Scoop, the new Netflix India original by Hansal Mehta, has the creator talking about every newspaper office and how a woman crime reporter works in a male-dominated environment. Jagruti was one of the leading crime reporters in Mumbai, was never discriminated against based on her gender, but there were constant bitter statements being made by her male colleagues and peers from the field about her strong professional relationships with her boss Imran and the top cop JCP Shroff. This was hard to ignore. Thankfully, the show did not just speak about the hard life of a crime reporter but also how society looks at women who are single, independent, and living off their hard-earned money. It is the 21st century, but to date, there has been no dearth of questions thrown at financially independent women.
Pushkar happened to be a colleague of Jagruti in the Eastern Age. Though the man handles the political section, he always wonders why Imran, the resident editor in chief, favors Jagruti’s crime stories. She happens to be the one who brings in plenty of hard-hitting crime stories for the newspaper, and she does her job very well. Her ethics and journalistic experience made her a deserving candidate for the post of bureau chief with the paper. Her seven years of hard work are the reason for her quick promotion, and this is something that is looked at with suspicion by her colleagues and peers from other publications as well.
The fact is that back then, only a handful of female reporters existed, and men like Pushkar made sure even those women were reduced to being named and shamed for doing their jobs. It was obvious from his demeanor that he was not comfortable with Jagruti attaining success and being on good terms with Imran. Pushkar was a typical male chauvinist who couldn’t believe that Jagruti could earn such acclaim on her own merit. To him and other male colleagues, Jagruti must have slept her way to all the promotions. But the truth of the matter is that she got her success by constantly working hard. Men like Pushkar still live around us to this day and make such comments. This is reminiscent of the scene from Thappad, where the husband inquires about his widowed neighbor, who drives an ultra-luxury vehicle, by asking, “wo karti kya hai,” which means what does she do for a living. Questions like this imply that women don’t do anything productive all their lives, and they do not have the drive and the ambition to work hard to be able to afford a life of luxuries.
Pushkar’s wife Anita, who happens to have been given a major promotion at her workplace, starts feeling the pressure of it. It is not the work that is causing any worry; it is her colleagues who began spreading rumors about her supposed affair with her boss, which led to her getting the promotion. This disrupts not just her daily work but her professional relationships with other colleagues as well. Even though everyone working with her might know the rumors are false, nobody takes any action to quash them. Anita is affected by it, and Pushkar portrays himself as a supportive and understanding spouse, but he actually comes across as a hypocrite here because he is exactly like her colleagues at his workplace.
Pushkar is insensitive towards his wife’s growing toxic work environment. Instead of being sympathetic to her situation, he indulges in toxic positive advice, which she does not require. She can be strong to an extent, but there is a line that cannot be crossed. Pushkar crosses it by blaming her for the entire situation. Pushkar’s ‘I support my wife’ troupe is a farce because he simply does not attempt to understand the kind of troubles women in high positions at work face. These trials, tribulations, and questions never stop.
It is not clear if Pushkar and his wife separated over this, but it is established that Pushkar would never understand her ordeals. Plus, Anita was quick to conclude that Pushkar has also always been jealous of Jagruti because Imran liked her work more than his, and that made him and his other male colleagues begin malicious talks behind Jagruti’s back. Anita was also privy to such conversations, which alarmed her as a woman. Pushkar did not stop questioning Imran in public about his relations with Jagruti, which again solidifies the fact that this man would never change, and there is no way he will ever be able to support his wife as well.
Pushkar is offered Imran’s job after he is fired. He becomes a puppet for the management and makes decisions as per their allegiance to the current state government. Since every newspaper and television channel was joining the Jagruti bashing bandwagon, Pushkar thought he was just doing the right thing by indulging in sensationalism. It took him time to understand that he was not doing what he always wanted to do as a journalist.
Pushkar eventually becomes numb to every process around him, and as Jagruti’s pleas begin to unfold in front of him, the man is quick to understand that there are many things that he did wrong and that there is still time for him to make things right. The Eastern Age, under his leadership, not only became a journal that was publicly documenting Jagruti’s personal life, but the newsroom stopped being relevant under his leadership.
Leading a newspaper office was something he always sought, but he wanted quality content to be published under his wings. There was no classy work being done under Pushkar, and this pushed him to be the change he wanted to see. Pushkar begins working on his redemption by being empathetic to Jagruti and finally understanding that she was exceptional at her job, and Jaideb also considered her as his successor. Pushkar attends hearings and finally concludes that all the charges against Jagruti are bogus and will not stand their ground in front of a full-fledged trial. Pushkar was the first one to apologize to Imran for not standing up for him and Jagruti. He was ridden with guilt for being one of the perpetrators who pushed the Mumbai police crime branch and the government’s agenda that made Jagruti the villain. His guilt makes him want to resign from the job. But Imran was the one who requested that he make the changes he wished to see by staying on the job and seeking the courage to stick to the truth through his newspaper.
It is not clear if Pushkar followed his idol’s suggestions, but again, one can only hope Pushkar finally took the step forward to make sure Jagruti was not harassed. There is also hope that every sensational case after her will be handled with utmost care and sensitivity by the Eastern Age, and they will stick to covering facts and not speculations. Things will likely change for the better.