Rip-off 2003: The Telgi Story
Showrunner: Hansal Mehta
Dir: Tushar Hiranandani
Forged: Gagan Dev Riar, Sana Amin Sheikh
There isn’t any Indian present I’ve waited as eagerly for its second instalment as Rip-off 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story (2020). Which is that this, specifically, Rip-off 2003: The Telgi Story. The primary was a breakout sequence for the OTT platform SonyLIV.
Simply one of the best of its form. Excitingly detailing the rise and fall of the Bombay Inventory Alternate Huge Bull, Harshad Mehta. Bravely naming names. Entertainingly recording occasions that shook up India’s stock-market and private finance. Sufficient to make one realise the potential of a strong, multi-layered, long-form sequence as a spot to retailer standard historical past.
At the least on paper, Rip-off 2003 is an analogous try, primarily based on the lifetime of Abdul Karim Telgi, a Kannada criminal, who moved to Bombay, to tug off a faux stamp-paper rip-off, operating into unspecified, uncountable crores.
The one factor widespread between the 2 Scams, as a sequence, is the handpicked high quality of its solid. By which I imply virtually everybody, from the lead, that’s the beginner Gagan Dev Riar as Telgi, to the previous bureaucrat manning the federal government’s printing press in Nashik, right down to the ghazal singer Talat Aziz taking part in
None of whom you’re used to, on display. Which makes the OTT as such a revolution of kinds for matching first-timers, with appropriately outstanding or walk-on elements.
Such that, quickly, each aspiring actor in India, it seems, would’ve made it to the display—as a result of they seem genuine sufficient for that one cameo, not less than, that can swimsuit their face/character one of the best!
Diligent casting brokers are neatly elevating this trade. One in every of them, Mukesh Chhabra, the present’s casting director, does a cameo as effectively—discovered throwing cash at a Bombay dance bar.
It’s an necessary sequence. Given the primary time I heard Telgi’s story was in context of the dance bar itself, that’s been successfully banned in Mumbai since 2005.
In an early scene right here, an inmate within the lock-up explains to Telgi how the dance bar and ‘hawalaat’ are comparable—when you’re in, you retain coming again.
I used to be as soon as informed the explanation Telgi finally bought caught is as a result of he’d blown near a crore, over an evening, on the South Bombay dance-bar Topaz as soon as. He’d fallen for a bar-dancer, Tarannum Khan. A income officer was in the identical room. Intrigued, he did a little analysis on who this weird bloke was, and the way he held that kinda liquid money.
That’s not precisely what occurs within the sequence. Telgi does name consideration to himself, nevertheless, doing the identical factor. This public show of wealth is a horrible concept for anybody with a lot to cover, particularly with a number of collectors or stakeholders in an unlawful dhanda.
Submit that night time, we watch the cut-rates of all of Telgi’s conduits, mainly politicians and police, go up. There’s a lesson on safety in anonymity for all businessmen right here. And which enterprise in India is 100 per cent clear anyway.
Solely that Telgi, in contrast to, say, Harshad Mehta, is hardly a businessman. What does he do? He prints faux stamp-papers, used for all authorized paperwork, that the federal government makes R33,000 crore yearly from.
It’s the identical as printing faux foreign money notes. Earlier, in a Sholay-like practice theft, Telgi and his males used to exchange licensed stamp papers with faux ones, whereas they bought ferried on rail. That’s how he began. The present relies on Sanjay Singh’s e-book, Telgi Rip-off: A Reporter’s Diary.
You may see it as a criminal offense procedural, subsequently. Solely that it shouldn’t take various minutes to elucidate this course of. Which might be why, like a lot of peak TV content material, which are borderline first rate—Rip-off 2003 feels just like the lengthy, first reduce of a movie, loosely prolonged right into a sequence.
Is it authentically journalistic sufficient? How can or not it’s, when Telgi is who he’s, however all people round him really feel faux like pure fiction. What with, say, a “secular” social gathering, run by a “distant management” that got here to energy, with white for a celebration flag, in 1995, Maharashtra! I can see why you may’t identify names, in contrast to Rip-off 1992. Solely Telgi isn’t any extra!
Will the present do for the stunning lead actor Riar, although—portly Muslim man, with hennaed hair, altogether and not using a roar—what Rip-off 1992 did for the strong Pratik Gandhi, as Harshad Mehta?
Extremely unlikely. As a result of, as towards Mehta, Telgi’s story has bought no different dimension, not to mention any messianic or redemptive high quality to the lead character. In addition to, that he needs to faux it, to make it. There are merely no layers.
Or possibly it’s the sequence, for what it encapsulates—making you are feeling so thanda/distant, all by way of. As should you’re going by way of the chronology of Telgi’s life, quite than ever peeking into his head. At no level did I discover myself rooting for this man, which is the responsible pleasure that makes movies/exhibits about dangerous males so alluring, anyway.
What did I really feel, patiently labouring over this, in three instalments, over two days? That it’s not a specific badly made present. Only a bore, frankly. And that is solely the primary a part of the sequel. Since I’ve began, will end the second too, every time it’s out. This time, the expectations might be manner decrease. And that’s in all probability an important factor, at all times.