Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story was probably one of the best television crime dramas to have come out of the Indian OTT space. Hansal Mehta has cemented himself as one of the most sought-after writers and directors in the industry. Scam 1992 introduced the audience to a realistic take on what led to the ultimate downfall of Harshad Mehta, who was called the ‘Big Bull’ of the Indian stock markets.
A new addition to the Scam Series is Scam 2003: The Telgi Story, developed by Hansal Mehta. This Sony LIV original is based on Sanjay Singh’s book Telgi Scam: Reporter’s Diary. Abdul Karim Telgi was involved in the crore-worth counterfeit stamp paper scam, aka the Telgi Scam of 2003, which shocked the entire nation. The show is all set to take us through the repercussions of the scam and help us understand how the man went under the radar for many years until everything fell apart like a fragile house of cards.
Plot & Story
Anyone who lived through the 2000s is aware of the scam this Sony LIV original is going to talk about. The show is bound to take us through the nature of the scam and why Abdul Karim Telgi chose to pursue this route in life. The progress of his success will be slow and steady until Telgi becomes too rich and many people around him start noticing his wealth and questioning the source of it. Hopefully, the makers will tell us the story of the man from a neutral perspective.
The craft involved in Scam 1992 was impeccable; the makers came close to glorifying the man who robbed people of their money at that point. A sympathy card cannot be used on the lead character in Scam 2003 because, at the end of the day, he ran a fraud worth 30,000 crores.
We are interested in watching the history of the man who came up with the idea of fraud involving counterfeit stamp paper and how his business prospered, which attracted the attention of corrupt officials and politicians who wanted to make a quick buck off it. There is a scene of Telgi recording every conversation he ever had with an important figure involved in his scam. We wonder if he made a practice of doing this or if he chose to become a police witness to reduce his sentence. As an audience, we will want to understand the nature of the scam and the intricacy with which he built an empire for himself. At some point, it is revealed who leaked the scam to the media and how this incident went on to become one of the most talked-about issues in the early 2000s until the man was arrested, convicted, and put behind bars. We hope to witness every layer of the story.
We are interested in understanding who was instrumental in unearthing the scam. Will it be a journalist just like in Scam 1992, or will there be a well-meaning government official who finally discovers the seriousness of the matter and goes after this man till he is arrested? Hopefully, there will be a realistic take on the story instead of the series resorting to over-the-top drama and theatrics to prove his mettle as a fraudster. Everyone is aware of Abdul Karim Telgi’s life, and we are hoping Hansal Mehta will do justice to the story.
The memory most of us have of the scam comes from the newspapers and the television news channel. A lot of the actual stories behind this scam were lost in the noise. It is interesting to see many filmmakers and production houses coming forward to tell such stories, which was impossible a few years ago. The trailer gives us just enough information to understand how arrogant yet confident Telgi was. A character graph that needs to be explored.
Cast And Characters
Gagan Dev Riar is probably the best casting choice for the show. The use of a relatively unknown face in the Hindi film industry is reminiscent of Pratik Gandhi’s casting in Scam 1992. Gagan Dev Riar is a theater actor, and we are hoping to see him embody the essence of the man that was Abdul Karim Telgi instead of just enacting the shark on screen.
It will be interesting to watch how he manages to get a hold of the character and find an emotion that somehow justifies his action. Abdul Karim Telgi, at some stage, must have also tried to give reasons for getting into counterfeit work. I am hopeful Gagan Dev will be able to bring sentiment to the screen by giving us a character with shades of gray instead of a negative character with no redemption arc.
Sana Amin Sheikh has joined the cast, and she will be playing the role of Telgi’s wife, who must have been aware of his misdeeds. Sana is a known television actress, and it will be interesting to watch her experience being utilized on screen to emulate her partner.
Prominent theater and television actress Bhavana Balsavar will be seen in Scam 2003. It is intriguing because not much is shown in the trailer about her role in bringing down Telgi.
Hansal Mehta, who has now risen to become one of the best filmmakers in our country, has been giving us stories based on real-life characters for many years now. His handling of subject matters in the previous shows and movies makes us believe Scam 2003 will be worth watching.
Tushar Hiranandani, the director of the show, is a true-blue commercial filmmaker. He has directed plenty of films on risqué subjects, which have been successful at times. His helming of this series seems to add a lot of drama and a commercial style of filmmaking. We are expecting to be surprised by Tushar’s take on the story.
Where To Watch
Sony LIV struck gold with Scam 1992. For the second time, Sameer Nair of the streaming giant is bringing us another story based on a similar subject. Scam 2003 releases on the same platform on September 2, 2023.
Scam 2003: The Telgi Story is a good opportunity to bring realistic stories to the forefront. Most of the time, such hard-core tales are lost in oblivion as the audience tends to have a short-term memory. It is also interesting to see how many shows such as this one are based on books. It is fascinating to watch filmmakers go back to books as source material instead of cooking up fictional stories around real characters. We are looking forward to Hansal Mehta’s magic on screen.