Director Hansal Mehta’s ‘Scoop’ is a crime drama series streaming on Netflix. The series is based on Jigna Vora’s biographical memoir ‘Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison’. It follows the real-life story of Jigna Vora who was accused of murder of mid-day reporter Jyotirmoy Dey in June 2011.
In journalism, a scoop or exclusive is an item of news reported by one journalist or news organization before others, and of exceptional originality, importance, surprise, excitement, or secrecy. Scoops are important and likely to interest or concern many people. It may be a new story, or a new aspect to an existing or breaking news story. It may be unexpected, surprising, formerly secret, and may come from an exclusive source.
If you have read the meaning of scoop above, it will make more sense to read further. Scoop, the web series, retells an account when print media was still the more prominent source of news. There was a race for many journalists / reporters to get a place on the first page. Jagruti Pathak aka J (Karishma Tanna) was one such prominent go-getter crime reporter.
Within a short span of time, she rises through the ranks to become the Dy. Bureau Chief of a prominent broadsheet / newspaper. When Jagruti becomes the principal suspect in the slaying of another crime reporter Jaideb Sen aka Dada (Prosenjit Chatterjee), she is framed and arrested as one of the main accused / suspects in Sen’s murder case. She is taken into custody and sent to jail where she spends nearly eight traumatic months before she is granted bail.
How will she defend her innocence as she becomes the focus of attention as most people think she used her contacts in the underworld to eliminate her competitor. (It is later informed that in the case of Vora, it took her seven-year-long legal battle to have the charges against her dropped.) It also becomes even more serious to pin down someone when you hear that everyone in their own capacity is just ‘doing their job’, right from Jagruti to the police and the gangsters!
Director Hansal Mehta
‘Scoop’ had become a series to look upon after the much successful ‘Scam 1992’ directed by Mehta, which was a human drama too. A real-life story of stockbroker Harshad Mehta, set in Bombay during the 80s and 90s. Though the narrative was dramatised for the medium it never went overboard in creating a gripping world that sucked the audience in. This time too, Mehta keeps his focus clear from a point of view and presents the various characters in their capacities and situations.
With Scoop the storyteller tries to peel the onion layers about the functionality of news dailies, be it the professional rivalry / competition or journalistic ethics / morals, the ‘job’ of telling the truth and how it gets compromised in the chase to grab eyeballs, which in turn translates into revenue.
Scoop largely gets these things right. Just the way, Mehta’s Scam 1992 did sans loud news anchors, glammed-up journos and minimum use of cuss words / expletives. The show tries to be as fair as it could possibly be in terms of the fact and factors. Scoop gives an overview of the business of news vis-a-vis its nexus within the system and outside, but most importantly, touches your heart without being overtly melodramatic.
Karishma Tanna gets to play Jagruti Pathak, presumably her best role till date, and she does it effortlessly and looks believable too. Her scenes in the confines of the jail with weird inmates is depicted and performed well. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub gets to wipe off his ‘Tandav’ wounds. Zeeshan gets the most critical role (after Karishma) to play the very important Bureau Chief Imran Siddiqui. His character is etched out to create a special place for him in the eyes of the audience and probably becomes a very loved character.
Prosenjit Chatterjee who plays the most vital character of crime reporter Jaideb Sen aka Dada, displays his acting prowess in the constrained character leaving a mark for himself. Harman Baweja as JCP Harshavardhan Shroff plays his layered part well.
Though Hansal Mehta’s ‘Scoop’ is fictionalised retelling of a story, it does offer room for quite a few learnings for the viewer. While on one side it talks about the business of news, it also hints at the murky ways in which each is trying to safeguard their own interest at the behest and pinning down someone as a scapegoat. The show also makes a fleeting statement about the bias and perceptions around women and how few strong women make people around them feel insecure.
It becomes evident with the story that woman like Jagruti had to pay a price for being who she was. It also reveals that it is not all bad out there, there are colleagues like Imran who loses his job but does not refrain from supporting Jagruti as also if many are pinning down Jagruti as a conspirator, it is her family and her lawyer that gives her their relentless support and encourage to fight for justice.
All in all, if you are the types of binging on some ‘serious entertainment’, Scoop will hold you tight.
Web Series: Scoop
Director: Hansal Mehta
Cast: Karishma Tanna, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Harman Baweja, Deven Bhojani, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Streaming on: Netflix
Episodes: 6 of about 50-60 mins each