Series Review: The Broken News

Series Review: The Broken News

Starring: Sonali Bendre Behl, Jaideep Ahlawat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Faisal Rashid, Taaruk Raina, Akash Khurana,

Director: Vinay Waikul

As the trend of multilingual shows subtitled in English become popular among global Indian audiences the world over, this latest ZEE5 series fits right in with its simultaneous release in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada this month.

Amina Qureshi (Bendre Behl) is the admired boss of Awaaz Bharti news channel, which seems to be fighting the TRP [Television Rating Point] losing battle of trying to toe the fine line between ethics and sensationalism. In sheer contrast is Josh 24x7, headed by Dipankar Sanyal (Ahlawat) who makes no bones about chasing the most revenue friendly and TRP boosting “stories”, with the concept of unbiased and balanced news not allowed to come in the way of that goal.

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These two rival channels inevitably find themselves chasing the same headlines, with each keen to scoop the other. While Radha Bhargava (Pilgaonkar) relies on her knack as a hardened investigative journalist to get to the truth for Awaaz Bharti, she struggles under the financial constraints of a channel that is desperately trying not to be dragged down to the level of its rival.

The mysterious death of her flatmate adds a further dimension to Radha’s outlook, as the dark side of news hits a little too close to home. A chance encounter with a fresh entrant to the profession at Josh 24X7, Anuj Saxena (Raina), sets off a chain of events that will have consequences that will blur the lines of morality and ethics all round. Will Radha be able to get to the bottom of the truth behind her flatmate’s death or will she herself end up in prison?

‘The Broken News’ does a great job of recreating the complexities of Indian television news media, where the concept of reporting news has been battered out of shape in recent times. Sonali Bendre Behl makes a refreshing return to the screens as the committed news professional who tries hard to stay focussed on chasing the truth over TRPs. Jaideep Ahlawat plays the unlikeable news anchor’s role, reminiscent of real-life dubious anchors, to the hilt. Shriya Pilgaonkar as the rare breed of ethical journalists determined to uncover the truth is equally impressive as she balances her personal and professional dilemmas convincingly.

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The supporting cast in this fast-paced series, including fresh-faced journalists who can be seen losing their idealism with each passing episode, are all chosen perfectly for each character. Overall, this show will most certainly appeal to anyone who laments the state of Indian television journalism today. But beyond that, this is a well-crafted series about a very topical and important issue of freedom of expression and the different shapes it is taking in a world dominated by social media.

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