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Scoop review: Karishma Tanna shines in this gripping Hansal Mehta directorial that should not be missed!

Harman Baweja as JCP Shroff comes as a pleasant surprise and Prosenjit Chatterjee in a special appearance too leaves a mark.


Watch 'Scoop' trailer here

Last Updated: 08.32 PM, Jun 02, 2023


Jagruti Pathak (Karishma Tanna) is a passionate, driven, star crime reporter who is rarely off the front page. She’s the Deputy Bureau Chief at The Eastern Age newspaper and has risen from the ranks in a brief span of seven years. She’s also a single mother to a loving 10-year-old son who makes for the other most important aspect of her life, apart from her extremely demanding, high-pressure job as a journalist. Her righteous and ethical editor Imran Siddiqui (Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub) acknowledges her potential and often acts like her mentor and guide, while also standing up for her when the going gets tough. 

Jagruti’s contacts with her sources, particularly that with JCP Harshvardhan Shroff (Harman Baweja), often raise eyebrows of those around her and leave quite a few of her fellow journalists and colleagues envious. Her world comes crashing down when she is accused and arrested for conspiring to murder another senior crime reporter Jaideb Sen (Prosenjit Chatterjee). The rest of the web series chronicles Jagruti’s tryst with the law, judicial system, police, and inmates in the women’s cell as she awaits justice while being undertrial. 


Inspired by real-life incidents and journalist Jigna Vora’s memoir titled Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison, Hansal Mehta’s Scoop draws you into the fast-paced life of Jagruti Pathak right from the word go. The director wastes no time in getting straight to the point to give you enough glimpses into the world of Jagruti Pathak. The world-building here is exceptional. It also helps that Mehta's co-writers Mrunmayee Lagoo and Mirat Trivedi have left no stone unturned in paying attention to the minutest details while creating the world of Jagruti and the people that surround her. 

Of course, they had a lot of material to tap into (especially since the real incident was widely reported), but the way they’ve utilized and incorporated the essential and carefully crafted the narrative keeping you engaged (mostly) is commendable. Mehta had certainly set a bar for himself with Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story. With Scoop, he definitely lives up to it, if not raises it further. We saw a few glimpses of Mehta’s fascination with the portrayal of the nitty-gritties of journalism in Scam 1992, with Scoop, he goes a few steps further. He not just showcases the intricacies in the life of reporters and all that they go through in order to get an “exclusive”, but also delves into what happens when the reporter chasing a story, becomes the story itself.

Karishma Tanna in Scoop
Karishma Tanna in Scoop

A lot of instances in the series feel quite authentic, especially in the first half. Whether it’s journalists liaising with their sources, men in positions of power making a pass at a female journalist, the different kinds of conversations at different tables in press clubs, or the heated discussions in newsrooms during edit meets – it is all immensely close to the real world. It’s easy to lose focus and fall prey to the temptation of including a lot of things in the narrative when you have so much of well-researched material to work with, but mad props to the writers who never lose sight of their protagonist, while assimilating all the necessary details even in the sub-plots. 

It also helps that Karan Vyas is extremely sharp and crisp with his dialogues and that elevates the screenplay further. Sample the scene where Jagruti explains that in her profession, being “out of sight” is equivalent to being “out of mind”. Or, the one where her editor Imraan explains that a journalist’s job is to “look out of the window” to do a fact-check rather than merely quoting two people with contrasting views on whether it's raining or not. 

Karishma Tanna in Scoop
Karishma Tanna in Scoop

While the first half of the series delves deeper into the world and work of Jagruti Pathak, the second half chronicles her fall from the ladder as the reporter becomes the reported. The very qualities that helped her rise to the ranks are now labeled as her flaws. Her relentless pursuit of exclusive stories, contacts with the right people, ambitious nature, and can-do attitude in a male-dominated profession among others come under the scanner. “Saat saalon mein usse teen promotions mile. Woh apna kaam nikalwa hi leti thi”, says her jealous colleague Pushkar (Tanmay Dhanania).

Another nice touch is the parallel side-story of Pushkar’s wife (Ira Dubey), who faces discrimination at work just because she one-upped her male colleague to secure a promotion. While Pushkar encourages his wife to “give it back” to her co-workers, he ends up becoming one of them with respect to Jagruti, at his workplace. The second half mostly puts the limelight on Jagruti’s time in prison, there’s also a media trial that happens in parallel to the court proceedings as she spends months in jail waiting to be out on bail. Meanwhile, the police are desperately trying to establish her links with the murder of Jaideb Sen.

Karishma Tanna in Scoop
Karishma Tanna in Scoop

Karishma Tanna’s portrayal of the ambitious Jagruti Pathak is convincing in the first half. However, it is in the second half, particularly in the scenes involving her time spent in prison, that she truly shines. Even though, the treatment of these scenes could’ve been thoda hatke than what we’ve already witnessed in a number of movies and shows earlier, Tanna strips herself off the initial vanity and brings the much-needed vulnerability to her character. Some of her best scenes include the ones where she gets bullied by the inmates of the women’s prison on several instances, gets referred to as “Don ki girlfriend”, when she crosses paths with the criminals who she once reported on, in the same cell, among others. Tanna’s able and career-best performance forms the backbone of Scoop.

Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub as Imran is every journalist’s dream editor. He plays his part with earnest restraint, emerging nothing short of a hero. He also gets some very well-written lines to deliver. This is a part that required an understated, humane yet self-righteous quality and Ayyub nails it brilliantly. Harman Baweja as JCP Shroff comes as a pleasant surprise. Of course, he’s unrecognizable at first but later you realize how well his potential has been harnessed on screen by Mehta. A worthy comeback!

Harman Baweja in Scoop
Harman Baweja in Scoop

Among the other cast members, Prosenjit Chatterjee is once again exceptional in a special appearance as Jagruti’s rival senior crime reporter Jaideb Sen. His towering screen presence more than makes up for the less screen time. Tannishtha Chatterjee delivers well in her brief role while Deven Bhojani is superb as Jagruti’s maternal uncle.

However, with six episodes, each clocking in about an hour-long run time, Scoop becomes a tad bit stretched, especially in the last two episodes. Amitesh Mukherjee’s editing in the first half is razor-sharp but loses steam in the second half, where, about 10-15 minutes could’ve easily been chopped. 

Karishma Tanna in a still from Scoop (Courtesy: Netflix)
Karishma Tanna in a still from Scoop (Courtesy: Netflix)

Achint Thakkar’s background score works. However, Thakkar has delivered better work in the past with Scam 1992, Rocket Boys, and Monica O My Darling. Some plot points seemed “not fully cooked”, like the one involving a cameo from Shikha Talsania in the prison or what eventually happened to JCP Shroff - we never get to know. Also, there’s a lot of name-dropping which may end up becoming a bit jarring for those who are not very familiar with the Mumbai crime and underworld scene.

While Karishma Tanna has delivered her career-best performance in Scoop, the rest of the ensemble cast has also put-up solid acts. Hansal Mehta has once again proved why his directorials are much anticipated and worth the hype. Do not miss this gripping series, must watch!

(All images via Twitter, unless mentioned otherwise)


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