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#Scam2003Review: A new star is born, Gagan Dev is fantastic


September 01, 2023 | 11:50 am
3 min read

Hansal Mehta’s ‘Scam 2003: The Telgi Story – Part 1’ premiered on SonyLIV on Friday

After setting a benchmark with Scam 1992, Hansal Mehta has returned with its sequel, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story.

Was he successful at recreating the Scam magic? Well, he surpassed it with flying colors.

A worthy standalone sequel to the original series, many things make Scam 2003 an interesting watch but Gagan Dev Riar’s performance is the foremost.

Read our review.

Premise: The Rs. 30,000 crore scam that rocked India

It’s about Abdul Karim Telgi, a small B. Com pass fruit vendor from Karnataka who is the mastermind behind one of India’s biggest scams. Telgi sells fruits on a train in a unique way, before he lands a job in Mumbai.

An ambitious Telgi eventually makes his way up in the world of scams and commits the stamp paper fraud of Rs. 30,000 crore.

Riar is the heart and soul of this scam

From the opening scene to the very end, it’s Riar who’ll win you over as Telgi. Whether it’s the immense physical transformation he underwent or his acting chops, Riar will leave you impressed in more than one way.

The simplicity with which he has played the role is one of the finest performances of this year. His theater experience has definitely shone through.

Mehta’s tight screenplay is a winner

One of the highlights of the series is that there is absolutely no unnecessary build-up here. The story dives straight into the early days of Telgi, how he landed in Mumbai and his first scam where he intended to help the poor.

The story grows with each episode but at no point will it lose your interest; it’s gripping and intriguing.

It’s a clever work at dialogue writing

Telgi’s appearance has been kept simplistic but it’s the dialogue that adds weight to his appearance. He has been given edgy one-liners that work wonders.

If Scam 1992 had “Risk hai toh ishq hai (if there’s a risk, there’s love),” Scam 2003 has: “Life mai aage badhna hai toh daring karni padegi na darling (To move ahead in life, you’ll have to be daring).”

Mehta and Tushar Hiranandani’s co-direction has turned fruitful

Whether it was the wide angles or using the heritage sites (and colleges) of Mumbai and around to recreate the important locations, Scam 2003 is almost perfect. Jointly directed by Mehta and Tushar Hiranandani, the crime drama is crisp with its direction.

Both Mehta and Hiranandani get full points for their eye for the camera angles and the way shots have been captured.

Crisp editing might have helped

It’s possibly the screen time where it lost a few points. Scam 2003 has been split into two volumes, with each volume comprising a total of five episodes. While the first part was released on Friday, the second can be expected in October.

Every episode is over 45 minutes long and should have been chopped by a few minutes.

The sequel is at par with the original

Scam 2003, which premiered on SonyLIV, is equally good if not better than Scam 1992. The Indian crime drama deserves to be on your weekend watchlist.

The first part is about the beginning of the scam while the second will focus on the downfall of Telgi and how the scam gets exposed.

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 (half a star for Riar).

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