When we started watching “The Broken News,” our first thought was, “What is it with Zee5 making TV series adaptations of popular British shows?” Can the creators really not do better with all the talents they seem to have? Watching Jaideep Ahlawat is nothing short of a delight, and he really livens up the screen, but his recent ventures like “Bloody Brothers” and “The Broken News” have made us very skeptical about his choices. On the other hand, we were reminded of what a natural Sonali Bindre is on-screen. Shriya Pilgaonkar needed more layers to her character to justify her talent. Overall, this show is a case of a mediocre script being wasted on a brilliant cast. Allow us to explain why.
The Ethics Of Journalism With Dipankar Sanyal And Amina Qureshi
The first episode of “The Broken News” opens with Radha Bhargav speaking to a group of reporters. She says that she wants to tell them the real truth behind “Operation Umbrella.” But before she can say more, she is taken away by the police, though she vows that they will not be able to silence her.
The show goes back three months, and we see her as a reporter who works for Awaz Bharti, whose direct competitor is Josh 24*7. Amina Qureshi and Dipankar Sanyal are the editors of these channels, respectively, and they are on the absolute opposite ends of the “journalism ethics” spectrum. While Dipankar is someone who believes in giving the public the “spice” of the news, Amina is the one who rallies for the truth and the unbiased representation of the facts. It is made infinitely clear in the first episode itself, when Dipankar chooses to shame and sabotage a woman’s career on national TV for a leaked MMS clip from years ago, whereas Amina chooses to speak about the violation of her rights. The former is rather ruthless with his news, which in his own words, is the ‘boring part.’ He is interested in creating stories. Full points to Jaideep Ahlawat for artfully bringing in an air of mystery to such an unscrupulous character. Radhika works for Awaz, and she is a talented investigative journalist. Dipankar constantly tries to poach her for his own channel. But he is unsuccessful as Radha does not agree with his style of journalism. But on the other hand, they have a certain professional relationship of their own where they help each other with cases, and Dipankar offers to help her find out about “Operation Umbrella,” a secret that holds the key to Radha’s past and something that she is desperately trying to find the answers to.
Throughout “The Broken News” Season 1, both the editors are working on the same cases for their prime-time news, but by dealing with different aspects of them. For example, in the Gulnar case or the case where a young boy commits suicide, Awaz talks about it with empathy, but Josh 24*7 exploits the factor of his homosexuality for their ratings. This is very sadly representative of the current state of our media, where sensationalism takes precedence over facts. And this is where the show spectacularly fails. At the risk of sounding like Dipankar, we have to say that when people are investing their time in your content, it is your responsibility to make it interesting. But the show only manages to be bland. A case in point is the Akhil Kapoor case. It was nothing less than feminist bait, if we may use the term. They got everything right, from the reasons victims don’t come forward to speak up to the layered nature of abuse. But it felt like they got the dialogues from some of the articles written online, instead of letting them have their own authenticity. Plus, it has started to look like sexual abuse and harassment have become a mainstay of content in the “investigative thriller” genre. We do not deny that it is a necessary topic that needs addressing, but it does have a strange baity quality to it. We blame the writing. We also blame the writing for why we couldn’t believe Amina’s struggle with her conscience. She starts out as a beacon for rightful reporting but is convinced to steer away from it in less than two dialogues by the person offering to fund the news channel. Where was the dilemma, other than in her words, and even those felt so abrupt?
How Does Radha Uncover Operation Umbrella?
Right from the beginning of “The Broken News” Season 1, Operation Umbrella has been the silent driving force behind Radha. She wants to find out what it is about and is investigating the leads. Dipankar seems to know about this and constantly offers to help, in exchange for her working for Josh 24*7. Radha has her own sources and means of investigation. She finds out that the whole operation is connected to some shell companies. It also seems to be the case that keeps her so tethered to her cause of sticking to the truth, no matter what. This is what prompts her to put herself in harm’s way when she goes undercover at Akhil Kapoor’s party or when she gives his information to Josh 24*7 because she just wants justice for the victims, which her channel is unable to deliver. But she does not place all her eggs in one basket and goes ahead to find the evidence against Akhil Kapoor, convincing her boss to not be swayed under pressure. But she only turns the tables on them by quitting her job immediately after the interview and joining Josh 24*7. We will come to know soon enough that she has done so for the purpose of running three stories in prime time, which she would not have been able to do at Awaz Bharati. On her first day at her new job, we couldn’t help but chuckle at her conversation with Dipankar, who’s now her new boss. No matter how hard you are headhunted, you will still have to “prove” yourself every time.
She lasts in Josh’s 24*7 for a whole day. Dipankar’s sensationalist attitude is too much for her to stomach, and once she realizes that she would not be able to get the news she wants, she goes back to Awaz Bharti. After an emotionally charged confrontation with Amina, she realizes that her hot-headedness needs to be supplemented with hard facts for effective journalism. Awaz Bharti rejoins Radha as the new face of their prime-time show. Together, the channel decides to keep investigating the Home Minister until they figure out what “Operation Umbrella” is.
‘The Broken News’ Season 1: Ending Explained- What Is Operation Umbrella? Does Radha Get To Reveal The Truth?
It has been said by Radha from the beginning of “The Broken News” Season 1 that her roommate lost her life due to Operation Umbrella. She was a reporter as well and was murdered to cover up the truth regarding the story. It is from her notes and listed sources that Radha and Awaz Bharti track down the story. It is about how a company was responsible for the poisoning of an entire village due to their careless disposal of uranium. Scores of people are suffering from cancer because of the recklessness of the company, and it is actively working to cover its tracks. Radha successfully manages to bring the truth to light, but it is not enough. She needs more evidence to support her case and is on her way to finding it. But as it turns out, that was never Operation Umbrella. It was an elaborate scheme by the company Vectanet to monitor 11 million people and collect their data constantly through electronic devices. This data is going to be used to control these people and even sell their information for a price.
Dipankar is called in by the people of Vectanet, telling him to sabotage Awaz’s story at any cost. He was told that he would be given the salary and benefits of a global-ranked CEO as well as a promise that he would win the divorce case against his wife. Dipankar gives in and asks Radha to not run the story, but she tells him that he needs to be the journalist that he used to be and help them break the story. But a call from his daughter Ahana, crying and saying that she wants to live with him, solidifies his intention to go against the Operation Umbrella story. Both the channels run the feature, with Awaz talking about how it is the right to privacy of an entire country and Dipankar talking about how only criminals need to fear it. As seen in the first episode, Radha is arrested while Dipankar is celebrated for his journalism.
We are sure there will be a Season 2 of “The Broken News.” While not a satisfying season, it was definitely not the end of the story, and there needed to be more episodes to give it the ending it deserved. Radha needs to get justice, Dipankar needs to be put in his place, and there needs to be an answer to the question of ethics vs. money in journalism. Season 2 is a must.
Final Thoughts: Does ‘The Broken News’ Work At All?
We would say that it does, in bits. To repeat ourselves, it was a brilliant cast that was able to sell even the most mundane of scenes. We have decided that, despite our doubts, we will watch anything with Jaideep Ahlawat in it. The show had a great premise and was capable of really doing something, considering the current climate of journalism, but it really suffered from blandness. “The Broken News” was a show that needed soul and heart, all of which were clearly lacking. The cast deserved a better script. Finally, what we feel about the show is that while it is not great, it is just about mediocre. We will only tune in to the second season for the actors. They were the real joy of these eight episodes. Other than that, Zee5 really needs to up its content game. Poor adaptations of popular shows are not going to cut it anymore.