By Harshita Dagha
After becoming the highest-rated show on IMDb, and with rave reviews across the board—India finally has a financial thriller that has broken the curse of Indian financial depictions not hitting the mark with audiences.
Scam 1992 has shaken things up with a well-written script and of course, a stellar cast. Pratik Gandhi, Shreya Dhanwanthary and Anjali Barot, among others, brought the very real people in one of India’s biggest financial scam to life and we here at ED Times, couldn’t help but talk to them about the process and aftermath of Scam 1992.
The Process: Getting Into The Character’s Skin
Pratik Gandhi played Harshad Mehta and he had an extra layer of prep to do.
“The first thing I had to learn was the technicalities of the financial transactions back then without computers, the sign language that jobbers would use to trade,” Pratik says. He also had to go through quite the physical transformation.
“I had to gain 18 kilos to get as close as I can to his body frame.”
He doesn’t forget to add that, “characterisation was more intense. What we tried was to internalise the character, not mimic him.”
The on-screen Sucheta Dalal, played by Shreya Dhanwanthary also agrees with Pratik as she says, “Hansal Mehta steps in a lot, he would tell us to internalise the character so every behaviour, mannerism will feel natural and lived through. We did anything that felt authentic, felt anything that was like Harshad or Sucheta and not like Shreya or Pratik.”
We asked Shreya if she ever met the real Dalal and she adds with a charming laugh, “I did meet Sucheta Dalal but I was completely useless at that time, didn’t say a thing. Pratik still makes fun of me because I just kept staring at Sucheta from a corner like a creep!”
Anjali Barot had to do a whole 180 to play a character like Jyoti Mehta. She is known to be the “most excited person in the room”, so how were her prep experiences like?
She says, “Essaying the role of Jyoti Mehta came with a lot of responsibility. Also, since there’s not a lot of information available on Jyoti Mehta on the internet, I completely fed off my writer’s and director’s vision in trying to bring the character to life.”
She adds later on, “speaking about myself, I’m a restless soul. But Jyoti has this calming vibe to her which is the stark opposite of who I am. I’m always up to something. So, it was a major personality shift I’d say.”
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The Aftermath: What To Take From This Show
Scam 1992 is making waves and when a show gets this big, discourse is inevitable. While major news publishers are bringing back their coverages of the scam and discussing things anew, it can’t be denied that Scam 1992 is the topic of the month.
So, how does the cast feel portraying important larger-than-life characters?
The man himself
Pratik begins, “Playing a character like Harshad Mehta is very, very interesting and challenging for any actor because it’s such a layered and human character.”
He makes a point about risk-taking—the theme of the show—but he relates it to creativity.
“The biggest inspiration of this series will be that it will open up people’s minds for risk-taking, not just in terms of investment but for any creative process.
And that’s what Sony and Hansal Mehta did—they took that risk. Look at the cast, right from top to bottom, it’s an unconventional casting for this particular series.”
As mentioned before, Scam 1992 has done something no other financial thriller in India has done before.
“Everyone was saying this was a financial thriller and in India, they aren’t greatly received by the audience, so nobody was sure. But these guys were absolutely sure they wanted to make this because they were so passionate about it.”
Risk-taker Harshad Mehta/Pratik Gandhi
“Calculated risks at the right place and the right time when executed correctly are nothing less than living examples of miracles.”
A series on such an unconventional genre only teaches this generation that risk-taking is not wrong if your idea has both conviction and strength.
Mrs. quintessential Jyoti Mehta/Anjali Barot
For Anjali Barot who had to step out of her comfort zone for this role, she had a clear mindset going into this: “When I had signed up for the project, if there was one thing I had firmly decided in my head, it was to approach the shot at hand only and only through Jyoti’s lens.”
She played his wife incredibly well – maturity, loyalty and respect being the 3 rock pillars of her relationship with Harshad.
Barot mentions her own takeaway from this show, “I love how the series demystifies the seemingly complex world of financial scams for the average person.”
“At its core, much of the story is also a reflection of desire and drive versus greed.”
“Personally, my biggest takeaway from the series has also been about strong familial ties that you can always count on.”
Her performance got rave reviews and rightfully so, thanks to her grit and dedication.
Padmashri Sucheta Dalal/Shreya Dhanwanthary
Moving on to Shreya, who was incredibly excited to play a Padmashri-awardee, “It was a privilege to play her character. My personal opinion anyway was that of awe. I just tried to make it a little bit more normal. I wanted to show her with grit and perseverance. I mean, that’s how I saw her.”
She believes that it’s a cautionary tale of hubris because it’s the Harshad Mehta story.
Shreya, much like her character, signs off with a rather fearless confession, “We did not intend for any message but if people take something from it, then great, let us know what you think.”
Both media and audiences alike believe that Dalal’s powerful, awe-inspiring character has the maximum scope to encourage the youth of today’s generation to stand fearlessly for what’s right.
the takeaway for viewers is that one needs to stand for what’s right, even if it means standing alone, because in the end, the fight for truth, lends victory to many.
Image Credits: Google Images
About The Author: Harshita Dagha is a journalist-writer specialising in lifestyle & entertainment. She has been a contributing writer to Times of India, Forbes, Zee, among other reputed media houses for the past 13 years.
Find The Blogger: @HarshitaDagha
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