Scam 1992- India’s Finest Web Series Till Date

In the recently started rat race of the OTT platforms in India, Sony Liv has so far been lagging behind. But with one show they have toppled all the competitors. At least for this festive season when viewership traditionally remains higher than the average. Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story is undoubtedly one of the finest biopics ever made in India. Based on the fraudster ( or a maverick genius?) Harshad Mehta’s life as depicted in Sucheta Dalal and Debasish Basu’s bestselling book ‘The Scam’, ‘Scam 1992’ is yet another earthen, gripping and thought provoking work by the Director Hansal Mehta of ‘Aligarh’, ‘Shahid’ or ‘Omerta’ fame.

Set in the late 70s , 80s and early 90s, the show steals your attention with its first scene. The moments from the past have been so magically recreated that you feel like you are time travelling to those years. Even though plenty of CGI effects have been used, the creators have mixed those with such panache and ease that you don’t feel repulsed even for a single moment.

Each and every dialogue is intelligent and has a strong punch underneath. I was wondering how they could maintain such consistence in writing the dialogues from beginning to the end, after ten almost forty minutes episodes. Unlike other cheap shows available online, there has never been any attempt to make the dialogues mushy or melodramatic. The dialogues as I found form the soul of this beautifully crafted show.

Many will shy away from it thinking its a lexicon of jargons commonly used in the stock market. But hey, you are making a big mistake. You won’t even be wrong to take it as your first basic and genuine guide to the stock market. Almost every phenomenon, event, activity of the share market has been thoroughly and lucidly explained by the director, so much so that even if you do not possess any interest in the stock market, you may end up dabbling there to try your luck once you finish watching this series. The creator was not in a rush to finish the things. And that has given him the liberty to show every minute detail of Harshad Mehta’s struggling period, his meteoric rise to glory and eventually the disgraceful end. The journey is long but not for a single moment it appears exhausting. The unemotional approach to depict Harshad’s life is the forte of the series and the creator does his job with élan. At times Harshad appears very much vulnerable, at times he is emotional, at times he is crooked. But throughout, he is one of his own kind. The non judgmental tone of the director to portray the Big Bull of Bombay Stock Exchange leaves it up to you to make your own image of him- a genius or a monster.

The show is bold in its depiction of the contemporary political scenario of India albeit without any distinct desire to appear partisan to any ideology, very much banal these days in the age of sycophancy. Harshad’s connections with the New Delhi power corridors show the true color of Indian politics. Use the one with power and dump him when he runs out of gas.

Now coming to the best part of the series, acting. Pratik Gandhi as the talented Mr.Mehta has done a fantastic job so much so that I was wondering why Bollywood has ignored such a powerhouse performer so far. A product of Indian theatre activism, Gandhi is phenomenal in his portrayal of such a complex character. He has the potentials to reach the league of extraordinary gentlemen like the stalwarts Guru Dutt, Nasiruddin Shah, Om Puri or Irrfan Khan. He is so much vocal even when he is not uttering a single word. He is expressive even when he has the least of the scopes to emote. He is monumental in his depiction of Harshad Mehta. The other actors like Shreya Dhanwanthary, Satish Kaushik, Rajat Kapoor, Sharib Hashmi- everyone does justice to their roles. Without an iota of doubt, you can watch Scam 1992 just for the brilliance of its lead actors.

The final verdict- Scam 1992 is an honest and earnest effort from Hansal Mehta to depict the scamster whose name sounds almost like his own- Harshad Mehta. There are no ostentations to glorify the first real superstar or supervillain of the Indian stock market. What he does is perfect portrayal of a decade and a half in the bygone era of the Indian money market which strongly needed a megalomaniac like Harshad to expose the inherent weaknesses of the Indian financial system. Scam 1992 is a victory for everyone associated with its creation.

My rating – 9.5 out of 10

Available on Sony Liv

News Reporter

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