When it comes to scripts, it’s tough to please Kajol. Tougher if she is a die-hard fan of the source material. Creator-director Suparn S Varma had his work cut out for him when he met her to narrate The Trial, the Indian adaptation of The Good Wife, a popular American legal drama that Kajol swears by. Fortunately, both the actor and the fan in her were overjoyed with Varma’s take on the original.
“I loved The Good Wife,” says the actor, with her signature zest. “I wanted to see how it would be adapted here. It has things that I love as a woman, but I couldn’t see Indian cinema including them. But when I heard the adaptation, I loved how Suparn had put things together.”
(From left) Kajol-led The Trial is an adaptation of Julianna Margulies’s The Good Wife
The actor steps into Julianna Margulies’s shoes for the Disney+ Hotstar series. To Kajol’s surprise, her lawyer-character Noyonika Sengupta turned out to be more nuanced than The Good Wife’s protagonist. “This is my personal opinion, but because of the Indian culture and the society we live in, Noyonika comes across as a much richer character. She has a lot more to say,” she explains.
The Trial—also starring Jisshu Sengupta, Kubbra Sait and Sheeba Chaddha—marks Kajol’s web series debut. In her three-decade career, the actor has worked on her own terms—be it playing a negative role in Gupt (1997) when leading ladies were expected to merely be the hero’s love interest, or taking a break in the early aughts to focus on her family. She says it is her individualistic streak that has helped her have a long run in the industry. “For me, it’s easier to say no to people than to say yes. That’s probably why I am still working, and very happily at that. I would’ve been exhausted if I were working at the same pace as others. I must have hardly done 70 films in such a long career. The reason is I don’t work with people whom I don’t like. For me, work should be fun, not dreadful.”