More than that meets the eye
Harshad Mehta, the name which sparks fear and scare among bulls and bears has finally arrived onto the screen in the form of Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story based on the book written by Debhashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal through whose eyes we see the phenomenal rise and fall of the Big Bull, which is produced by Applause Entertainments and streaming now on SonyLIV.
The trope of the stock market and all its nitty-gritty is fairly new to our audience unless they have seen films like The Wolf Of Wall Street. So it’s an untapped story of a stockbroker Harshad Shantilal Mehta (Pratik Gandhi) who starts as a jobber in the Bombay stock exchange and quickly learns all the tricks in the game to outplay his rivals to reach the top.
His shrewd uncanny ability and his tactical approach get uncovered by the way he strikes unflinching deals with institutions like SBI or NHB falling in line along with big corporates.
Though he brushes shoulders with some top business players in country, his disciplined life that too a teetotaler who celebrates with a soft drink comes as a bit of surprise and the love towards his family reveals the docile side of the ‘Big Bull’.
His over-ambitious nature and his dangerous dabble with the highly speculative money market lead to his downfall and it proved to be his nemesis. Otherwise, he would have become one of the richest businessmen in the world by now.
It’s none other than Pratik Gandhi who will be seen and felt all through the series. Though there are many reputed actors like Sautish Kaushik (Manu Bhai), Venkitarajan (Ananth Narayan Mahadevan) the spotlight will be on Gandhi because of his characterization in an author-backed role. Apparently, his performance occupies the numero uno position in the series.
Shreya Dhanwantary as the woman behind the ‘scam’ in India has done a fabulous job as a righteous journalist Sucheta Dalal who can go to any extent to expose the truth. Needless to add, her voice over is simply mesmerizing,
The impeccable performances of Hemant Kher as Ashwin Mehta, Chirag Vohra as Bhushan Bhatt, Jay Upadhyay as Pranav Sheth, Nikhil Dwivedi as Tyagi, Shadaab Khan as Ajay Kedia, and Rajat Kapoor as Madhavan have uplifted the whole series to another level.
Behind the scenes
Sucheta Dalal and Debhashis Basu who have come out with the story of Harshad Mehta in the form of the book named The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away deserve the accolades for their contribution in making the biggest scam public.
The story was developed and adopted emphatically by the writers Sumit Purohit, Vaibhav Vishal, and Karan Vyas to give a clear and lucid picture of the biggest scam.
Director Hansal Mehta’s sheer brilliance is visible in every frame and scene. The way he dealt with nuances and technicalities of the stock exchange and money markets is way beyond all the superlatives.
All through the series, he is successful in keeping the viewer engaged by presenting the story which is nonetheless a dry one in an enthralling manner. It’s not an exaggeration to say that even people who have no idea about stock markets and all those intricacies are enjoying the series indicates the magic of Mehta.
While Achint Thakkar’s background score is an asset, all those Bollywood classics gave the series the necessary fillip and their impact on the narrative cannot be undermined.
The Art department comprising of Akbar Khan, Niranjan Sahu, and Nida Shaikh deserve special appreciation for recreating the vintage 90s look with flawless props and sets particularly those office sets are amazing.
Verdict & Rating
We have seen films on mafia dons, big and small who ruled the underworld. This is the first time that a biggest scam involving financial institutions that rocked the whole Indian economy is filmed and presented.
No, it’s not just about finances or economics; there is more than that meets the eye in Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story. So watch this without any hesitation to know more and you won’t regret it for watching.