Scoop tells the story of Jigna Vora, the deputy bureau chief of the Asian Age, but more importantly, it serves as an ode to those fearless journalists who, in their quest for the truth, had to sacrifice everything they had, even their lives in some cases. Scoop is based on true events, and the inspiration behind it is the book written by Jigna Vora, where she mentioned how she was victimized by the system and made a scapegoat because a few influential people didn’t want their truth to come to light.
Scoop is directed by Hansal Mehta, and we know that the man has a knack for creating riveting courtroom dramas (who can forget the 2012 film Shahid), and his films always shed light upon some or the other existent vice of our society that we fail to acknowledge amidst all the entertainment and drama that our media houses provide these days. The film, inspired by real life events, does not spare the fourth pillar of our democracy and comments on the fact that the roof that the pillar was supporting has fallen down in recent times and has been reduced to rubble.
The Netflix series, Scoop has some hard-hitting dialogues, especially the one spoken by Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, who has portrayed the character of Imran. Our favorite one of the lot is when Imran says that good journalism always led to controversy in the past, and now the times have changed so drastically that, ironically, controversy is considered to be good journalism. And it is rather true, as media houses have gone far beyond merely spreading misinformation. We understand that every print media outlet is dependent upon advertisements for their revenue, but the problem arises when the main objective of journalism becomes earning money and keeping the people sitting higher up the food chain happy.
The names of the characters have obviously been changed, and a few creative liberties might have been taken, but most of the events actually happened in real life. Karishma Tanna plays Jigna Vora in the series, and the name of the character is changed to Jagruti Pathak. We felt that Zeeshan Ayyub’s character, Imran Siddiqui, was loosely based on the eminent journalist Hussain Zaidi, who was working with Asian Age at that time, though Hansal Mehta would have taken inspiration from a lot of other investigative journalists. The series refrains from telling us on whom the characters of JCP Crime Branch Harshwardhan Shroff and ATS Chief Rakesh Mallik were based, but we believe that the inspiration would have been taken from the real-life police officers who were at the helm of affairs at that time. The name of the eminent journalist who died in real life was Jyotirmoy Dey, and his character in Scoop was played by Prasenjit Chatterjee.
Vora says in a straightforward manner that she doesn’t know how much truth there was in the whole Dawood-Mumbai Police nexus, but at that point in time, it did feel that a few influential people in the Mumbai crime branch were hiding something. Dey had his contacts in the right places, and he did believe that a few people in the Mumbai Police were trying to save Dawood Ibrahim by going against not only the Intelligence Bureau but also the nation. We don’t know if his speculations were backed by evidence or not, but we can safely assume that a highly reputed journalist wouldn’t blabber something if he didn’t have something to corroborate his testimony. It was true that during the early 2000s, Chota Rajan was blamed for everything that happened in Mumbai, and it did seem like a ploy incorporated by the concerned authorities to cover up the truth. There were times when the intelligence bureau made plans to capture Dawood Ibrahim, but somehow, each and every time, their plans got spoiled due to some inexplicable reasons.
We know how this system works, and we firmly believe that there is no smoke without fire. It is an established fact that Dawood did have links in the police force, and that is how he got to know about everything that was happening in the country. It is true that there were rumors about the ATS having prior knowledge about the twin blast case in 2003, yet they didn’t do anything about it. In Scoop, ATS chief Ramesh Mallik shuns the accusations and says that, though they might have been a bit negligent on their part, it was not like they intentionally let it happen. Chota Rajan always felt that the Indian agencies favored his nemesis, Dawood Ibrahim, and were unreasonably harsh towards him for no rhyme or reason. He did go on record to say that Dawood still had the power to influence a lot of decisions that were being made in India, though it could never be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Maybe the evidence wasn’t sufficient to prove it in court, but that didn’t mean that whatever Dey or Vora were saying was not right. I mean, if one does in-depth research on a subject matter on which Hussain Zaidi has the expertise, then one would find lacunae in an investigation that cannot be justified without making the link to the underworld. These investigative journalists were not daydreaming when they were talking about the nexus, though they were not able to find anything as the system is not so easy to crack.
Jigna Vora spent almost nine months in judicial custody, and in the end, it came out in the open that she was just being used as a source of distraction, as a scapegoat, so that the real identities of the culprits could never be exposed. It took Vora seven years to prove her innocence, and it broke her in ways that she wouldn’t have imagined. The real-life Jigna Vora says that though the wounds might have healed, the scars will stay forever. The trauma of the events was such that she was never able to go back to being a journalist again. Jigna did feel invisible at one point in time, but the jail time she served changed her perspective entirely. Today, she is happy, but she also understands how powerful the system is and what it is capable of doing, and she hopes that no other innocent person has to go through what she did.