‘The Broken News’ Season 1 Recap: Everything To Know Before Watching Season 2

The Broken News, season one created for Zee5, is based on the BBC One Original Press, directed for Hindi audiences by Vinay Waikul and written by Sambit Mishra. The show is about two television news channels, Josh 24/7 and Awaaz Bharati, and their bitter rivalry over TRPs and the kind of news presented to their audience. 


Spoilers Ahead

Why was Radha upset?

The Broken News begins with Radha Bhargava, an employee of Awaaz Bharati, being declared a traitor by Dipankar Sanyal, the lead anchor of Josh 24/7, who thrives on his name and his antics to gather as much TRP as possible for the channel to prosper. The show then goes back three months, to set up the events that will lead to the climax. Radha Bhargava, one of the producers on the channel, was not in the right state of mind. Her friend and fellow journalist, Julia Alvares, had died in the City Glitz mall, and this news had been engulfing the channel for a while. 


Radha Bhargava was previously an anchor on the television channel, but during her stint she went over the top with a political news story, which forced her boss Amina to put her behind the camera ever since. Radha was a diligent and ethical journalist who wanted to put across the right kind of news for the people, and Amina was the kind of boss she enjoyed working under as the latter had the same values. 

Who was Dipankar Sanyal?

Unlike the two, Dipankar Sanyal was known for prioritizing improving the TRP of his channel daily and never providing genuine news to the people. As claimed by the man himself, he loved putting across stories instead of news. This gained him huge popularity among the audience. Still, amidst the journalist community, he was looked down upon as unethical and a sell-out who does not present facts but only opinions. 


The Broken News talks about several trajectories these channels go through, and most of them depend on the integrity of the editor-in-chief, who is the lead anchor of their respective channel as well. Amina was from the old-school style of delivering news, while Dipankar believed in giving the audiences what they expect from him, which is over-the-top theatrics that included adding unnecessary animated segments and forcing the victims or their peers to speak to them.

What were these news channels after?

Each episode had both television news channels cover a story, and it would include the difficulties each of them goes through to finally present them to the audience. The obstacles to this come from the fact that the owner of the channel might have a personal objection to the breaking news. The first season of The Broken News had Josh 24/7, led by Dipankar, taking down a businessman on the behest of the channel owner, who was acting upon the instructions of the state home minister, who had several ulterior motives. The show also included Awaaz Bharati breaking news about an actor who was accused by several women of sexual assault. They were able to bring him down despite him being a celebrity who was advertised as the next chief minister of the state by the opposition. 


The Broken News puts forward the issues of the private lives of public figures being discussed on platforms like news channels. There was also a subplot about a young girl who was allegedly raped and murdered by her swimming instructor. Dipankar’s news channel was after the alleged culprit, which caused a mob-like situation, which turned tragic very soon. 

All the subplots mentioned in The Broken News may have been based on true stories or scripted for the sake of dramatic purposes. The show also focuses on how young journalists are forced to follow the pattern of pushing people to speak to the camera for more traction from the audience, making that seem the new norm. Radha’s peer, Anuj Saxena, went from being a young kid on the block who wanted to change the world to following in the footsteps of his boss, Dipankar Sanyal, and was under the pretense that this would help him go far in the industry. 


What crises are Dipankar and Radha facing?

The main subject matter of The Broken News was the frustration Radha feels towards her employers at Awaaz Bharati and their lack of power to work on the kind of news she wanted to put forward. Radha had been offered the chance to work with Josh 24/7 several times by Dipankar, who could see she had it in her to be the next big journalist willing to do anything to run a story that would benefit the channel as well as the people. 

The best part about The Broken News was the shades of gray given to the lead anchors, Amina and Dipankar. There were times Amina had to make editorial choices based on the wishes of the management, keeping in mind the ad revenue they would gain. Meanwhile, Dipankar Sanyal was constantly criticized for his style of journalism, but he never differentiated between the kinds of news that had to be aired. He believed every story deserved time and wanted his team to present news segments that were not stolen. 


Dipankar himself was going through a personal crisis as he was in a custody battle with his ex-wife for their daughter. He tried to be a good father despite his ex-wife and the rest of his peers considering him to be a megalomaniac. Amina, on the other hand, was having an affair with her married colleague and was probably aware this relationship would not have a happy ending. The way Radha was after the City Glitz Mall fire in which her journalist friend Julia had passed, it could be assumed both were romantically involved, thus the former’s need to find closure about the reason for her death. 

Was Radha happy with her new boss, Dipankar?

The last two episodes of The Broken News were about Operation Umbrella, which was mentioned many times in the show. Radha, in a fit of anger had joined Josh 24/7 and remained hopeful that Dipankar would keep his promise of allowing her to work on the kind of news stories that would make some difference in the world. Radha was quick to believe Dipankar’s brand of journalism would help her news stories reach out to all parts of the country. 24 hours into working with Josh 24/7 made her realize that Dipankar was only after TRPs and squeezing out emotions from the victims for news. 


Case in point: the man who was harassed by Josh 24/7 all over social media for allegedly raping and murdering a minor, whose suicide made Dipankar change the narrative to his benefit, which irked Radha the most, who felt the man loved listening to the sound of his own voice and would adopt any narrative to find his pulpit. 

Radha begged Amina to give her the job back. Her request was obliged because Amina always wished for Radha to be the moral compass and rise for the occasion. Radha was always the one who spoke up whenever Amina had to tweak her style of working because of the management. Radha was finally given a chance to prove her mettle as an anchor, and the advance of her salary went into saving the source that was helping her question the uranium plant that was endangering the lives of many in the villages surrounding the factory. 


What was Operation Umbrella?

On Radha’s return, she began to find more dirt on Operation Umbrella, a news story Dipankar had given her to work on. As her colleagues realized Nandan Balachandran, the owner of many shell companies, was connected to Operation Umbrella, they were almost killed in an accident that was orchestrated by the tech millionaire. Radha and her source got in touch with an employee who was convinced to speak up against his employer about Operation Umbrella.

Operation Umbrella, under the supervision of home minister Atul Shinde and the millionaire Nandan Balachandran, would conduct a statewide illegal gathering of information through phones and tablets about the people and those sitting in the highest positions of bureaucracy and use it against them to retain their power. This surveillance was going to help Atul Shinde become the next chief minister of the state, as he had some incriminating evidence against the sitting CM of the state. 


The Broken News season 1 ended with Awaaz Bharati gathering as much information about Operation Umbrella as possible and connecting the same with Atul Shinde, which could help in the arrest of the minister as well as Nandan Balakrishnan for orchestrating an illegal snooping of people and invading their privacy. Awaaz Bharati wanted to implicate Dipankar in this, but Radha was convinced that going after him would be vindictive. Dipankar, on the other hand, was in two minds about the amount of information he had learned about Operation Umbrella from Nandan Balakrishnan, the new CEO of his channel. Dipankar was given the offer to run the same news channel that would be made global if he could stop Awaaz Bharati from airing the news. 

Why was Radha Bhargava arrested?

Dipankar could not stop them, but the new CM Atul Shinde threatened Amina’s channel with Radha’s arrest if they went ahead with the story against Operation Umbrella. Radha gladly took up the challenge, as she wanted to do this for her deceased friend Julia Alvares, who had gotten very close to finding out about this surveillance program. Radha went ahead with airing the news that the state government would violate everybody’s privacy by conducting this mass surveillance. 


To counter Radha, Dipankar ran a detailed segment talking about how beneficial this surveillance would be to track down terrorists and reduce the number of anti-national activities. He branded Radha as an anti-national for speaking up against the ruling party and urged the authorities to arrest her. Season one ended with Radha being supported by her team and being willing to get arrested since in her eyes she’d committed no crime. Radha knew she was a patriot, and she would fight tooth and nail to get her job back with dignity. The second season would be about her fight. Dipankar was applauded for his work, and he was at his career high and was under the impression nothing could stop him as the state machinery was backing him.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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