Throughout the six episodes, the Netflix series Scoop ponders over the reason behind Jigna Vora’s arrest. This a question that continues to haunt Vora, and even after a lengthy court trial, she does not have an answer to it. Scoop started out as factual but gradually started to lean towards conspiracy. While the accusation is sensational, Vora’s snippet interview at the end confirms that the answer to the question remains unknown to her. Inspired by Jigna Vora’s “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison,” Scoop starts off strong but loses its impact towards the end. The names are changed in the fictional retelling of Vora’s story, which permanently leaves a scar in her life.
A hustler by nature, Jagruti Pathak was offered the position of Deputy Bureau Chief after working as a journalist for seven years. She knew her way with words and possessed the talent of sensing what could be the next breaking news story. Jagruti was ambitious, persistent, and always made it a point to repeatedly report newsworthy of the front page. She was well connected with the police and, at the same time, had sources within the mafia gangs. The pressure to constantly deliver and to stay relevant often got to her, and she tended to report her hunches rather than news. Her mentor and editor-in-chief, Imraan, consistently reminded Pathak of the importance of ethics in journalism, something that was gradually dissipating with time.
While Pathak had become a respectable crime reporter, she could not match the stature of the seasoned journalist, Jaideb Sen. He was inspirational but, at the same time, a competitor. Jagruti was intrigued by a theory Sen Da proposed after the murder of Hussain, who worked as a driver for Dawood Ibrahim’s brother, Iqbal Kaskar. Jagruti believed there was potential in his theory, and she was not ready to miss out on breaking news. It was the sudden death of Jaideb Sen that completely changed the situation. Sen was silenced before he could report the story he was investigating. Sen believed that Chota Rajan was taking the blame for murders he did not commit, but the reason behind it remained unknown. Chota Rajan publicly accepted that he murdered Sen, and he further went on to confide to the police that it was Jagruti Pathak who instigated him against Sen.
Created by Hansal Mehta and Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul, Scoop is visually simplistic and strikes an emotional chord. A headstrong, independent woman is always considered a threat to society, and the story of Jagruti Pathak throws light on how far patriarchal society is willing to go to penalize a woman for doing her job. In a room full of men, Jagruti was delivering the front-page news repeatedly. Naturally, she became the topic of discussion at parties, and her personal life was dissected. Her relationship with her mentor was scrutinized, and her caliber was reduced to dust. The character of Pushkar was shaped interestingly. A fellow reporter who blamed Jagruti for his inability to deliver news and speculated about the nature of her friendship with Imraan faced a dilemma when his partner complained about the rampant sexism she was subjected to after getting promoted.
Pushkar did not mind dating a powerful woman, but when it came to the workplace, he could not tolerate one. Pushkar’s spinelessness gave the irks, and actor Tanmay Dhanania deserves complete credit for it. Karishma Tanna delivers an earnest performance as the dynamic and fierce Jagruti Pathak. What an incredible journey Tanna had, starting from her “Kyu Ki” days. She proves that one does not need a Bollywood connection to lead a Netflix series. It is the sensitive handling of the case that makes the series an interesting watch. Hansal Mehta and Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul carefully developed the character of Jagruti Pathak, inspired by Jigna Vora. The calmness of Imraan, portrayed by Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, complimented the chaotic Jagruti. The torchbearer of truth and ethics in journalism, there is a heroic undertone to the character of Imraan.
After his brilliant performance in Jubilee, stellar Bengali film actor Prosenjit Chatterjee returns to the screen as the composed senior journalist Jaideb Sen. I personally think that Sen’s death was a little hastened. The character of Jaideb Sen is based on the veteran Indian journalist Jyortirmoy Dey, and his ill-fated death deserved to be more than a plot device. We barely get to know the character, and all we are left with are anecdotes that do not make up for the lack of character depth. Maybe the idea was to not divert attention from Jagruti Pathak, but that is not a convincing enough reason.
Scoop brings to light the deteriorating condition of journalism with the constant rat race to make it to the front page and the dog-eat-dog nature of the media world. In recent times, we have frequently witnessed how the media hounds, speculates, and dissects characters to the extent of conducting media trials and announcing someone guilty without proper research. The shame that is brought on the victims of media trials is irreversible, and yet the constant mudslinging is mostly what journalism has been reduced to. There are journalists raising their voices for the right reasons, and it is shameful and infuriating how they are silenced either by arrests or even by death. Journalists with morals and ethics exist, but the problem is that the world is no longer accommodating of them. Imraan, as the only honest journalist after Jaideb Sen in the country, felt a little stretched. While Scoop tries to look at the situation objectively, there is a lack of balance in this aspect.
Overall, Scoop is an honest, non-decorative attempt to tell the story of Jigna Vora. A victim of mafia conspiracy and eventually a victim of a media trial. After Scam 1992, Hansal Mehta once again delivers a series worth watching.