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 Part 1″ ventures into the treacherous world of another massive scam, this time chronicling the life of Abdul Karim Telgi, a man from a rural Indian town who aspired not to earn but to create wealth. He stumbles upon the illicit trade of counterfeit stamp papers and sets his sights on becoming the kingpin of this nefarious system. The first installment of this series is a meticulous examination of Telgi’s rise, marked by its focus on detail rather than the flamboyance seen in its predecessor, “Scam 1992.”
“Scam 1992” brought with it a unique blend of textbook precision and gripping drama, creating a charismatic anti-hero in Harshad Mehta. It was a story of a man who seemed to run the world, albeit through fraudulent means. “Scam 2003” attempts to replicate this formula, and while it succeeds to a large extent, it occasionally feels haunted by the ghost of its highly successful predecessor.
Abdul Karim Telgi, portrayed with great authenticity by Gagan Dev Riar, is a character of stark contrast to Harshad Mehta. He doesn’t exude the typical hero aura; his attire is disheveled, and his tan is earned from life’s hardships. Telgi is not the quintessential gangster, but rather a man who lurks in the background, wielding power from the shadows. The writing expertly portrays his transformation into a ruthless monster, although it could have delved deeper into his internal conflict and regrets.
The attention to detail in “Scam 2003” is commendable. Scenes like Telgi lavishly spending 90 lakhs on a dancer to display his prominence are executed with a perfect blend of drama and subtlety. However, the series occasionally relies too heavily on recurring motifs from “Scam 1992,” turning them into unwanted reminders that detract from the Telgi Scam narrative.
Gagan Dev Riar’s portrayal of Telgi is a standout performance. He immerses himself in the character to the point where it’s challenging to distinguish the actor from the real-life persona. Talat Aziz and Sana Shaikh deliver balanced performances, but some supporting cast members appear to be emulating characters from “Scam 1992.“
Directing “Scam 2003” comes with its challenges, and Tushar Hiranandani worships his central character, which sometimes overshadows the supporting cast. The conflicts are resolved too quickly, diminishing their impact. The music in the series, while good, doesn’t break new ground like its predecessor.
In conclusion, “Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story Part 1” offers an intriguing glimpse into the life of Abdul Karim Telgi and the intricacies of his scam. While it occasionally struggles to escape the shadow of “Scam 1992,” it holds promise for the remaining episodes. With a glass-half-full perspective, it remains to be seen whether the series will reach its full potential in subsequent installments.