‘The Broken News’ Season 2 Review: A Perfect Follow-Up With Some Terrific Performances

Zee5’s The Broken News season 1 was a good insight into how the news media worked, and it mirrored many instances that may or may not have occurred in real life. There is no shortage of television news channels anymore, and each of them runs only after TRP and forgets about presenting news to the people. An opinion and an agenda are already formed, as are the power dynamics when multinational companies begin to invest in them for their own benefit. 

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Season one ended with Radha Bhargava being sent to prison for speaking up against the Operation Umbrella, followed by Dipankar Sanyal openly declaring her to be a terrorist for speaking up against the surveillance program packaged beautifully as something that would benefit the people in the long run. The second season is directed by Vinay Waikul and written for the screen by Sambit Mishra. They are back, continuing the stories of Amina Qureshi, Dipankar Sanyal, and Radha Bhargava, as they are further motivated to present news to the country while the agendas of some of them keep fluctuating.

The Broken News season 2 has eight episodes and each is forty to forty-five minutes long. It begins with Radha Bhargava being harassed in jail for speaking up against the current chief minister, Atul Shinde, and being given a choice to sign an apology letter in return for her bail. Radha Bhargava refuses to do so. Amina Qureshi, her boss at Awaaz Bharati, is making sure to fight tooth and nail in favor of her to build public pressure on the state government to release Radha from prison. Meanwhile, Dipankar is having the time of his life leading Josh 24/7, and some new people join the company: Meghna, the COO, and Rihana, the new anchor. Despite Josh 24/7 being at the top of the charts, there is always a bitter rivalry between Nandan Balachandran and Dipankar Sanyal. Dipankar plans to take over the channel to make it an independent entity, but that dream is not an easy one to fulfill. 

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Awaaz Bharati, on the other hand, is taken over by an India-based multinational company called Nico Labs, which is a competitor to Nandan’s tech company funding Josh 24/7 and running the Operation Umbrella for the state government. Nico Lab’s executive, Ranjit, aka Ronnie Sabharwal, will be taking over the management and promises to bring no changes to the editorial team as he aims to stick to Amina’s only agenda, to deliver truth and remain unbiased. Ronnie also happens to be Radha’s ex-boyfriend, which might affect their workplace dynamics if she is given bail. Is Ronnie good for Awaaz Bharati, or could it become another disastrous decision for the failing television news channel? Is Radha willing to forgive Dipankar? Is Amina still focusing on her old-school journalism or will her plans for Awaaz Bharati change?

These are some of the questions, along with many others, that are covered throughout the show. Thanks to Sambit Mishra, there is a good sense of continuity between the first season and the second one, as it picks up from where the last episode of the first season ended. Despite having to depend on suspension of disbelief, the writing by Sambit Mishra somehow remains intact from the start until the end. This time, one could see the shift in the behavior of the lead characters and what motivated it. The screenplay and dialogue are among the high points of the show, and just like in the first season, each episode is about stories that both channels cover and how the narrative changes as per their respective agendas. 

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As the decibel levels on television news segments keep increasing, the people who began this trend feel redundant and want to bring about some major changes as per their journalistic standards. The Broken News is probably the only show that presents an almost accurate depiction of what happens in the newsroom and how some news is converted into a full-fledged story for the audience to consume. People watch television news channels to hear stories instead of going to a theater to watch fiction come to life. The irony lies in the fact that there had to be an OTT show to prove this point. The character graphs of several characters are well constructed. A case in point is Radha Bhargava going through a raging phase, which makes her change her personality. People around her are unable to recognize the new Radha. This transition from being an unbiased journalist to an anger-filled, agenda-driven person is done smoothly on paper and screen, and there is enough justification to back it. The writers did spend time on it, and that reflects on the show. 

The same could be said about Dipankar, who would come across as a loudmouth journalist, but he begins to question his workspace and the kind of deliverables presented to the audience. There is a role reversal this time, and it would surprise the audience. Two characters in the show explain to Radha and Dipankar in two different scenarios about how abysmal the state of journalism is, and how they choose not to watch television news channels anymore. This is the reality check the writers are giving to not just the characters, but it is a subtle dig at the kind of journalists we get to see every night on television who are the epitome of narcissism. One particular detail that is commendable is that journalists are not using smartphones anymore since the advent of Operation Umbrella. This little detail is a sign of good writing and direction.

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The Broken News is indeed satire, as it takes elements from the usual drama that happens on television channels, which uses coined terms to defame people or a community. It is interesting to watch the writers include one subplot, which is a mix of many celebrity-related incidents that have happened in the country in the past decade and how the media drew unsolicited attention to it with an agenda and never worked on looking for evidence proving their allegation. The direction, unlike the last season, is slightly misguided, as the screenplay spends a lot of time on Radha’s changed attitude. This subplot could have been shortened, as it is well established in the show why Radha is behaving the way she does. Bringing that up repeatedly only meant the writers wanted to expand and extend the show until the last episode. A jolting incident brings her back to her senses, but it occurs very quickly, and there is no time given to get acquainted with the switch. 

The ending of the show could have been crafted with a lot of depth, as it felt rushed and there was no time given to the audience to understand what had just happened. The writers and the makers were in a hurry to close the chapter, and that hampered the climactic episode. There needed to be more clarity on how the chain of events caused Radha to realize her mistakes. 

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Subplots about Anuj Saxena and Rihana could have been explored further. Rihana is presented as a single mother, but nothing further is explained about her situation. The same could be said about Anuj Saxena, who is finally given a chance to prove his mettle, but his arc is cut off to pave the way for more of Radha’s antics. We wish there was some time given to explore Radha’s trauma that she faced while in prison for two months. This could justify her altered behavior and abandonment of her actual journalistic values. Apart from some good writing, the performances are superlative, and they further carry the show. As expected, Jaideep Ahlawat as Dipankar Sanyal is brilliant as the journalist who has shades of gray, and so he begins to question the organization he is working for. Jaideep can bring out such deep emotions and the frustration of working with a team that is moving away from his kind of journalism. 

Sonali Bendre as Amina is excellent, but sadly, this time her character was not explored much. Her performance retains the image of Amina, who remains unbiased throughout. Shriya Pilgaonkar, however, is brilliant as a journalist rattled by the jail term and wanting answers and closure. At times, she does go overboard with her performance but she delivers the right kind of emotion during the crucial scenes. The only character that still has a hard time fitting in is Indraneil Sengupta as Pankaj Awasthi. It is hard to categorize him in the show because his character, apart from being Amina’s lover, has nothing to offer even in this season. Akshay Oberoi as Ranjeet Sabharwal is a brilliant addition to the cast, and his performance is commendable. Dinker Sharma, in his small yet significant role, is brilliant as the ruthless tech millionaire.

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The Broken News season two overall is a good continuation of the first installment, and it is highly watchable. It is currently streaming on Zee5 Global.


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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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