'Trial Period': A movie breaking the norm

The plot may seem a bit too easy, but filmmaker Aleya Sen layers the story to add familiar complexities.
'Trial Period': A movie breaking the norm

Traditionally, there have been only two accepted ideas of a family––the one you are born into and the one you marry into. But things are changing. Love is increasingly triumphing over blood as the glue that holds it all together. Trial Period on JioCinema revolves around one such unconventional family and how its members come together through a happy accident.

Zidane Brazm plays an inquisitive boy, Romi. Following an incident at school, he comes home and asks his mother, Ana (played by a charming Genelia D’Souza), why he does not have a father—a superhero figure—like his friends. Ana unsuccessfully comes up with one explanation after another. Meanwhile, he gets introduced to the concept of teleshopping at their neighbours’ (Shakti Kapoor and Sheeba Chaddha) house. He also learns about the ‘trial period’ clause, where one can buy and try out a product and return it in 30 days if it does not work well. Like the child that he is, Romi links one thing to another and decides that he wants a naya papa (new father) on a trial period. The rest of the film shows how Manav Kaul’s PD––a teacher from Ujjain hunting for a job in Delhi––is brought in for a month, but ends up as a permanent member of Romi and Ana’s family.

The plot may seem a bit too easy, but filmmaker Aleya Sen layers the story to add familiar complexities. That she breaks gender stereotypes in the process is a welcome addition. After PD gets appointed as the temporary father, he takes over the maintenance and functioning of the house. He cooks and cleans, and also teaches Romi after school.

The beauty of the film is how all of this is established subtly. It never gets preachy. In one of the scenes, we see Ana breaking down as she talks about the challenges of being a single mother. Trial Period does not romanticise her struggles to make a hero out of her. It lets her be vulnerable, making her character relatable. And D’Souza delivers a compelling performance with a pinch of her trademark allure. Kaul too manages to leave a mark with his innocence, as he redefines the ideas of both being masculine and a father.

Kapoor and Chaddha get limited but meaningful screen time, during which they exude warmth through seasoned performances. As does Gajraj Rao, who delivers a neat cameo as PD’s uncle. While the adept direction helps eke the film out of predictable zones, credit must also go to the easy-on-the-eyes visuals and metered soundscape. Apart from normalising the many possibilities of what a ‘normal’ modern family can look like, the film serves as a timely reminder that love lasts longer than ‘trial periods’.

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The New Indian Express