Upon its OTT debut, Scam 1992 garnered widespread acclaim, with audiences showering it with nothing but praise.
It swiftly ascended to the pinnacle of IMDb ratings, earning the title of the most beloved show of its year.
Hansal Mehta’s genius shone brightly, from the very first frame to the closing scene, seamlessly complemented by Pratik Gandhi’s exceptional portrayal.
Together, they propelled the series to unparalleled heights of success in subsequent years.
It was undoubtedly this remarkable achievement that fueled the decision of the creators and production house to expand it into a full-fledged franchise.
Thus, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story was conceived, unfolding across two volumes, each comprising five episodes, each episode running for approximately 50 minutes.
Is it worth your time? Here is my review.
Scam 2003: The Telgi Story Synopsis
From the makers of Scam 1992, Scam 2003 follows the story of the ‘Stamp paper fraud’ that rocked India in the late 1990s and continued till the early 2000s.
It focuses on the life of Abdul Karim Telgi, the mastermind behind the scam.
Fictional representation of his early adventures, the subsequent rise, and the roadmap to his obvious fall is the primary aim of the series.
Tushar Hiranandani directs the show while Gagan Dev Riar plays the main protagonist, Abdul Karim Telgi.
Other cast members include, Vyas Hemang (Kaushal Jhaveri), Talat Aziz (Shaukat), Sana Amin Sheikh (Nafeesa), Sameer Dharmadhikari (Tukaram), and others.
It is partly based on the book “Telgi Scam: Reporter ki Diary.”
What Works for Scam 2003: The Telgi Story?
When crafting a story, writers provide the visual blueprint, but when recreating an entire era, one must delve deep into the essence of the past.
Three decades ago, India was a vastly different nation, and for Scam 2003: The Telgi Story to truly resonate with viewers, it had to capture that era’s essence.
Fortunately, it accomplishes this task admirably, immersing audiences in the vibrant yet nostalgic atmosphere of that figurative black and white period.
However, you might be forced to ask why the cinematography didn’t care to recreate the beauty of the 90s for even a while.
Moving forward, the storyline, rooted in real-life events, effectively captivates the audience’s attention.
The background score, borrowed from Scam 1992, reinforces the narrative, offering a familiar yet invigorating musical backdrop.
The creators have focused on unraveling the intricate details of the case, opting not to glorify the protagonist—a commendable approach.
Instead, they delve into the gritty aspects of Abdul Karim Telgi’s journey, portraying his struggles in managing his own schemes and the unfulfilled aspirations that serve as pivotal connective points in the narrative.
It’s a fact that no scam can succeed without its fair share of failures, and the show’s writers skillfully capture this aspect.
Furthermore, the plot unfolds gradually, at times affecting the pacing but ultimately ensuring a steady course.
Scam 2003: The Telgi Story possesses depth, both in its emotional resonance and technical execution.
However, the emotional depth may not fully manifest until the later stages of the series, leaving room for anticipation that Volume 2 will deliver even greater emotional intensity.
How are the Performances?
Gagan Dev Riar is destined to become a household name, following in the footsteps of Pratik Gandhi, thanks to his impeccable portrayal of Telgi.
He embodies the character down to the very last detail, showcasing brilliance in his body language, intonation, and mastery of the accent.
Riar’s dialogue delivery and demeanor draw striking parallels between the real Telgi and the character he brings to life on screen.
Beyond the street-smart facade, he captivates audiences with poignant emotional outbursts.
Another standout performer to eagerly watch is Vyas Hemang, who breathes life into Kaushal Jhaveri in Scam 2003: The Telgi Story.
Hemang possesses an astonishing screen presence that not only enhances the show’s overall ambiance but also infuses his character with a unique blend of wit and intensity, complemented by his rugged appearance.
While the primary focus may be on these two exceptional actors, it’s worth noting that the entire cast delivers superb performances within the constraints of their roles in this biographical drama.
What Doesn’t Work for Scam 2003: The Telgi Story?
At times, the screenplay in Scam 2003: The Telgi Story feels lackluster, resulting in moments that nudged me towards sleep during the course of the five episodes.
There was a need for a fresh presentation that keeps the viewer engaged and stimulated throughout.
It’s essential to recognize that any creation isn’t solely about the story; it’s equally about how that story is conveyed.
Unfortunately, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story doesn’t tell its narrative as effectively as it could have.
Furthermore, as you might have inferred, the series often lacks uplifting moments, which can occasionally lead to a subpar viewing experience.
The pacing, screenplay, and somber tone fail to harmonize seamlessly, akin to a mundane daily commute where you anticipate a particular element along the way.
It’s not the presence of that element but its absence that arouses attention.
Given that the outcome of the Telgi Scam is widely known, the onus falls on the creators to infuse the journey with moments that uplift and engage the viewers.
Regrettably, there are instances where this responsibility intermittently falls short.
Stream or Skip?
A definite stream. The show has enough to hook you. But keep in mind the downsides.
How many episodes are there in Scam 2003: The Telgi Story?
There are a total of 10 episodes in the series.
Will there be a Scam 2003: The Telgi Story Volume 2?
Yes, the second and final volume of Scam 2003: The Telgi Story will release in November 2023. It will have 5 episodes.