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OTT: When a crime reporter takes on cops and criminals
Tightrope walk is a condition in which crime reporters find themselves quite often in their professional lives. The more meticulous one is, the more...
Tightrope walk is a condition in which crime reporters find themselves quite often in their professional lives. The more meticulous one is, the more committed one is to ferreting out the truth (and attempting to stay unbiased in a highly polarised and dangerous environment in the process) the scale of difficulties in navigating the hazardous twists and turns of one’s work routine only keeps climbing higher and higher. In this milieu, working for the print media two decades ago must have been a massive challenge for reporters in the law and order beat.
With social media channels burgeoning one by one and the rapid spread of mobile phones, the race to stay ahead of the competitors and chase the elusive ‘exclusive’ must have been nerve-wracking for the print media journalists. Especially in Mumbai, the financial capital of India which has always been known to be a haven for economic offenders, underworld dons and all kinds of sleazy, black money types over the years.
The Netflix series ‘Scoop’ which showcases the Mumbai of the earlier part of the new millennium stays right in the middle of all these happenings which is a volatile mix of professional rivalry, warfare between two warlords Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan and how the media willingly or unwittingly plays into the hands of the investigating agencies who keep feeding the media and playing one against the other. Based on a crime reporter Jigna Vora’s book ‘Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison’, described as a biographical memoir, this six-episode web series is a gripping depiction of the environment which existed then. Karishma Tanna, who plays Vora onscreen is clearly the top of the pops as she comes up with an excellent, heart-wrenching performance of a scribe whose overreaching ambition leads to her downfall, even if, unwittingly.
Supported by a super star cast which has Prosenjit Chatterjee in a short but impressive role as the murdered journalist, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as the Editor who backs Karishma till the end, Harman Baweja as the self-serving cop and other names who complement these lead characters, the web series is an unvarnished look at how heartless the system can be, if an individual decides to slug it out and combat one’s adversaries.
The real-life story is surely a welcome addition to the barely genuine and well-researched films/ OTT originals which throw a light on media matters. It also can hopefully be a referral for later times when a deeper study is taken up on how Indian media existed over the years since Independence and what were its high and low points.