SonyLIV’s latest offering Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story is set to stream from October 9. The show will unravel the man and the story behind India’s biggest securities scandal. Helmed by Hansal Mehta, the 10-episode series will have Pratik Gandhi play the titular role of the controversial stockbroker, while Shreya Dhanwanthary will play Sucheta Dalal, the journalist who investigated and reported the scam.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Shreya spoke about her new project, getting into the skin of her character and more.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Scam 1992 is set to release tomorrow. What’s the emotion right now?
I am extremely nervous and equally excited. I have seen the show, and I don’t know if it’s a good omen to talk about it, but it has come out fantastic. However, given I am playing the great Sucheta Dalal, who is a living breathing person, it does give me jitters.
As you rightly mentioned, she is a real person, and viewers would have a reference to judge…
(Cuts in) That’s exactly why I am nervous. She broke the news about something so massive. The entire scam was unraveled by her. Everyone knows her. She is the recipient of the biggest civilian award. It is a lot to play given she is such an accomplished person.
What was your process while playing the part. Did you add a bit of Shreya in it?
Of course, there was reference, and we wanted to do justice to the material available. And then there was the writers and directors’ vision. But one thing we wanted to make sure was that I wasn’t imitating. There is a thin line between playing a person and caricaturing them. Hansal gave me a very great suggestion that it will come more naturally if I internalise all the research, and become more of the character. One facet that we did add was that Sucheta thinks very fast, and when you have to get all the information from her mind quickly, you tend to speak a little faster. So that’s a quirk that you will see in the character I play.
Did you meet Sucheta Dalal before playing her?
I did meet her once, but we didn’t really talk. I was mostly observing her. And in such meetings, you are at your best behavior. So my research was mostly the archival footage, and of course the voice she has when she writes those news articles.
So how did the show happen to you?
I am a huge Hansal Mehta fan, and when I got to know that he is directing it, I begged and begged for an audition. The scene that you guys saw in the teaser was my audition, and it was a huge seven-page long scene. It was very intense but went quite well. However, I did not hear from them for quite a long time. And suddenly I got a call that I was in, and in a couple of months, we went on the floor.
When you are part of a story that involves a scam and controversy, how important is it to keep your personal opinions aside?
Normally when you are playing a character, you want to understand rather than judging them. It really helps if you approach it with empathy. Also, what worked for me was that initially I did not really understand what he pulled off. I had to sit down with my dad, who explained the entire scam to me. So yes, understanding helps in playing such parts.
Since the show is based in the 80-90s, how was it to shoot?
It was amazing. I have always been a fan of period stuff, and things that are not related to me. I enjoy playing characters which are not even remotely close to me. And this was a story from the time I wasn’t even born. It was just too much fun. The costume and artwork is breathtaking. It just made the show even better.
What can we expect from the 1992 Scam?
It’s a fantastic show, and I am saying it because I have already seen it. We have an amazing ensemble, and most in the team have worked on it for more than two years. Pratik Gandhi will surprise you, and Hansal Mehta has outdone himself once again. Even Jay Mehta, who is co-directing the show, took care of everything from the word go. He would even be particular about which side I carry the bag, or hold a book. The music of the show is also amazing, and I can go on and on talking about it (laughs). I hope all of you give us some love and enjoy watching the show.
Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story also stars Satish Kaushik, Sharib Hashmi, Anant Mahadevan, Nikhil Dwivedi, KK Raina, Lalit Parimoo among more.
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