Is Netflix’s Scoop Based on a True Story?

Netflix’s ‘Scoop’ is an Indian crime drama series that delves into the interconnected crime investigative web of journalists, politicians, and the police. Created by Hansal Mehta and starring Karishma Tanna in the lead role, it follows a decorated crime journalist, Jagruti Pathak. After the death of her rival journalist, Jaideb Sen, her life suddenly turns for the worse when she gets accused of abetting in his murder. Backed in a corner on her own, Jagruti has to defend herself and prove her innocence to the world.

With thrilling plotlines and fleshed-out characters, ‘Scoop’ tackles a socially tense situation through a riveting and empathetic narrative. Featuring gripping performances from Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub and Harman Baweja, among others, the series bring a fresh perspective to journalism and its relation to the criminal world. Since the story references several characters and instances reminiscent of real life, viewers might wonder about the show’s origin. As such, here is everything you need to know about the same!

Is Scoop a True Story?

Yes ‘Scoop’ is based on a true story. The crime series is based on a 2019 book by Indian journalist Jigna Vora titled ‘Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison.’ In 2011, a famed journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, often called J Dey, was murdered by the infamous Indian mobster Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, AKA Chhota Rajan’s gang. While investigating the homicide, the police arrested Vora, who went to prison for alleged involvement in the crime. However, seven years later, the authorities acquitted her of all charges regarding the case after she successfully proved her innocence.

Vora’s 2019 memoir details her experience in prison and the trauma she underwent in the process. “When you believe that you are innocent, you turn overconfident… I think my confidence did me in,” the journalist said in a 2018 interview. ” At the time of her arrest, Vora’s story made for sensational news and was a topic of national discussion for a long time. Vinod Tawde, a known politician, criticized the arrest stating, “She [Jigna] was arrested without strong evidence in the journalist’s [J Dey’s] murder case.”

Tawde added, “She [Jigna] is unlikely to have killed J Dey merely because she told him that ‘you consider yourself very smart.’ We want to know the real truth.” As such, there was a conversation about the flimsy circumstantial evidence against Vora. However, many still attacked her. “I was scared of coming out [of jail] because I didn’t know how society would look at me,” the wrongly accused journalist recalled her experience after leaving prison on bail. “I was labeled a woman from the underworld, a prime accused, and a murderer. I wasn’t sure how my family would react to my presence.”

Ultimately, Jigna Vora was acquitted in 2017 and decided to share her experience with the world in her memoir, ‘Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison.’ As such, by basing itself on her book, the series efficiently tells her story empathetically and respectfully. When discussing his draw to ‘Scoop,’ director Mehta said, “It was something that plagued me then, and I felt like there was a potential to go beyond the book, beyond the prison memoir to explore.”

Jigna Vora//Image Credit: Hussain Zaidi Books/YouTube

“So I wanted to explore her journey leading into this whole imprisonment, and that sort of excited me,” the filmmaker said. “I was not really just keen on a pure prison drama. Which is why we decided that we wanted to fictionalize the story and sort of tell a cautionary tale of our times. Go beyond just a biography or documentation of true events and turn it into a larger cautionary drama of our times.” As such, although the series is based on Vora’s story and her experiences with J Dey’s murder investigation and trial, it employs the fictional character of Jagruti Pathak in the real-life journalist’s place.

Jagruti forms the center of ‘Scoop’s’ narrative. Her struggle against a system that wrongfully convicted her of a crime makes her a compelling protagonist that the viewer constantly roots for. In doing so, the series urges the viewers to question the world around them and realize its faults. While researching for the show, Mehta preferred to keep things minimal on his part. “I have a theory about research that, as a director, if I get too bogged down by the research, it shows in my work,” Mehta shared in another interview.

However, ‘Scoop’s’ writing team, including Mrunmayee Lagoo and Mirat Trivedi, spearheaded the research aspect of scriptwriting and interviewed several people involved in Vora’s case. Mehta also worked with Deepu Sebastian on this series. Sebastian, the inspiration behind the director’s 2015 biographical drama ‘Aligarh,’ is a former employee of the news publication Indian Express and has on-field journalism experience.

“I sort of used the script as my starting point, not the book, not the real people. Because anyway, we are fictionalizing. It’s fictionalized and dramatized. The seed of it came from those nine months in jail,” Mehta said in the same interview. Therefore, ‘Scoop’ is based on actual events and real people and fictionalizes the story of Jigna Vora. To do so, the series bases itself on Vora’s own account of the event in her memoir. However, for the sake of a linear narrative, in accordance with the series’ message, it also affords suitable creative liberty to its plotlines and characters.

Read More: Scoop: Is Jaideb Sen Based on a Real Reporter?