Wanted 'Scoop' to be different from other prison dramas says writer Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul

Mumbai, May 26 (PTI) Writer Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul says the biggest challenge while writing the upcoming Hansal Mehta-directed series "Scoop" was to ensure the treatment did not resemble other prison-set shows and movies.
    "Scoop", the six-part Netflix series, is inspired by journalist Jigna Vora's 2019 biographical book “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison”. In 2011, Vora was accused of killing journalist J Dey but was later acquitted by court.
    "When I first read it, I felt this is (set in a) prison, how do we make it different from (American drama) ‘Orange is (The New) Black’ or ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ (film), how do you get out of that mould?” Mrunmayee, known for co-writing “Thappad”, told PTI in an interview.
    The writer, who is the daughter of late actor Reema Lagoo, said she realised that her story will mostly focus on the life of undertrials.
    “It's about undertrials in a big house dormitory where women are stuffed together with their kids, belongings, and across strata and socio-economic divides. You have someone like Jagruti Pathak, some under poverty line people, some rich ones, who are well-connected, all of them in the same ecosystem. So, all that was fresh,” she said.
    Billed as a character drama, “Scoop” traces the journey of Jagruti Pathak, a crime reporter who lands in jail.
    Mrunmayee said she wanted to go beyond Vora's book and consequently made the decision to delve further into the connection between a crime journalist, police and underworld.
    "The worlds that we were building, like we have a newsroom, the underworld, police and prison world and the stories over there. So, we thought of building characters that will take us through these worlds in a compelling way, with it being Jagruti’s journey at the forefront,” the writer said.
    During her research, Mrunmayee met many journalists, lawyers, and cops to understand their reality. She also drew heavily on the extensive research undertaken by journalist Deepu Sebastian, whose work served as the inspiration for Mehta's “Aligarh” (2015).
    “We did that kind of work because I have never been a journalist, cop or been to prison. I had no lived experience. (But) I didn’t want it to feel like, you have seen this in a movie or show, or is inspired from there and that,” she said.
    Mrunmayee also met Vora in order to comprehend her personality and the dynamics in a newsroom.
    Actor Karishma Tanna, best known for soap opera “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and Rajkumar Hirani’s film “Sanju”, headlines the first season of “Scoop”.
    Mrunmayee, who has assisted Rajkumar Hirani on "3 Idiots" and Reema Kagti in "Talaash", said the release of "Thappad” just before the pandemic helped her get more work.
    "The film was released before the pandemic and I was one of the writers, who got a lot of work. Female writers, women empowerment stories, those kinds of things came more to me.
    "‘Scoop’ was something that he (Mehta) had sent my way and I could see why. I love writing women stories, but it has to be a good story...”
    Also starring Prosenjit Chatterjee, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, and Harman Baweja, among others, “Scoop” will stream on Netflix from June 2.
    It is produced by Matchbox Shots, Sarita Patil and Dikssha Jyote Routray.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)