Scoop is scathing, disturbing and scarily real

Karishma V. Tanna in Scoop. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

A huge cast and six episodes of about or over an hour each—Scoop, another real-life saga researched and directed by Hansal Mehta after Scam 1992, explores so many human angles that are very, very real, and disturbingly so.

The pith in the saga encompasses professional and personal truths and overrides the main story, based on real journalist Jigna Vora’s book about her incarceration in trumped-up charges: Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison. It is a terrifyingly true self-assessment of how overambitious people can end up racked in pain, sorrow and legal trouble, all because they begin to think that they know it all.

But the series goes beyond the book: to boldly inspect and comment on the crime mafia-police nexus, the misuse of laws, even if a shade draconian, to victimize and smudge an innocent person of good societal standing, and how the police can go wrong when under pressure to get results. Legal technicalities are as subtly hinted at, like when protagonist Jagruti Pathak—the fictionalized version of Jigna—gets bail. This is only thanks to smart and emotional talk by her counsel Vashisht (Jaimini Pathak, excellently laconic) without any fresh evidence at all unearthed during the interim for the 10 months-plus she had to spend in jail.

Also shown are the complexities of news supplied to the media—the manipulation by ambitious reporters and editors and rival media houses, of how principled stands by honest scribes usually boomerang, of how gossip and fake charge-sheets can be fabricated so easily, and family harmony destroyed. Of course, the terrible issues of informers, mafia rivalry, personal vendetta, jail hygiene and the horrific brutalities within jail are also among the multiple issues highlighted.

When ace crime reporter Jaideb Sen (Prosenjit Chatterjee) is shot dead, the needle of suspicion points out to many, but the police, under pressure to crack the case, and more importantly, make arrests, home in on the crime bureau chief Jagruti Pathak (Karishma V. Tannaa) as the key suspect, who, they allege, gave away his details to the mafia. Jagruti is a single mother, having come up the hard way, and has a loving family that is shell-shocked when she is arrested. After all, she has contacts as much with the cops as informers and criminals. And that is why she is made a sitting duck.

Jagruti’s scoop at getting the interview of Chhota Rajan (heard but not seen) becomes the flashpoint for making her the stooge. Heartwarmingly loyal is her editor boss, Imran (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), even as her other colleagues change their stances as per the reports and gossip. A pillar of strength is her son, little Neel (Vishal Thakkar) and her family too stands by her like a rock. But it’s an uphill battle as bail after bail is rejected thanks to a ruthless prosecution asking for time to assimilate and provide “evidence”.

Apart from the razor-sharp lines and a fabulous script, the film boasts of superb ambiences, whether in jail, court, among the cops or the media fraternity. Hansal Mehta’s direction is flawless, though the pace could have been better and the edit (Amitesh Mukherjee) sharper in the first three episodes. As always, Achint Thakkar’s background music is admirably fresh and innovative, and the camerawork (Pratham Mehta) brilliantly in sync with every scene, as he makes the jail look grubby, the police station functional, the home warm and everything else in-sync with the happenings.

A huge pat to the creators and research team—they literally own the series for their meticulous blend of facts, drama and emotions.

Like with our finest series, the show is speckled with perfect performances. Karishma V. Tannaa, known principally for television soaps and her naughty turn in Grand Masti a decade ago, emerges as a true-blue powerhouse performer—as Jagruti, she goes through myriad life-changing experiences. In short, she is incredibly natural. Lending her support, especially, is Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as her forthright and impeccably honest boss, and Deven Bhojani as her maternal uncle. For the former, it is easily his career-best work so far.

The cops, come Teekam Joshi (as Devrat), Harman Baweja (as Shroff) and  Ravi Mahashabde (as Jagtap) are all excellently real and menacing. Sanat Vyas as Nana and Morli Patel as Jagruti’s mother are refreshingly natural. Prosenjit Chatterjee as Jaideb scores another high after Jubilee, though it is a brief role. The women and girls in the jail are outstanding as well, led by Tejaswini Kolhapure as Rambha Ma.

This series is not to be missed.

Rating: ****1/2

Netflix presents Matchbox Shots’ Scoop Created by: Hansal Mehta & Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul  Produced by: Sarita Patil, Dikssha Jyote Routray & Sanjay Routray  Directed by: Hansal Mehta Written by: Jigna Vora, Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul & Mirat Trivedi & Anu Singh Choudhary  Music: Achint Thakkar  Starring: Karishma V. Tannaa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Harman Baweja, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Deven Bhojani, Aseem Hattangadi, Sandeep Narvekar, Mansi Rachh, Tanmay Dhanania, Inayat Sood, Morli Patel, Vishal Thakkar, Sanat Vyas, Ravi Mahashabde, Ira Dubey, Jaimini Pathak, Teekam Joshi, Ishitta Arun, Milind Adhikari, Ninad Kamat, Sandeep Bose, Hashim Haider, Pallas Prajapati, Rasika Agashe, Kashyap Kapoor, Margi Desai, Pubali Sanyal, Shikha Talsania, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Amar Upadhyay, Ayaz Khan & others



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