Scam 2003 - The Telgi Story Review
Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Review(Photo Credit –Imdb)

Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Part 1 Review: Star Rating:

Cast: Gagan Dev Riar, Sana Amin Shaikh, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Talat Aziz, Shashank Ketkar, Bharat Jadhav, Vivek Mishra, and ensemble.

Creator: Hansal Mehta

Director: Tushar Hiranandani

Streaming On: Sony Liv.

Language: Hindi (with subtitles).

Runtime: 5 Episodes Around 60 Minutes Each.

Scam 2003 - The Telgi Story Review
Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Review(Photo Credit –Youtube)

Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Part 1 Review: What’s It About:

Tapping into another story of a massive scam, the franchise this time explores Abdul Karim Telgi, a man from a rural town in India who comes to Bombay (then) and aspires to not earn but make money. He stumbles upon the illegal selling of stamp papers and decides to be the king of the system.

Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Part 1 Review: Script Analysis:

Scam 1992, starring Pratik Gandhi, entered our lives mid-way through a lockdown and introduced us to a very new technique of filmmaking where that blended the textbook detailing with drama and shaped its central character (Harshad Mehta in that case) like he was a hero who was running the world. And honestly, it wasn’t even a wild statement, because he was actually running the system that he was a part of. But soon, it became a story about the rise and fall of this very weirdly and uniquely charismatic man who finally had to face the consequences, but he did that too in style. The Telgi Scam takes that very blueprint and replicates it in the new installment in the franchise. But does the ghost of the widely successful predecessor let it have its soul?

Abdul Karim Telgi, a man who was once spotted selling fruits wrapped in photocopies of his degree, because the piece of paper wasn’t of any use to him other than this. The idea of marketing himself through that tactic makes him meet his Robinhood, and he comes to Bombay. The charisma of this man in the most worn-out clothes is what gives Scam 2003 its character. He isn’t the quintessential-looking hero who is tanned; his tan is authentic and suits the world best. Based on Sanjay Singh’s nonfictional book Telgi Scam: Reporters Ki Diary, and adapted to the screen by Karan Vyas, Kiran Yadnyopavit, and Kedar Patankar, Scam 2003 is more about the detail than the flamboyance. Hansal Mehta serves as the creator this time around.

The flamboyance in the Harshad Mehta story came from the man’s obsession with materialistic things. He wore crisp clothes, and fancy accessories and would even sit in style. Telgi is the stark opposite, as even his best shorts are always creased and messy. He is one that can disappear in a crowd but still rule it from the background. The crime he did was much bigger and lethal, but at no point does the gangster in him wakes up. What wakes up rather is the monster, and how the writing handles it is a treat in itself. He kills someone and brutally, but isn’t apologetic. What the script lacks at this point is the regret that is somewhere lurking in him. Wish the show could have explored that, or at least does in the remaining five episodes.

The detailing is top-notch. The fact that he throws 90 Lakhs on a dancer just to show his prominence to another rich man is a scene done with drama and subtlety combined, and it lands well, too. What doesn’t land well is the recurring lurking spirit of Scam 1992 that ends up making everything look like it is worshipping the predecessor. The title theme after a point is not an homage but an unwanted reminder that detaches you from the Telgi Scam and makes you go back to 1992. Recurring motifs are a thing, but not too much of them.

Scam 2003 - The Telgi Story Review
Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Review(Photo Credit –Youtube)

Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Part 1 Review: Star Performance:

Gagan Dev Riar plays Telgi like he was rehearsing for this part all his life. He blends into the character and is too comfortable with it. After a point it isn’t easy to differentiate whether he is an actor acting out a part of the real-life person, and that’s a victory. While the first three episodes feel like he has too much to say and the character is too dialogue-heavy, in the fourth, you realise that is a character trait. It is how Abdul Karim Telgi was.

Talat Aziz, in an extended cameo, is balanced and perfect, and so is Sana in Shaikh. But with the rest, and especially the ones who are present directly next to Telgi, it seems like they are trying to be characters from Scam 1992. Almost like they are fanboying.

Bharat Jadhav and Shashank Ketkar stand out, though, and it will be interesting to see whether their characters go.

Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Part 1 Review: Direction & Music:

Tushar Hiranandani (Saand Ki Aankh) has big shoes to fill. As a director, he worships his central character, which shows in the final product. While highlighting a character that has no glamour to it is important and a tough task, but what this does is making the rest look like dumb people who cannot breathe without Telgi explaining them what breathing is. He uses Rair to explain the process in voiceover a lot, and makes it look like he is the teacher, and even the top-bracket government officer is a student.

Yes, the sequence where he breaks the ego of an upright officer is as grey as it can be, but it works because somebody stands against him, and there is an opponent. But even that is resolved immediately. The conflicts are solved too quickly, and the impact is diluted just because of that.

The music in Scam 1992 was ground-breaking; Scam 2003 stays on it and doesn’t move much ahead.

Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Review: Last Words:

There are still five episodes left; a lot can change for good or bad. But the first five of Scam 2003 are a glass-half-full situation.

Must Read: Taali Review: A Deserving Story Of Triumph Gets A Surface-Level Sanitised Execution, But Sushmita Sen As Shreegauri Sawant Is A Force To Reckon

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