`Trial Period` director Aleya Sen: Expected Manav Kaul to say no to the film

With a hilarious-sounding concept of ‘Father on hire`, Aleya Sen’s next offering promises to be an entertaining ride. Starring Genelia Deshmukh and Manav Kaul in the lead, ‘Trial Period’ narrates the story of Genelia hiring a man to be her child’s father at the insistence of her son. While the film`s trailer only sheds light on the basic concept, director Aleya Sen says the film is very `layered`. “There are layers beyond just a child asking for a father and it is about today`s parenting,” she says. 

Talking about coming up with the idea of hiring a personal relation, Aleya told mid-day.com. “This idea came to me sometime in 2014. By the time, it got made it seemed like the perfect time to come out. Back then, it would have been ahead of its time. Having said that, post-pandemic there has been a shift in society. A lot of unconventional relationships are accepted without hassles. The day and age we are living in has diametrically changed.”

Aleya Sen made her feature film debut with ‘Dil Juunglee’ starring Taapsee Pannu and Saqib Saleem. While `Trial Period` marks her second feature film, she has directed multiple ad films under Chrome Pictures of which she is a co-founder along with filmmakers Amit Sharma and Hemant Bhandari. “Once the concept is done and I have written the film,  I try to think who are the actors who fit into that imagination of mine. I come from an ad film background, so I don`t think about if I have this actor, I will get this box office number. I try to stay as true as possible to what I have imagined. And I have been lucky with not just my lead cast which is Genelia and Manav, but each one, Gajraj, Sheeba Chaddha, and Shakti Kapoor, all of them are brilliant actors. I have just been lucky,” she says. 

This is the first time that Genelia plays a Bengali character on screen. Aleya, who is herself a Bengali woman from Delhi, says “She (Genelia`s character) is an urban woman living in an urban space, but there are touches such as small bindi, the way you wear kohl or the kind of earrings. There was never a moment when Genelia said that this is not my kind of stuff. She was excited to be a Bengali girl. She is a warm soul offscreen and onscreen. She is a fun and happy person. She likes to be happy. But the film is quite layered and has intense scenes but she would do it seamlessly. You won`t feel like it is the same person who was joking around a while ago. She is a mature and seasoned actress.”

As for Manav Kaul, it is the first time that he has been cast opposite Genelia. Aleya, however, wasn`t sure he would agree to do the film. “Manav has done intense kind of work and I expected him to come back and tell me no, this is not my space. But he was excited and was into the character all the time we shot.” Coincidentally, like Manav, his character too is from Madhya Pradesh, making him easier to pick up on local nuances for the role. 

`Trial Period` is all set to release on Jio Cinema on July 21 for free. Ever since the pandemic, a lot of films have opted for direct-to-OTT releases. While OTT platforms run on a subscription model, Jio Cinema has caused disruption by making new releases available for free. Sharing her thought on this new business model, Aleya says, “This is a progression and it is not from today. It had to happen. For 2 years of the pandemic, the entire world has gone through a lot. We have gone ahead in a time of digital world. It was inevitable but it happened at this pace because of the circumstances. As a fiilmmaker, you get the chance to do out-of-the-box stuff. When I pitched `Trial Period` to Jio, covid was ongoing and it was clear in my mind that I would like it to be an OTT release and the decision was not because of the times we are in”.