In those very final moments of the series Scoop, Jagruti Pathak, the central character of the series, asks her ex-Boss Imran about why she was chosen to be the scapegoat in a case that pretty much exposed the connection of the Mumbai Underworld with the Mumbai police. The reply Imran gives her somewhere gives us the oneliner thought behind this 6-episode crime drama. Based on Jigna Vora’s book, Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison, Scoop, created by Hansal Mehta and Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul, is a series brimming with pertinence.
Jagruti Pathak is our central character, an established crime reporter whose stories always found a place on page one. She had connections with higher police officials like JCP Harshavardhan Shroff, and she had her sources in the underworld too. Things were going smoothly for Jagruti until Jaideb Sen, another veteran crime reporter with whom Jagruti shared a healthy professional rivalry, got shot dead. How Mumbai Police’s decision to take her as a suspect using the MCOCA act and how she fought her way back is what we see in Scoop.
Even though the series has the attire of a whodunit, the series is not really trying to explore that template space. It uses that intriguing thriller-like format to deliver an impactful discourse about journalism and the opportunist scapegoat strategy of the people in power. The Jigna Vora incident happened only a decade back, so it is not a story that needs to alter too much to include decaying modern-day journalism. Hansal Mehta and Mrunmayee Lagoo want to narrate this as a story about a woman’s struggle and a less preachy conversation about ethical journalism. And it succeeds in having that impact. That much-talked-about scene where Imran quotes Jonathan Foster would have received thunderous applause if this was a theatrically released movie.
Relevance of the theme is something creators use as an excuse to ignore the flaws of shows and movies on a writing level. The deep diving into the world of journalism within a minimal time is done fascinatingly in Scoop. I mean, the next time I meet a crime reporter, I might not even struggle to understand their lingo. When it comes to the courtroom drama part of the series, the writing has a bit of a filmy aspect. But it is a very balanced drama that merges well with realism. The editing gives pretty good space for the jail term of Jagruti. When you eventually see her getting excited about getting to shower properly, you do feel for that character as the trauma was captured effectively. Achint Thakkar’s music has that same Scam 1992 texture, but it really intensifies the helplessness in a scene.
Karishma Tanna, as Jagruti Pathak, delivers a spectacular performance. From the initial enthusiasm and ambitions of an independent working woman to the turmoil through which she goes through, she makes sure that the audience will feel bad for that character. The scene where she simply cries when she hears she has got the bail really moves you. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, as Imran, has great elegance in how he carried that character, and you could sense the authority and clarity in how he uttered those lines. Even though the role was pretty minimal, Prosenjit Chatterjee as Sen Dada had that veteran charisma. It was great and surprising to see Harman Baweja as JCP Shroff. I don’t think in his entire filmography, he has got a character with such nuances. And he looked convincing as this ailing officer with a lot of regrets. Ravish Desai, as Bhavesh, was slightly over-enthusiastic. Tanmay Dhanania, Deven Bhojani, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Swaroopa Ghosh, Inayat Sood, and several other names are there in the long star cast, and I feel almost every character has got a moment that will register their character for the audience.
Scoop ends in that typical based on true story style by talking about the real people involved in the Jigna Vora trials, and the series goes on to show the details of several other journalists who were either killed or arrested, ranging from Gauri Lankesh to Siddique Kappan. Scoop is a non-preachy critique of sensation-obsessed Godi media journalism.
Scoop is a non-preachy critique of sensation-obsessed Godi media journalism.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended