Seasons 1 and 2 of Mumbai Diaries introduced characters who go through an arc and finally come out as better people at the end of the day. Both the stories in the show were about how twenty-four hours of adversity change the way people think about their lives and work.
One of those characters in the show is Mansi Hirani, who began as an up-and-coming television journalist who wanted to make it big in the field. Mansi is a representation of sensationalist journalism, which was on the rise in the early 2000s, and the trend still thrives. Viewers still like stories that the people who consume claim are hardcore, but at the center, there is no substance, nor does it bring any change to the lives of people. Journalism is supposed to question the status quo and not just make inconsequential statements. Mansi’s boss Malini pushed her to put herself out there as a journalist and seek the kind of news that would give only an hour’s worth of gratification, not something that would have a long-lasting impact.
As a journalist, Mansi had an ethical responsibility towards people and made sure that problems needed to be sorted out instead of yelling at each other in newsrooms. She was being prepared by Malini to take up the anchor job if she was willing to bring up sensational stories. Mansi had to resort to getting into the Bombay General Hospital as a patient to make sure she did her job well. She had to push herself to get hold of all kinds of breaking news from inside the epicenter of the hospital. She wanted to cut the clutter, but unfortunately, she is doing the same thing as many others in her field.
Once she was in as a patient, she had full, unrestricted access to what was happening, and she did her work discreetly. Mansi and her boss had forgotten the ethics of journalism and were willing to project the lives of those affected by the attack on the news channel for their greed. Her ruse was finally caught, but it was too late. It was when the gunfire intensified that she understood the value of not just her life but also the people she was stuck with. She wanted to get out because she needed to be alive to get this news on her channel. The moment of catharsis came late, for she was berated by many around her for being selfish and not worrying about how hard life now is for all of them. This ordeal triggered something in her.
In Mumbai Diaries Season 2, Mansi was the anchor of the same channel she worked for. She, along with her boss, pushed Mrs. Savita Kelkar to raise her voice against Dr. Kaushik Oberoi, who was already facing inquiries for his conduct. For Savita, this was a do-or-die case against the man she believed could have saved her husband. For Mansi and her boss, this was just a ploy to amplify the buzz and focus repeatedly on Kaushik till the day of the verdict. Mansi had yet again become a part of the rat race that conducted panel discussions where verdicts were made long before the judges at the court could do so. There was no end to Mansi’s crusade against Kaushik, but to her shock, Malini changed her mind and wanted her to work on the stories regarding the heavy rains that hit the city, the growing water logging, and the flood-like situation. Mansi was in two minds about doing this story because she was committed to the Kelkar story.
From the very beginning of Mumbai Diaries Season 2, Mansi was not happy with the way things were going in the office. It could have been the aftermath of 26/11 that led to a slow change of mind. She was frustrated with Malini taking control of her job and not allowing her to bring in her perspective. Mansi wanted a break from the usual stories she told and to work on something that could make a difference. Her frustration with her employers was palpable, as she was not allowed to work on the stories regarding the construction companies that were partly responsible for the flooding issues that brought the city to a standstill. Manisi was under the impression this story could be a big break for her, but she was stopped by her bosses.
Mansi managed to one-up them and broadcast the story anyway, which cost her the job. She was more than willing to lose her job if it meant being with a channel that did not believe in meaningful journalism. Mansi was also dealing with a stomach issue, as she was seen chugging antacids. The makers were probably heading towards giving her a health scare angle, which will help her make sound life choices.
Mansi walked out on her job because she was sure she could do much better with her skills and talk about stories that would matter in the bigger scheme of things. She believed in Mrs. Kelkar’s story, which is why she backed the lady until everything fell apart. Her friend Sachin, who is a cameraman, always encouraged her to do the right thing, which eventually changed her mind for good. Sachin was the catalyst in her overall switch in perspective because he ended up losing his leg in the stampede during the rains. She found ways to save him in times of adversity. Realizing she might lose him in the process made her do the right thing, as he always wanted. Moving out of the job was the first step, as was making sure the right kinds of stories were being put out about Bombay General Hospital. The hospital yet again carried out the monumental task of helping the victims of the bridge collapse amidst rain and floods. She made sure there was only truth to her stories and nothing else.
Mansi was probably instrumental in making Mrs. Kelkar withdraw the case against Dr. Kaushik for medical negligence and murder. Kaushik is bereaved because of his wife’s death, and nobody could understand his pain more than Mrs. Kelkar. Mansi’s arc in the show was the most interesting one because it allowed viewers to see her from a different perspective by the end of Mumbai Diaries Season 2. She became a resilient and self-assured journalist.