love interest.He makes an interesting over-the-hill toyboy. But the script doesn’t allow his character to grown beyond the decorative. The very talented Sheeba Chadha is reduced to a caricature of the ambitious career woman: short hair, aggressive talk…I am not too sure whether she smokes. She may have when I dozed off intermittently while our heroine Noyonika “struggles” to keep her head above water after her husband’s betrayal.
She still sees him, though, As she tells one of her colleagues at the law firm, “We(women) are supposed to make the sacrifices, not them(the men).”
Noyonika stills goes to meet her husband in jail.She is that rare breed none as the Alpha Female . That she is played by Kajol should have been providential for the series. Instead Kajol is pretty much disastrous in her part: stoic when required to be dramatic,looking like a nervous wreck in the courtroom even when the script takes her on an endless winning streak.
Although she returns to the legal profession after ten years, she keeps winning every case almost by rote. It’s as though she was a lucky gambler in a casino rather than an unflappable lawyer in a courtroom.
If the courtroom sequences suffer from excessive hero-word-ship ,Noyonika’s domestic sequences are no less inauthentic. Noyonika’s ongoing conflict of interest with her mother-in-law(Bina Rai) never fructifies into something substantial. In staying true to the original(The Good Wife), The Trial hits the ground way too often to be taken seriously.