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Scoop | Karishma Tanna: After being in the industry for 18 years, I've still not lost hope | Exclusive

Karishma Tanna is hoping that after Scoop, there's a shift in the gears of her career.

Scoop | Karishma Tanna: After being in the industry for 18 years, I've still not lost hope | Exclusive
Karishma Tanna/Instagram
  • Aishwarya Vasudevan

Last Updated: 08.59 AM, Jun 02, 2023


Karishma Tanna is not new to long-form content, as for almost two decades she has become a household name with the TV series she has been a part of. The actor is also not new to the OTT world, as she has starred in several web series, namely Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat, Bullets, Guilty Minds, and Hush Hush. But when asked if her latest series, Scoop on Netflix, will be the game-changer for her, the actor told OTTplay exclusively, "I did feel that this is a very strong role and a very strong character, and I'm hoping that the light shifts."

While talking to us, Karishma spoke at length about how she bagged the role of Jagruti Pathak, based on the life of Jigna Vora, the former journalist who penned the book Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison. Hansal Mehta adapted the book into the series Scoop, which shows her story after she was accused of murdering journalist J. Dey in June 2011.

The actor also shared about playing a Gujarati in the series and how that helped her organically, as she herself is a Gujarati.


Edited excerpts below...

What was your instant reaction when you got to know they were considering you for the role of Jagruti Pathak?

So I didn't know that they were considering me. The whole process is that first you have to audition, and then there are a lot of actresses who are auditioning for the same role. At that time, you don't get into the details of what the role is about. Whatever two-to-three scripts or two scenes you get, you are performing. I got a briefing that she's a crime reporter, and she's always wanting to be on top; she wants the front page; she's very ambitious, and all that. When I finished the audition, I got to know it was for Netflix and Hansal Mehta. I messaged him a year or two ago when Scam 1992 came out. I'm like, "Sir, I love your show, Scam 1992, and I would love to work with you." I put it in the universe, and I put it out to Hansal sir also. He said, "Thank you. Soon," and all that.

Then I'm like, "Wow, I have to bag this role." I was really positive about it, and I was really hoping that I would get it. After a few days, I got a call back, and I was jumping. I couldn't believe that I had this female protagonist project. I was very happy, and I still can't thank Hansal sir, Netflix, and God enough for having that much faith and confidence in me.

Do you think Scoop will be the game-changer in your career that you have been waiting for so long?

Yes, I mean, when I was acting and going through the whole journey, I did feel that this is a very strong role and a very strong character, and I'm hoping that the light shifts. The way people look at me, I hope I get cast for more meaningful and serious roles, like meaty ones. I've not taken up anything till now; I'm just waiting for the right project to come my way.

It's so great to see you have had this patience for a long time.

And with the passion I have for this work that I do and the passion I have for acting, I have never lost hope even once. There are highs and lows in everyone's life, and that is with everybody. People forget that it happens to everyone, not just actors. We are always in the spotlight, which is why it shines more. It's just how you face the lows and become strong. Experiencing the lows means that when you have the highs, you enjoy them. That's what I've been facing, and till now I've still not lost hope, and till now I'm very, very positive after being in this industry for 18 years also. I still want to do a lot of things, and I still feel like I have just arrived here.

The show covers one of the biggest events in journalism: J. Dey's killing (here, of course, Sen). Scoop revolves around what happened after that. So, did you meet Jigna at the time to understand the case beyond her memoir?

So I didn't meet Jigna. I didn't go online too much to do research. Of course, I wanted to know who Jigna Vora is and the little details about the incident that happened. But when I met Hansal sir, he was very clear that, "This is inspired by this book, which is written by Jigna Vora. However, I want you to make your own character; I'm giving you a clean slate; you fill your colours in it the way you want; the way you want to predict the role." When I read the script, everything was very nicely written, including the brackets. Everything was so beautiful and detailed. It said all the emotions, all the phases, and all the layers were nicely put in the script.

In the show, there's hardly any work-life balance shown for Jagruti, given the nature of her job. You have been a part of long series, even this one, which is taxing to be in for months. But are you able to let go of your character once you are out of sets?

Yeah, mostly I do that because I get into the character and feel it. If it's emotionally draining, then it takes a little time for me to come out of it. The most difficult part was the jail sequence. I was so invested in that because of the ambience and the art director had done such a fabulous job by creating the jail, which looked real and was a real jail in Baroda. So that took a little bit of time because when I used to come home, I used to feel very drained. I used to tell my family that I was a little emotionally drained and wouldn't be able to talk much. But other than that, I finished my shoot, and I left the character on the set. I'm a different person only when I'm with my family and my loved ones. So I balance it that way.

There's a balcony scene between Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub's character Imran and Jagruti where they talk about journalism. You see how different their approaches to a story are, and yet they are in the same organisation, successfully standing by one another. Has this happened to you?

I'm a very director's actor; if he has a vision and if he thinks that this is how he wants it, I am okay with doing it that way because he has his vision. That's why he's written this character, and that's why he's making this. But if there is something where I can give him another take and do it my way, he has always been okay. Be it Scoop or any other project, I've never faced this problem; arguments or differences with actors or directors.

There's also a debate about how men and women are treated when they get promotions. This often happens, even in the entertainment industry. What do you have to say about it?

It's definitely there; that's why in Scoop there is also this line: "A strong woman is always a threat." It is, and that's just the way I think the mindset is. But I think now it's changing a lot; people are becoming more aware that there are strong women also, and this is how it's going to be, and women are not going anywhere. Now they're very independent; they're out there; they're actually everywhere, I would say, and I don't think so now that it's a threat; it's a reality now, I feel.

Do you believe that there's always a drawback to being overly passionate about work? That is actually what happened with Jagruti.

Totally. Initially, why would they say that she's a threat because women were not that outgoing and all that earlier? Now they are, so the mindset has changed. I think even men understand that women are equally important and that they are on par. So the mindset is nice now, I feel.

Both you and Hansal Mehta are Gujaratis, as is Jagruti. Were the dialogues you said in Gujarati organic or improvised from your side?

So I was told that Hansal Sir wanted a Gujarati actor. He was auditioning other actors also, but his first choice would have been a Gujarati actor, because on the set, if you're not Gujarati, doing impromptu or improvising in Gujarati would have been a little difficult. So he thought that on the spot, if he wanted to change a line or if something came from the artist's mind, it would be in Gujarati. There are a lot of other Gujarati actors who are great in our industry. But then I'm lucky enough to get this role. In between, there are so many dialogues where I've just said it in Gujarati that if you see the episodes, you will know.

Scoop is currently streaming on Netflix.