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Scam 2003: The Telgi Story, The Anatomy Of Profound  Fraudulency



Scam 2003: The Telgi Story

Scam 2003: The Telgi Story(5 episodes, SonyLIV)

Rating: ****

From the way the  astonishing Gagan Dev Riar  portrays him, Abdul Karim Telgi  was  not a charming  man  to  know.

Then  what made  him bribe his way  through the most catastrophic  stamp-paper  forging  scandal in  India’s financial history?  Not too educated, minimally charming,not a great talker either  and certainly no  Charles Sobhraj when it came to seducing favour providers,  Telgi was just a luck-pushing  lout who  got his  way through  bureaucracy by  greasing palms.

 One of  the  things  I find  incredibly hard  to  believe in this powerful story of  absolute corruption is  how easily Telgi  manages to bribe the emtire bureaucracy. Even the seemingly incorruptible  succumb easily  when Telgi gets to tap  the  greed nerves, first nervously then more confidently.

The case of Madhusudan  Mishra  in Episode 4 is  specially ponderable.  At first the seemingly incorruptible  Mishra  refuses to be  bribed. Then  Telgu gets him  something he always wanted: a promotion.

Applause  Entertainment’s Scam 2003: Telgi Story, like Applause’s  Scam 1992 where Harshad Mehta  bribed his way to  a stockmarket crashdown, brings the real story alive through authentic locations  and  performances .

 Telgi is  far less smart and worldwise  than Harshan Mehta. In fact he struck me  as  pointedly dimwitted in the tactless way he  tries to  bribe cops  and politicians.  But  then, not having known how  the wheels  of  bureaucracy are  oiled. I only have Hansal Mehta,  the  show’s   overall director’s word  for it.And as we know, Hansal’s world  counts.

Although series-director director Tushar Hiranandani gives  us no reason to complaint the  direction at times falls short  of  breath, especially in the  big confrontation scenes; Telgi’s fall-out with his  first partner needed  more  room to  grow into  an eruption of resentment. Instead  we  see an emotional clam-up every time Telgi is put in a spot.

 I am not sure that is Telgi’s or the  director’s failure. Where the show scores resounding  success is in showing  the rise of  an ordinary cheat of the pickpocket calibre into  a national-level scamster.Telgi’s selfconfidence ,often misplaced, is confidently brought  out by Gagan Dev Riar. He  is  the man in the torn chappals in a  tearing hurry.

 There is  also a violent side to the man, which no one   can understand.When one of his gangmen tries to steal from him Telgi batters  him to death, only to be  haunted by the murdered  man’s ghost.

No amount of wealth can  compensate  for the loss of the innocence  when  you set  off to be rich overnight.Shakespeare  got there fight. Telgi is  no Macbeth.  But the blood on the hands is  interchangeable.

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