Trial Period is a trial to watch

Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul in Trial Period. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Children are curious when they have single parents. At some time, they are bound to ask uncomfortable questions like “Where (or Who) was my father / mother? Where is he / she (now)?” And over here, the single parent decides to listen to her moppet, who watches ‘trial offers’ ads and opt for a daddy on hire. Mommy plans to instruct the man to be so uncongenial that the child will get tired or sick of him within a month and go back to a “happy” childhood with a single parent!

Please do not ask for the social and long-term implications of this for such a child, already compromised by a father who has left them and has never been in contact.

Based on this fuddled and crazy premise, director-co-writer Aleya Sen, who had inflicted upon us the incredibly juvenile and unfunny Dil Juunglee some years ago, provides us yet another exercise in childish ‘humor’. Childish, I said, not child-like. World of a difference there!

Little Romi (Zidane Braz) can’t figure out why there is no father in his life when all his classmates have one, and this male parent is their superhero. His hapless and working single mother, Anamaya (Genelia Deshmukh), or Ana as she is called, hits upon a plan to hire a temporary husband who will be so vile to her child that Romi will (within a month) want him to go away for good.

The unemployed but highly-educated Prajapati (known as PD), who has come to town seeking a job, becomes the right man when his uncle (Gajraj Rao) tells him to take up the ‘job’ before he finds the position he deserves as a professor. What happens next can be predicted in sequence by anyone who has ever watched any film before. It is the ‘How’ that thus becomes important, and ironically, it is this factor that undoes the film, though it may be termed a harmless watch at home on OTT.

Yes, there are some well-written moments and scenes, like the first interaction of PD with Ana’s parents, and the sequence where Ana comes home partly inebriated and plops herself next to PD at night and the conversation that ensues. A scene where DP castigates Ana on her shortcomings as a mother is also effective, but overall, the treatment is very amateurish and many parts infantile in humor.

Genelia tries hard, but while she is very good in some scenes, in others she comes across as struggling to be effective. However, her expressive eyes do rescue her when the performance falls short! Manav Kaul as PD fits the bill and does a good job. I liked Barun Chanda as her father and Swaroopa Ghosh is correctly odious as her suspicious mother. Shakti Kapoor, Sheeba Chaddha and Gajraj Rao, independently all powerhouse performers, are criminally wasted in terms of their potential. Zidane Braz as the child is a natural, but in some cases, he is made to be irritating and almost precocious like the screen kids of yore.

If this film has a shocking aspect, it is that it has been part-bankrolled by Amit Ravindernath Sharma, who directed the 2018 epic, Badhaai Ho, and the recent Tilchatta (Kajol’s segment) in Lust Stories 2. The technical side is average, except for the poor songs.

But Aleya Sen needs to really follow the peak-time Subhash Ghai dictum, “Ideas don’t make films. Scripts do.” Even if the idea is childish and impractical, a sensible and warmly funny film could have done the trick. And methinks Jio Cinema must stop being in overdrive and can concentrate on quality rather than quantity.

Rating: **

Jio Cinema presents Jio Studios’ & Chrome Pictures’ Trial Period  Produced by: Jyoti Deshpande, Hemant Bhandari, Amit Ravindernath Sharma & Aleya Sen  Directed by: Aleya Sen  Written by: Aleya Sen, Akshat Trivedi & Shiv Singh Music: Shantanu Moitra, Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Mago & Mayank & Kaushik-Guddu  Starring: Genelia Deshmukh, Manav Kaul, Shakti Kapoor, Sheeba Chaddha, Gajraj Rao, Barun Chanda, Dwaroop Ghosh, Zidane Braz & others




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