Set in 1980’s and 90’s Bombay, ‘Scam 1992- The Harshad Mehta Story’ follows the life of stockbroker Harshad Mehta aka ‘Big Bull’ - his meteoric rise and catastrophic downfall.
It serves a twin purpose: reliving an era gone by and a cautionary tale about what the future holds.
The 10-episode web series is based on journalists Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal's book ‘The Scam: Who Won, who Lost, who Got Away’.
The series is led by actors Pratik Gandhi and Shreya Dhanwanthary. Satish Kaushik, Sharib Hashmi, Anant Mahadevan, Nikhil Dwivedi, KK Raina, and Lalit Parimoo.
Here’s a list of the real-life characters essayed in the series.
Pratik Gandhi – Harshad Mehta
Shreya Dhanwanthary - Sucheta Dalal - Padma Shri recipient who was working with Times of India while reporting on the scam. Other cases unearthed by Dalal include Enron scam, Industrial Development Bank of India scam, and 2001 Ketan Parekh scam.
Faisal Rashid - Debashis Basu – journalist and co-founder of Moneylife
Satish Kaushik - Manu Manek aka 'Black Cobra' - boss man of stock market in the 80s
Paresh Ganatra - Maheshwari based on Radhakishan Damani - founder of DMart
Mithilesh Chaturvedi - Ram Jethmalani
Kavin Dave - Rakesh Jhunjhunwala - 'King of stockmarket'
During a virtual press conference for the show, Mehta said ‘Scam 1992’ chronicles a story which continues to be of importance even after two decades.
"I can't think of a more relevant story for the times we are living in. We have seen series of scams, which are sort of mirror images of the Harshad Mehta scam. It (the series) talks about an era where I was growing up and still hadn't become a filmmaker.
"At the same time, it is almost like a telling of the future. It is talking about what the system, if not mended, might make people do. The system doesn't seem to have mended. There's scam on scam. This is an important story, a timely warning about the times we are living in," he told reporters.
While Mehta is known for helming socio-political films, including ‘Shahid’, starring Rajkummar Rao, and Manoj Bajpayee-led "Aligarh", the director said the enormity of "Scam 1992" was a challenge.
"I've told many true stories but to put this kind of long-form writing on screen was a huge challenge. It was perhaps the biggest, single largest challenge that I've had after making almost 15 feature films," he said.
While chronicling stories of flawed characters on screen, Mehta said, he doesn't "judge" them.
With the titular character, the director said the team tried to bring in "some frailty" while writing, performing and staging scenes.
"I like to approach a character from a non-judgemental perspective because situations, circumstances and deeds are eventually perceived as positive or negative. The idea is to show things as they happened and let the audience make their own judgements.
"I have made a living out of showing flawed characters on screen. Harshad was less flawed than my last outing 'Omerta', where Rajkummar played Omar Saeed Sheikh. Harshad felt like a saint compared to him." Produced by Applause Entertainment in association with Studio Next, the SonyLIV series is adapted by dialogue writers Sumit Purohit, Saurav Dey, Vaibhav Vishal and Karan Vyas.
‘Scam 1992’ released on October 9.
With inputs from Agencies