Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for hard hitting crime drama series “Scoop” from acclaimed filmmaker Hansal Mehta (“Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story”).
Based on journalist Jigna Vora’s 2019 memoir “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison,” the series is created by Mehta and Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul (“Thappad”). The book recounts how renowned journalist Jyotirmoy Dey was murdered by members of the Chhota Rajan gang in 2011. A few months later, fellow journalist and crime reporter Vora was arrested in connection with the murder.
“Scoop” marks Mehta and Netflix’s maiden partnership and the series is set up as the first season of a franchise. Mehta has directed all six episodes of the first season.
The series follows Jagruti Pathak, a headline-writing journalist who is caught between the nexus of the police, the underworld and the media. “It explores that nexus through a personal story,” Mehta told Variety.
“The book is primarily based in the prison, I wanted to expand the scope of the book because I found the world that led her to prison very fascinating,” Mehta said. “It became this larger drama about a middle-class girl in Mumbai with the middle-class aspirations of being the best crime reporter, having pieces on page one. She blindly chases those ambitions not realizing that in the bargain, the reporter becomes the reported, so that fascinated me. I found the elements of a thrilling, investigative procedural drama.”
Karishma Tanna plays the lead role of Jagruti Pathak. Mehta says that in her audition she had “the X factor” and that she “lights up a room.” The cast also includes Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub who has been working with Mehta since “Shahid” (2012) and the director describes him as a “constant collaborator.” “You can rely on him to make sure that your characters become more dignified, and that they become more human, he’s one of my favorite actors,” Mehta said, also extolling the virtues of Tannishtha Chatterjee (“Joram”) and Tanmay Dhanania (“The Rapist”).
The cast includes veteran Prasenjit Chatterjee (“Jubilee”). “On camera, he dominates, there’s something about him that is so overpowering. You don’t look at anything else in the frame. That’s his charm. You realise what a star he is and why he’s been around for so many years,” Mehta said.
The most left field casting is that of Harman Baweja, who debuted as a Bollywood leading man with “Love Story 2050” (2008) and wasn’t seen much after a couple of more films that underperformed at the box office. “Scoop,” where he plays a senior police officer, is Baweja’s comeback show.
“He has nothing to lose, which is why he’s so good. He’s so surprising, he’s done it with so much of ease,” Mehta said. “He is a very mature actor, his understanding of the character was good. And he came with no baggage that he had to be presented in a particular way, that he is a hero, that whole hero baggage is not on the table anymore. It took some convincing for him to do it as he had not acted for 15 years.”
Monika Shergill, VP content, Netflix India, described “Scoop” as “a powerful, untold story of the unexpected cost of ambition that can make a victim out of a winner in a second.”
Next up for Mehta is a film currently titled “The Buckinghamshire Murders,” starring Kareena Kapoor, which is complete. There’s also the next season of “Scam,” for streamer SonyLIV. His series on Mahatma Gandhi for Applause Entertainment is due to start filming at the end of July.
“Scoop” is produced by Matchbox Shots, Sarita Patil and Dikssha Jyote Routray. It streams from June 2.