Hansal Mehta‘s Netflix series “Scoop” on Sunday won the prizes for best Asian TV series and best lead actress for Karishma Tanna at the Busan International Film Festival‘s 2023 Asia Content Awards and Global OTT Awards.
The hard hitting crime drama series is based on journalist Jigna Vora’s 2019 memoir “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison.” Tanna plays the lead role of Jagruti Pathak, a scoop-hunting journalist who is caught in the nexus of the police, the underworld and the media.
Mehta (“Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story”) cast Tanna in the role because in her audition she had “the X factor” and that she “lights up a room.” “It’s an author backed role, it’s a dream come true role,” Tanna told Variety in Busan.
“The entire show is on this character Jagruti Pathak and the director has seen so much potential in you and you feel a responsibility,” Tanna added. “When I played this character, it allowed me to see a lot of facets of her personality and take me to the depths of the role. As an actor I like challenges and complex characters, I like that thrill on set of taking the graph up and down.”
Tanna debuted with Ektaa R. Kapoor’s long-running and immensely popular soap “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” in 2001 and her recent credits include Prime Video series “Hush Hush” and ZEE5 film “Lahore Confidential.” Tanna also won the 10th season of reality show “Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi.”
“I can tell you that in my so many years of career, this by far is my best project,” Tanna says about “Scoop.”
Mehta gave the actor a free hand to interpret the character as she deemed fit. “He doesn’t put you in any box, he just lets you be. He just says that, ‘do whatever as an actor you feel from inside, and you do it.’ So, many times, because he’s given you so much liberty as an actor, you open up, and you bring your imaginative side also to the character. And that’s what I did,” Tanna said.
Tanna added that actors tend to get nervous if the director wants a certain tonality, but she was let loose by Mehta who would then shape her performance the way he wanted. In terms of prep, Mehta was very clear that he did not want Tanna to meet Vora and copy her mannerisms. Instead,he took her to various Mumbai police stations and press clubs for her to understand the world of a crime reporter. In between, real life intervened.
“When we were shooting for the newsroom scenes, I was actually getting married then. So I was simultaneously prepping for my marriage and I was doing my dialogues during that schedule. I had heavy, informative dialogues,” Tanna said. “After marriage was my first schedule of the jail sequence where I had to totally de-glam, I had to get into that zone of what I have gone through.”
“Our art setup was so real that you actually felt you’re in jail. And the ladies in the jail, they were so real, they actually felt like they were inmates with me. It all added up to enhance the scenes,” Tanna said.
The actor hasn’t signed anything new yet and is working her way through several scripts that have come her way since “Scoop.” For now, she is basking in the series’ twin wins at Busan. “I’m just happy and thankful to Hansal-sir and Netflix for giving me this opportunity. And trying to just get my talent out,” Tanna said.
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