Hansal Mehta’s Scoop is simultaneously an expose on unethical practices in media exposes and also a savage expose on how ambitious women are treated in predominantly male-dominated professions. Crime reporting is most assuredly a mail domain, and certainly no place for a single mother. This, Jagruti Pathak( the name given to crime reporter Jigna Vora who was accused in the murder of fellow crime reporter J Dey) found out the hard way.
Hansal Mehta’s research is remarkably rigorous. He has Jigna Vora’s memoir Behind Bars In Byculla: My Days In Prison to fall back on. But Mehta doesn’t go by the book. When has he ever? The series probes deep into the wounds and failings of the Indian media , the police force and crime investigative agencies without getting judgemental.
The nearly-flawless flow of the drama is undiluted by unnecessary diversion. Even at almost eight hours, Scoop is a whoop. It sweeps you along Jagruti’s unbelievable story . A large part of the credit for the sustained momentum goes to the actors. Karishma Tanna is incredibly in-character, her speech, body language clothes, ambitions and defiance of goundrules of journalism are brought to life in the performance.This is where Karishma Tanna’s career begins, ironically when Jagruti/Jigna’s career ends.
It would be criminal to single out performances in a series simmering with performing pride. But I must make mention of Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Jagruti’s unconditionally supportive editor (this is the first time I’ve seen this actor play a suave urban character, and what grace he has conferred on the role!) and Harman Baweja who is a portrait of restrained anguish as the Joint Commissioner of Police Harshvardhan Shroff who played a huge hand in Jagruti’s arrest.
There have been numerous films and series based on real-life crimes and investigations, none so chilling in its implications. The surreptitious manner in which the net closes in on Jagruti , the way her colleagues and friends let her down and the time in prison… these are filmed and edited with ruthless precision. And yet, while the narration is uninterrupted in its fund of ferociously focused drama, it doesn’t sacrifice the basic human emotions at the altar of the plot.
First and foremost, Scoop is a terrific story of crime and redemption . Beyond that it is masterful study of human failings and feelings, of atonement and justice and a cautionary tale about crossing the line in the course of one’s professional duty.
If you have ever been part of the media’s breathless pursuit of scoops, this series will haunt you. If you don’t know how the media works, Scoop will still haunt you for days and weeks. A warning: do not start this unless you have the time to complete it.