Audience will like as well as hate my character's decisions: Kajol on 'The Trial'
Kajol speaks about her initial apprehensions regarding The Trial, why her character is relatable, and working in the long format for the first time
In The Trial, your character, Noyonika, is in the eye of a storm and has so much emotional baggage. Is that what drew you to the role?
KAJOL: It is a complex but relatable character. Every woman will identify with her. She handles her hardships with grace and sometimes, also relies on lies and deception. The audience will like as well as hate the decisions my character makes. She may even come across as hypocritical at times, but then, that is who she is in the place she is at the time. Who wouldn’t want to play a character like that? It is
a very human show about why we make the choices we make in life.
Did you fear that you might get influenced by The Good Wife, the American series the show is based on?
KAJOL: I did. I watched the original after The Trial was offered to me. I loved the concept of the show and Julianna Margulies’s portrayal of Alicia Florrick. But I kept wondering how it would be adapted for the Indian audience. That is where the director’s (Suparn Verma) vision came in. I realised the adaptation was completely different from the original. An Indian woman’s sensibilities are different from a woman raised in the West. The challenges of an Indian wife and mother are far removed from the western ideas of parenthood or marriage. And most importantly, the laws are different. Once you change the context, the country, the value system and the social structure, the entire show, including my character, changes.
What did you think of the Hindi title, The Trial: Pyaar, Kanoon, Dhoka? It sounds quite dramatic.
KAJOL: I felt it was quite over-the-top (laughs), but going by the content of the show, it fits.
What made you venture into long-form content and how has the experience been different from films?
KAJOL: Acting in a series is not much different from a film. Only, you get the time and space to show the arc of your character a lot more in a show. That’s the part where you can sink your teeth into.
The small subtleties get more space because you have eight episodes.
We heard there was a lawyer on set to guide and consult on the legal aspects. Did you learn about any laws that you were taken aback by?
KAJOL: Mumbai-based law firm Priyanka Khimani & Associates was consulted at every turn. They advised us on how we should say our lines, what we can and can’t do. Hopefully, we haven’t taken too much cinematic liberty. As for finding out new things, I would feel surprised in almost every episode, and wonder if this is what the law of our country states.
Your filmography through the 2000s was quite erratic, with just one film in two- three years. Since 2020, however, you have been more consistent. What changed?
KAJOL: It has gotten quite hectic for me in the last few years, but I am not complaining. I am really enjoying this phase. This was, however, not something I wanted, say 15 years ago. My daughter was younger, she was studying abroad and there were too many things in my life that I had to give attention to. Now, I have the room to give time to more projects.
You have been an actor for three decades. How do you keep honing your craft to stay relevant?
KAJOL: Acting is a continuous learning process. You cannot not keep working on your skills. But, one also has to keep unlearning because that is what keeps an actor relevant.
Tell us about your process of choosing roles. Has it changed over the years?
KAJOL: My hero has always been the script and it will always remain that way. But, good scripts are far and few these days, as are good directors.
Who is the next director on your wish list?
KAJOL: I would like to work with (husband) Ajay (Devgn) again as a director (after U, Me aur Hum and Tanhaji). But, as of now, I am waiting to shoot the second season of The Trial and work with Suparn again.