Online streaming platforms (OTT) had a good run of generating quality products, which is almost over now. After producing gems of original content for about half a decade, they are giving up now. They, inevitably have opened the doors to production houses of both Hollywood and Bollywood to crap all over them. To be brutally honest, we saw this coming. Why wouldn’t powerful and nepotistic mafias, which are fueled by political propaganda, not claim of the pie of profit? They certainly would not want to sit behind and watch the lockdown to be lifted and the cinemas to open again.
Take these for example; we get to see Bobby Deol on Netflix, Yay ! remember him? The actor with three wholesome expressions in total!. Abhishekh Bachchan is coming in Series called ‘Scam’; calling him an actor itself is a scam! Netflix thought that we are missing them. The Princess Sonam Kapoor is also making a comeback. We all have seen this trailer of AK vs AK. She is apparently a hostage to Anurag Kashyap in some parallel universe. Her father, with his evolutionary advantage that is only relevant for a 15th-century pirate, runs around the city badmouthing which has already spilt over on my Twitter feed!. Soon we will have rest of the Kapoors and Khans and adopted families of Johar unloading buttload of stuff on an unsuspecting audience. In fact, We already have a show by king Karan based on mundane life events of Bollywood wives of yesteryear non-actors.
Hollywood is not much behind. During this December the Disney spoiled your childhood favorite movie ‘Mulan’ for good. What a BS reproduction of 90’s gem!. The Borat sequel was probably the most disappointing one. Borat was one of my favorite characters in this century. They’ve spent an entire move on political propaganda with the sole intention to contribute to the US election. Now, we’ll see Netflix and Amazon prime religiously bending over backwards to fulfil the socio-political fantasies and ideologies of a spectrum. E.g. Jack Ryan saves Venezuela from capitalism
This is very depressing. Many of TV viewers, such as me, had cancelled their DTH connection with the hope of weekend entertainment needs by OTT, only to find the history repeating itself.
While all these, few exceptions like Sony LIV are operating slightly differently. That, at least for now. They have released a couple of guiltfree, binge-worthy original content. One of such I am a big fan of is the “Scam 1992 – the Harshad Mehta story”. It’s a 10 episode short series, based on the book of Sucheta Dalal & Debashis Basu and directed by Jay and Hansal Mehta and steaming on Sony live.
I would recommend you stop doing whatever you are doing this Sunday afternoon and grab a popcorn bucket and binge this show. It’s that worth your time. This, especially if you have watched and loved two great movies, “the wolf of wall street” and “the big short”, although they are not prerequisites. This has a flavour of the game of throne as well, a pinch of it.
I will not spoil the plot for you. Still, the basic premise of the Series is a ‘rags to riches’ of Harshad Meta who was famously known as the Amitabh Bachchan of the stock market. He goes on to manipulating the equity market through the money market if India. The story covers a wide array of topics, including but not limited to: the loopholes of markets, regulatory shortcomings, political corruption, monopoly of big foreign players and in short ‘way things ran’ back then.
Trust me, you will enjoy it thoroughly. It’s probably the best OTT series since Chernobyl on Disney platform.
What went well
- The Story. If you did not live under the rock during the ’90s, you already know what the story is. If you were tasked by your parent to go through specific stock prices and business news of the dailies, you will 100% relate to this. Even if you did not know the back story, Series is presented in a manner that anyone can comprehend it without the knowhow of the stock or money market.
- The Casting. “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” – Food critic Anton Ego, Ratatouille. Most actors who cast in this Series came from a modest background but known to put heart into their performance. Let me take an example, Anjali Barot, who plays Mrs. Mehta, was known for the advertisement of vacuum cleaner, mattresses. I am not undermining them. It’s just that Hansal did cast her here, the nepotism infested industry would continue to cast her in the advertisements of 30 sec. There are 100s such characters in the Series, all of them have brought A level artistry as actors.
- Pratik Gandhi is the star of the show, I do now know anyone else could pull this off. I must confess that I do not have sufficient words to explain him.
- Direction, attention of details, narrations, period part of period drama, the design of characters. All spot on!
- Historical accuracy. The story had sent shock waves across the nation, was talk of the town and it even shattered glasses all the way till Delhi. The historical events, the depiction of big shots, characterization all depicted spectacularly. BTW, I still remember some of the scams authored by then government, the Hawala scam, St Kitts scam and this, are its myriad achievements. In fact, you must wait to fit another two decades for UPA2 to come back to power to have such a list of scams.
- The Script: the dialogues are so excellent and witty you will continue to think about it for a while. The dialogue delivery is even brilliant. Written brilliantly, delivered even more spectacularly.
They have designed an almost perfect OTT series – a hands-down winner.
As you know me, I cannot help but nit-pick some of the shortcomings. There were few.
- Due to the obligation to dumbing down the technicalities of the scan, Sucheta role takes a hit. For or most episodes Sucheta Dalal is portrayed as a glorified stenographer. For most of the discoveries, all she has to do is wait for that phone call or wait for a file to fall into her laps. I do not think that was the case in reality.
- One of the critical indicators of period drama is the altitude of the belt buckle and side slit of salwar kameez. If you get that right, you do not even need to indicate the era/year you are narrating. In 80s belt buckle was on diaphragm and slit of sales was on a knee. Over the decades, one descended and other ascended. I think the movie got it wrong.
- Mrs Mehta and Sucheta and few more characters did not age through the episodes.
- One of the most concerning fact is, did this Series whitewash the scam-ster? Agree that the show does call the spade as a spade for political, regulatory and banks and other government bodies. But when it comes to Harshad, they are a little less harsh.
Here’s the trailer for you.