Quite like the gigantic financial scam it draws its name from, Scam 1992 is inspiring, entertaining and horrifying, all at once.
The web series, directed by Jai and Hansal Mehta and now streaming on SonyLIV, is a detailed and lengthy portrayal of a spectacular real-life tale.
While the show has its flaws, it is worth investing your time in.
Here is our review.
The story of one of India’s biggest financial scams
Scam 1992 opens on a dramatic note — a State Bank of India employee named Sharad Bellary (Sharib Hashmi), perpetually using a handkerchief to wipe off sweat from his face, arrives at The Times of India office in Mumbai in the early 90s to give a tip-off.
Then and there, began the story of exposure of biggest stock market scam known to this country.
From rags to riches and higher
The show then cuts to a decade before, when a young, struggling lower middle class man, handling odd jobs, had dreamed of making it big.
Harshad Mehta (Pratik Gandhi) had started small, as a jobber. But his dreams and vision were just too big for that.
The man soon became an ace stockbroker, popularly called the Bachchan of BSE (or the Bombay Stock Exchange).
A fall as spectacular as the rise
Harshad Mehta’s fall was perhaps as spectacular as his unbelievable rise, if not more.
Accelerated by journalist Sucheta Dalal’s (Shreya Dhanwanthary) investigative reporting, and investigations by probe agencies, Mehta was accused and found guilty of multiple financial crimes committed during that time.
But interestingly, there were higher powers that had a key role to play in the scam.
The show grabs your attention, and doesn’t let go
Scam 1992 successfully recreates the world of Harshad Mehta – a world of dreams, money, power and lies.
It is immersive, and to a great extent, tempting as well.
The reason that makes you stick to the lengthy 10-hour narrative is the detailed and layered writing of the show. It falters here and there, but manages to keep you engaged.
But, it’s marred by unnecessary length and jargon
Having said that, it is not one of those addictive shows that can start and finish over an all-nighter.
More often than not, the episodes feel long and become slightly tedious to watch.
That’s not it, it is mired with unnecessary jargon. You can’t watch it in one go, without having to Google search complex business terms every now and then.
Pratik Gandhi plays Mehta with heart and soul
Pratik Gandhi plays Harshad Mehta with heart and soul.
From the way he walks to the way he talks, Gandhi gets under the skin of the man who created and sold dreams to India, and eventually snatched them away too.
In spite of many renowned actors around, Gandhi steals the show.
It’s a performance that will be remembered for a long time.
To watch or not to watch?
All in all, Scam 1992 is a treat to watch.
It might ask for some patience, but its captivating storytelling, power-packed performances and the bizarrely true story behind it make it an experience that simply shouldn’t be missed.
It is undeniably one of the best shows to come out of Indian web television this year.
Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars.