Review – Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story

Web Series Review by Rishi Kapoor

The web-series revisits the story of India’s first major financial fraud. Based on 1992 Indian stock market scam committed by stockbroker Harshad Mehta, the series is adapted from journalist Sucheta Dalal and Debashish Basu’s book The Scam: Who Won, who Lost, who Got Away.

The brilliantly written series which is well shot and directed by Hansal Mehta is currently streaming on SonyLiV. Story which showcases how a loop hole in a system can be used in advantage and can be manipulated at large in favour of few set of well connected individuals.

The series focuses on Harshad Mehta’s meteoric rise from humble beginnings, as he becomes the ‘Big Bull’ of Mumbai’s Dalal Street. Those who have lived through the neo-liberalised India of the early 90s, and the years preceding it would understand how a broker could enjoy popularity rivalling that of a screen icon. The show tried and depict India’s financial markets, in a right fashion, refrains from portraying it as a surreal fairyland where one can become rich overnight. Instead, it invests in explaining heavy market jargons like “Ready forward deal”, “Statutory Liquid Ratio” (SLR) and “Bank Receipts”(BR) — making it easy for the viewers to stay updated with Mehta’s conniving endeavours.

A fantastic performance from Pratik Gandhi surely helps. While he hardly resembles Harshad Mehta physically, he channels the charm and conviction, and is never more captivating than when he lets hubris take over. A great ensemble cast adds depth to Scam 1992 and it was a pleasure to watch so many faces that populated the screen in the 90s once again. Dhanwanthary is believable. As is Faisal Rashid, playing Basu.Hemant Kher as Ashwin Mehta, Anjali Barot as Jyoti, Harshad’s loyal wife, who stands solidly by him, K K Raina as the complicit bankman, Nikhil Dwivedi as the smooth-talking ‘foreign’ banker who hates the brash Mehta’s guts, calling him a ‘b—y paanwala’, Satish Kaushikas the old-style uncouth moneybags who owns the floor, Rajat Kapoor as the CBI officer who curses as fluently as he uses his fists, Anant Mahadevan as the RBI chief who makes sure everyone is accountable with his smooth act and many others.

The series production design and cinematography too are of high quality as the crew manages to effectively give us a taste of the bygone period with much ease.

A perfect series which one should not miss

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