‘Reporters’ Review: The desi newsroom

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Show: Reporters
Stars: ***
Channel: Sony TV
Air time: Thursday, 9 pm

The show is called reporters but it is not based on the average pen pushing journos. It is about reporting on television, which is a whole different world. The show is perhaps India’s nod to America’s political drama series Newsroom. Rajeev Khandelwal who made the transition to films, and had stayed away from TV, returning with a serial is a coup of sorts. Kritika Kamra opposite him makes for a fresh pairing. Add to it the promo that had Rajeev kissing Kritika and her slapping him to prove that news can be created instantly brought the concept of the show to the fore. I was ready for some high-voltage drama in the newsroom, exciting reportage and breakthrough content. However, though the show has its elements in place it isn’t what I expected.

What it’s about: Kabir Sharma, an intelligent but ruthless print journalist can’t wait to make the transition to electronic media, which he thinks will give him more power. His wish is fulfilled when Khalid of KKN offers him the job of editor-in-chief. At KKN is Ananya Kashyap, a trainee reporter who idolises Kabir for his fiery and fearless reporting. Also, like every intern, she is idealistic and passionate about exposing the injustices in the society. In contrast is Manav, a power crazy reporter, who will go to any extent, even having an affair with the owner’s daughter. As for his credibility, he has none. He tips off a politician about a negative story the channel is planning to show and get it dropped. Amidst all this, a romantic track between the Kabir and Ananya is imminent.

What’s good: For the first time, we have got a serial set in a TV newsroom that delves into the lives of journalists, the pressures and the rivalries. The first episode packed in a lot of stuff from Ananya creating a scene in the hospital to get the truth out about a pregnant lady’s woes of reaching a hospital due to a barricade thanks to a minister’s visit, the channel owner sacking the editor for not getting ratings, Kabir giving a lecture to a class of journalists – equating news to nasha, and a minister with three grown-up children marrying a girl half his age. The narrative is fast-paced and interesting. Kritika as the idealistic start-up TV journo, who shares an extremely casual equation with her cameraman is bang-on. Rajeev looks every bit the arrogant, ruthless journalist who thrives on power, but he does need to loosen up a bit. Good production values. The characters are interesting, there is a lot of drama and for the layman a peek into the world of news.

What’s not: The subsequent episodes haven’t kept up with the first action-packed first one. Even the episode about a hotel raid in which an actress is caught in a sex racket reminiscent of a real case that rocked industry not so long ago was tame. All we were shown was Kabir getting a tip-off, telling his team that he is getting a big scoop for the nine-o’-clock news. The team has no idea what it is and even as Kabir reads it, the team is waiting for the footage. As he calls for a break, he tells the anxious team that his stringer has uploaded and the pictures are flashed. Each one seems to be working in isolation rather than as a team! Emphasis should have been on how the reporters go about unearthing news, coordinating with their editors and team members in the studio, etc and not just sensational news or exposes. But it’s early days perhaps we will see that in the coming episodes.

Verdict: Definitely a change from the routine fare on TV, but needs to focus more on news gathering rather than breaking news.

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