Karishma Tanna, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Harman Baweja, Deven Bhojani, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Tejaswini Kolhapure Saraswat, Shikha Talsania, Tanmay Dhanania, Prosenjit Chatterjee .
Creator: Hansal Mehta, Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul
Director: Hansal Mehta
Streaming On: Netflix
Runtime: 50-70 Minutes (6 Episodes)
Scoop Review: What’s It About:.
It’s about the 2011’s infamous ‘J Dey Murder Case’, Jyotirmoy Dey turns into Jaideb Sen (Prosenjit Chatterjee) also known as the ‘Commander J’ of the Mumbai Underworld Crime Investigation. Jigna Vora turns into Jagruti Pathak (Karishma Tanna), a cutthroat journalist who eats ‘Page 1’ for breakfast, is entangled in both the worlds of Mafia & Protectors Of The Law and ‘scoop’ doesn’t remind her of Baskin & Robbins’ Mississippi Mud.
Hussain Zaidi becomes Imran Siddiqui (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), Jagruti’s boss at Eastern Age (originally The Asian Age) who belongs to the aristocratic class of journalism, someone who you’d feel could bring back the news in the news. It is about the time when an influential media person tasted the unjust medicine of the ‘media trial’ and how she survived it somehow but failed to resurrect her career. It is about the triple-threat bare-knuckle bout between Yellow Journalism VS Mumbai Police VS the Underworld with one woman, Karishma Tanna, landing a knockout punch.
Scoop Review: What Works:
Director Hansal Mehta holds the crown of best Indian OTT web show for me with Scam 1992 and with Scoop, he only proves once again why he’s the guy holding the record. While Pratik Gandhi’s transcendent presence traversed through the life of a talented broker turned convicted fraudster in Scam 1992, this one has criminals on the backdrop as we watch the happenings from a Journalist’s POV.
Not the same template, but it’ll surely take you back to the world of Harshad Mehta, if not the characters, the office (Asian Age) of Jagruti Pathak (Karishma Tanna) would remind you of the basic workplace structure (Times Of India) of Sucheta Dalal (Shreya Dhanwantry) despite being 2 different media outlets. Thank god they’re not fictional characters, else I’m smelling a strong crossover ‘journo-verse’ idea over here.
The “Front Page Matters” rush accelerates the narration by Writers Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul (Thappad), and Mirat Trivedi (Bhonsle, Ajji) to aptly assists Anu Singh Choudhary’s (Grahan, Aarya) Screenplay. Keeping a proper check on anachronism, Hansal Mehta gives his characters BlackBerry (Probably 8520) to use (which was promoted as the working class phone back in the 2010s).
If I just want to nitpick on one anachronism and I’ll sound a complete nerd here, there’s an article on Gautam Gambhir & Sachin Tendulkar in a newspaper titled “Result more important than Sachin’s 100th ton: Gambhir” which was published on 24th November 2011 and in the show, the characters celebrate Diwali post the newspaper scene which isn’t possible because 2011’s Diwali occurred on 26th October. So, how can a news outlet publish any article months in advance, did they predict the future? (An indirect reference to the immensely gripping courtroom drama from its finale episode).
The writing is brave enough to portray how the founder of one of the most influential newspapers in the country clearly says “Government is our biggest advertiser.” The show is brave enough to portray how the Resident Editor of a newspaper could ask his Boss whether the copies are being checked by him or the CMO.
Though everyone is going gaga over Pratik Gandhi’s cameo in the show, why no one is talking about Hansal Mehta appearing as a lawyer and saying “If you want to be late become an actor.” Karan Vyas, the same man behind some iconic Scam 1992 dialogues, returns to pen the lines and they rightfully aren’t in the ‘massy’ zone as before but the discourse here around journalism boasts of some witty but trenchantly satirical lines. The quotations also score on the timing and placement of the dialogues.
Just an observation, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub’s Imran cites a quote “If someone says it’s raining, and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the fucking window and find out which is true.” He, in his immediate next line, credits this to Jonathan Fraser but this belongs to Jonathan Foster – a journalism professor from the University of Sheffield, UK. There might be a mixup and the director might not have wanted to lose the impact by redoing the scene, it’s totally fine. Just, credit where it’s due.
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange gets quoted, “If journalism is good, by default, it will be controversial. If it’s controversial, by default, it’s good journalism” and ironically this film is both ‘controversial’ & ‘good journalism’.
Scoop Review: Star Performance:
Karishma Tanna: WOW! Here comes an actress who started her career at the early age of 18 in Indian television’s one of the most loved shows – Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi as ‘Indu’. Here she is, 22 years later, getting a performance for which she would be remembered forever. Tanna, very similar to Pratik Gandhi in Scam 1992, spearheads the narration solely (most of the time) and her character bonding with Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub’s Imran remains to be the highlight of the show.
Talking about Imran, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub is flawless. Give this man any role, he’d infuse life in it and give it back to you a better character than you’d probably even write. His character’s writing isn’t great but the way he delivers what’s been given to him makes ‘at-par’ extraordinary.
Harman Baweja is back & how? The ‘shock meter’ on his comeback is just a tad below than The Kerala Story becoming such a huge hit. He’s subtle, he underplays beautifully and he could be onto more for the future – bring on HB 2.0.
Deven Bhojani still holds the same amount of innocence and natural charm he had 18 years ago as Gattu in Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby in 2005. The apt decision of casting him as the anchor that keeps Jagruti’s family together results in a wholesome outcome.
Tannishtha Chatterjee as yet-another ‘wicked’ journalist deserved a better character arc. I missed her more than the rest of the supporting cast with lesser screen space. Tejaswini Kolhapure Saraswatn & Shikha Talsania as the two ‘godwomen’ in the jail play their part well but add to the minor drag one could feel just before the show’s finale.
Tanmay Dhanania & Inayat Sood as Pathak’s colleagues-cum-vultures who do everything wrong because they want to become as successful as she has been in such a short period. Both of them have brilliantly portrayed the gray shades getting the character arcs many others from the supporting cast deserved. Prosenjit Chatterjee is special, he’s just a gem Indian cinema should be proud of. Despite such a limited screen space, the after-effect his character leaves is as strong as the ‘Death-Wish Coffee’.
Scoop Review: What Doesn’t Work:
Won’t take much longer for this one, as I won’t want to watch this any differently from what it is now. Though, below are a few excerpts from Jigna Vora’s book “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison” quoted in a Scroll article which I think could’ve been covered to build a deeper connection with Tanna’s Pathak.
On her experience of using the Jail’s messy toilet, she revealed “My head and the other end of my body were completely exposed. I prayed for some privacy.” This could’ve been translated into a poignant dramatic sequence while Jagruti Pathak gets used to her life behind bars. She also mentioned, “The lights, I learnt, were never turned off.” I don’t remember if there was any particularly dark scene in the show but the fact that lights were never turned off required a mention to intensify the atmosphere.
Jigna got honest about her loneliness in the jail she said “Each inmate was paired with another accused of a similar crime and asked to sit in the centre of the barrack. Accused chain snatchers, pickpockets, robbers and murderers – all sat in order. I sat alone.” All this and more could’ve added, if not much, but some weight to an already almost perfect show.
Scoop Review: Last Words:
All said and done, Scoop is one mind-bending show. It’s a show which will always be remembered for its writing to deliver a satirical take on crime journalism, the horrific of the life of an innocent accused blended with one of the smartest courtroom dramas to come out of Indian television.