There is a serious problem with Hindi cinema. Trial Period, the new film by director Aleya Sen, also suffers from this ailment. The problem with nearly all the recent films is that the filmmakers act as if they have a winner on their hands the moment they come up with a quirky idea. The idea may be great on paper, but without the right execution and strict tonal control, the film cannot engage the viewers. The film’s tagline reads ‘Father on Rent,’ and immediately, a world appeared in front of my eyes. I got excited after learning about the film’s idea, but the messy execution disappointed me. It’s as if the film wants me to be convinced of everything but doesn’t want to do the hard work to convince me.
The plot of Trial Period revolves around Anamaya Roy Choudhry, a single mother caring for her young son Romi. Her life is sent into topsy-turvy when Romi starts enquiring about his father. Anamaya, aka Ana’s Uncle and aunt, helped her raise the son, but they, too, are defenseless against Romi’s question. The family conspires to bring a ‘rented’ father into the house, who would act in a grumpy way, making Romi disenchanted with the whole concept. In walks Prajapati Dwivedi, who sways everyone with his idiosyncratic style.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The “Trial Period”?
Anamaya lives in Delhi. She divorced her husband and cares for her son, Romi, alone. Well, Romi’s uncle and aunt live right around the corner in the neighborhood and help raise Romi when she goes off to work, but Romi is still missing a vital ingredient in his life. Romi feels it first when he has to recite a poem about his father in school on Father’s Day. He failed miserably, and from that day on, the quest for a figure called Papa started to grip his mind. He got obsessed with having a father. Ana was divorced and tried to convince him that he didn’t really need a ‘papa,’ as they are boring, grumpy, authoritarian, and ‘uncool.’ She didn’t know that Romi was a bright kid with a highly fertile imagination, and in his imagination, he saw fathers as superheroes and hence would go to any lengths to get one for himself.
One fine day, Romi asked his uncle to switch on the TV and call the teleshopping channel the uncle was so fond of. Romi stubbornly requested that he order a ‘papa’ from the teleshopping channel. He did so because the teleshopping channel had a policy of a ‘trial period,’ meaning the order could be returned if it didn’t meet the buyer’s expectations. Everybody was shocked. Romi wanted his father around, but as Ana explained that he couldn’t be around, he imagined the scenario of ordering one, as if fathers were available wholesale! Romi’s Uncle and Aunt try to make him understand that fathers are not a ‘commodity’ that can be bought, but Romi gets fixated on the idea. Ana gets concerned, but as she is a cool mother, she tries to play along and tries to find a man who will play the role of Romi’s father for a trial period of one month.
How Does Prajapati Come Into The Picture?
While the Choudhry household was trying to find a father for the limited time roleplay, Prajapati Dwivedi had just arrived in Delhi in search of a job. He was from a small town but was a highly educated fellow. He felt like a fish out of water but felt that it was just a matter of time before someone would recognize his talents and give him a job. He had just one contact in the city, and that was his uncle, who ran a job placement agency. They recruited highly talented people and recommended them to employers across various sectors. Prajapati wanted to be a Professor of history, but jobs were scarce, and his uncle couldn’t get him a job. Penniless, he was offered a stay in the office, but soon his idiosyncrasies started to disturb his uncle. He wanted to get rid of him, and when Romi’s Uncle ended up with his unusual request, he saw how to deal with Prajapati.
Actually, Ana had tried her luck everywhere but couldn’t find a man who would act as Romi’s father for a month. When they all heard of the situation, they started to reveal very quickly that their real desire was to be with Ana. They weren’t interested in the role at all. Ana was not looking for a relationship, and fed up with the parade of men interested in her, she nearly dropped the whole plan. This was when Romi’s uncle came to help. He knew Prajapati’s uncle even before he stepped foot in Delhi. He took Ana to the job placement office and asked Prajapati’s uncle to find a suitable candidate for their charade. At first, he was perplexed but realized that Prajapati could be the solution to everyone’s problem.
Does Prajapati Prove To Be A Grumpy Dad?
Prajapati was not too keen on taking on the role of a father, even if it was just role play. He didn’t understand the whole concept, yet he had no choice. Living in the office was getting unbearable, and at least now he would get a room of his own. He agreed to act as Romi’s Papa but was given strict instructions that he was to be the grumpy and uncool Papa, not the smart and cool one. He had not understood the assignment completely. It was just that if anybody had to gel with him, they would have to spend some time with him, and he would charm them with his knowledge and his wealth of stories.
At first, Ana was happy that she had found the perfect candidate. He wasn’t interested in Romi’s superheroes or his charades. Romi started to become disenchanted much more quickly than she anticipated. But one day, Prajapati took Romi to his swimming class and showed off his swimming skills, which impressed Romi to no end. He came back and was genuinely thrilled to have a ‘cool papa.’ Ana grew concerned and started to watch Prajapati’s behavior. She couldn’t afford Romi getting too attached to him. She stopped him from going to see Romi’s football match out of her concern that he would not act the part of the grumpy father and that Romi would grow more and more fascinated with him. Had she allowed him to go, Romi wouldn’t have been bullied the way he was in his school.
‘Trial Period’ Ending Explained: Does Prajapati Leave Ana And Romi?
Ana had always asked Romi to be a good boy, which essentially meant not to be violent. Maybe her ex-husband was a violent man, which is why she divorced him and didn’t want a shred of that violence to be present in Romi. She wasn’t aware that this advice was not at all good for Romi because he was being bullied in school by a bunch of his classmates. He wasn’t fighting back because of his promise to Ana.
After returning from the football match, Prajapati saw bruises on Romi’s body and gave him combat tricks to take down the bullies the next day. Ana came to know about Romi’s violence in school and thought that it was Prajapati who had incited him. He confronted him and called him a goon. Prajapati was an honorable man who understood that standing up for oneself in a fight wasn’t violence, and Ana had to understand that. Prajapati, in turn, forced Ana to see Romi’s bruised body, and she realized she was wrong to criticize him. She didn’t hold back and gave an ultimatum to the bully’s mother, and Romi saw the heated exchange. He saw a family fighting for him and felt empowered for the first time, meaning no one could bully him like before. Ana apologized to Prajapati, and he understood her predicament. She was a single mother who had no time for herself, and Romi didn’t want to add to her troubles, which is why he kept mum about the bullying. With Prajapati around to take care of Romi, Ana found the time to live for herself a bit. She went out to party while Romi spent his time with his ‘cool papa.’
Ana and Prajapati had forgotten for a second that this was a temporary deal. This realization was drilled into their heads by Ana’s parents, who were livid with the absurd roleplay. Prajapati, too, realized what harm he was doing to Romi. One day he would have to leave, and Romi would be devastated. Ana had grown fond of Prajapati and his idiosyncrasies, like his pure Hindi, weird recipes, and yoga practices. The 30 days passed in the blink of an eye, and before leaving, on the auspicious occasion of Diwali, Prajapati asked Ana if she saw a future with him. Ana froze and couldn’t muster the courage to say anything. Her answer was, in fact, a ‘yes’, and she needed some time to say it. Prajapati packed his bags and left without meeting her after her silence, and the love story seemed to have concluded on a sorrowful note. Prajapati had gotten a job, and Ana accepted that he wouldn’t return.
What pained her heart was that she didn’t get a chance to share her true feelings. All was not lost, as Prajapati remembered Romi’s annual concert and showed up at his school to boost his confidence. Ana and Prajapati met again and finally shared their true feelings. The ‘rented’ Prajapati was now to become a permanent member of Romi and Ana’s family. While Ana had raised him well, it was Prajapati who gave Romi the love of a father, which was missing in his life. Prajapati was a good soul himself, and although he had his idiosyncrasies, he was a role model for Romi to grow up around. Ana, too, found a loving and caring partner who was as intelligent as she was, and that too out of a “Trial Period”!