When the makers decide to adapt a good show with the cult status it enjoys and rehash an Indianized version, have they ever wondered if they can live up to the audience's expectations? Are their decisions well thought out and calculated enough? Can they give a roaring hit like ‘The Night Manager’ or will it meet the same fate as the Korean version of the popular show ‘Money Heist’ that failed to generate audience interest? Or Sudhir's Mishra's 'Tanaav' adpated from the popular Israeli series 'Fauda' or 'Your Honor' based on the popular Israeli series 'Kvodo' directed by Eeshwar Niwas? Kajol’s ‘The Trial: Pyaar, Kaanoon, Dhokha’ seems to be on the treading on the path of these disastrous series. Adapted from the critically-acclaimed CBS drama ‘The Good Wife’ that premiered on Disney+ Hotstar, the series lacks the inherent drama expected from such show.
After her stupendous performance in Lust Stories 2, Kajol who finally made her foray into the OTT space with the ‘The Trial’ is about a law school grad who gave up her career a decade ago for the sake of her husband and children. The eight-part series, directed by Suparn Verma and produced by Banijay Asia and Ajay Dvgan Ffilms, revolves around Noyonika Sengupta (Kajol) and her well-known legal eagle husband Rajeev Sengupta (Jisshu Sengupta) who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested for a sex scandal. Add insult to injury, Mr. Legal Eagle’s damning sex tapes have gone viral. From here begins Noyonika’s journey as she navigates a life of financial hardships with the embarrassment of having a scandalous husband.
As the story progresses further, we find Noyonika has to move out of her husband’s palatial house and take up the onus to provide for her family. Naturally what follows is instant hardships. So, what do you do? Just lift a scene with kids reminding her of the fees or asking if she will ever get a job from 'Ta Ra Rum Pum' and voila, you’re done! Good Job, man! Meanwhile, she has shifted to a new toned-down three-bedroom designer apartment after selling off her mercedes. Now its time resurrect her career to keep the kitchen fires burning. Naturally, the only option she has is to resurrect her career and return to what she was adept at- her career at the bar.
A once accomplished lawyer, she comes out of her hibernation after over a decade and conveniently struts her way to a top law firm, albeit as a junior lawyer. Fortunately, for her, it seems this top firm has a dearth of good senior lawyers, as this intern finds herself arguing a number of critical high-profile cases in the court and winning all the way. Assisted by her college fling Vishal (Ally Khan), a workaholic associate Sana (Kubbra Sait) or the firm’s sardonic partner Malini Khanna (Sheeba Chadda), Noyonika has to prove to herself and to the world around her that she still has what it takes to win a case. From here, the format becomes predictable as Noyonika climbs the ladder to fight a new case and win in each new episode. With so much winning on hand, it’s for sure that she has to end up taking up her husband Rajeev Sengupta’s case. Typical Bolly masala for the audiences. Tch tch!!
Helmed by Suparn Verma and written by Abbas Dalal, Hussain Dalal and Siddharth Kumar; the Indian adaptation of the 2009 courtroom drama ‘The Good Wife’ despite taking all of its high points from the original source material leads nowhere. Here everything rather slips through the grasp as the writing fails the performers big time. As the action progresses with seemingly repetitive courtroom routines, what could have been a multi-layered and nuanced storyline succumbs to clichés and stereotypes. With a number of clichéd tropes, the narrative lacks the depth and gravity falling prey to ordinary treatment. What could have become something extraordinary, the lack of depth in each of the various sub plots and the main plot led to a big disappointment.
Speaking of performances, Kajol brilliantly essays her role with great finesse when she has to reflect confidence and argue in the court. While her restrained portrayal stands out as one of the show's highlights, she is utterly atrocious in the emotional scenes. All she could resort to is just scream her part instead of bringing the right amount of vulnerability, helplessness and despair in her act. However, the surprise package turns out to be the accomplished Sheeba Chadha who towers above all. The writers could have added more layers to her role, instead of relegating her to the fate of a poorly written boss-lady archetype. Jisshu Sengupta was good so was Alyy Khan and Kubbra Sait. Aamir Ali, Atul Kumar, Gaurav Pandey had very paper-thin supporting characters. What set us wondering is Kiran Kumar’s blink and you miss role in the series. Of late, he is seen in such cameos be it in this series or in the movie ‘I Love You’ streaming on JioCinema. Wonder what makes him take such insignificant roles.
Wondering what our verdict is? It reminds us of the mind-numbing dialogue by Noyonika, “Iss duniya mein do tarah ke pyaar hote hein. Ek jo hum deserve karte hein... doosra jo hum desire karte hein. Aur iss sab ke upar hoti he destiny, jisse koi nahi jeet sakta (There are two types of love in this world. One that we deserve and the other that we desire. But above all, there's destiny which cannot be won).” Between ‘what we deserve and what we desire’, let us sum up these series. After paying the OTT subscriptions for every leading platform, the audience deserves and desires to see something more meaningful instead of bad rehashes fed by leading actors from the industry. They would rather be happy to watch the dubbed versions of the originals, instead of feeding them bad remakes all in the name of entertainment. As for the destiny part, least said the better as the audiences are the best decision makers. Only good entertainment is what they desire and one can win them only through that.