The Broken News review: Jaideep Ahlawat, Sonali Bendre save predictable thriller | Web Series

The original The Broken News is a comedy parody developed by Mike Bartlett for the BBC a decade ago. Vinay Vaikul’s Indian adaptation trades a parody for a thriller. This is an interesting option if thrillers offer a dime-dozen in the Indian OTT landscape. It will probably make the job harder for Broken News to differentiate itself despite its interesting premise. The show focuses on the battle of TRPs and stories between two rival news channels and their editors. It begins with hope and mystery but it soon descends into something we all have seen before. One saving grace is the performance of Jaideep Ahlawat, who once again proves why he is highly respected for his craft. Also Read: Patel’s Jadeep Ahlawat and Sonali Bendre will star as the bartender in their OTT debut The Broken News

Broken news about the battle between Avaaz Bharati and Amanj Qureshi (Sonali Bendre) and Josh 24×7 led by Deepankar Sanyal (Jaideep). The first is a more ethical, smarter channel that still believes in journalism and objectivity, but the second is the number one news channel in the country, as it sensitizes and sells news like no other. The story follows a battle between two channels and their journalists as they try to unravel the big conspiracy they are preparing for their nose straight.

Zee5 Show is now thicker than other streaming streams in India. For one, it does not shy away from using real names of people and places. So you have references to IIMC, Dawood Ibrahim, etc. This makes the series a reality and makes it more authentic. But the real bold part of the series is to use current-day events from the real world and weave them into the narrative. It contains references to election bonds, cyber surveillance, the Lynch mob, the Me Too movement and the political-media affair. Other shows have done it in the past but some have done it seamlessly and organically. There is a scene where state ministers of state are having conversations with journalists about their mango eating preferences.

Broken News was billed and marketed as Sonali Bendre’s comeback vehicle, returning to acting several years later, and for the first time since her cancer battle four years ago. On top of that, this is his OTT debut. And this is a credible comeback. Sonali is at ease as Amina Qureshi, the ideal editor of Awaaz Bharati, and giving some of the much needed maturity to the role. It’s hilarious to see her break the mold on the screen and play a character with a nice but gray tinge. But the show is not hers. For one, the real heroine of the show is Shriya Pilgaonkar’s Radha Bhargava, and real star Jaideep Ahlawat is the TRP-hungry powerful journalist Deepankar Sanyal.

Shriya Pilgaonkar in Still of The Broken News.
Shriya Pilgaonkar in Still of The Broken News.

Jaideep exudes Deepankar’s confidence and ambition in every frame and convinces the audience that he is indeed an immoral journalist who sells everyone and everything for that big scoop. The gray color of his character and the zero effort that Jaideep brings to the forefront makes Broken News a delightful watch. Shriya Pilgaonkar should be careful. Typecast is in danger of becoming a perennial idealist fighting corrupt forces. Here he resembles his latest role as Radha Bhargava – the direct advocate of Guilty Minds, Kashaf Quaz. She’s a talented actress and she needs to find more roles to showcase her range.

Broken News is what it wants to be. It begins as a talk about a farce that 24-hour news channels can usually do. And it has established itself as a mirror for India’s loud news channels, which often serve as judges, jury and executioners. But soon, it becomes a common mystery that journalists will be private eyes to solve the case. What it does do is perform like many thrillers we’ve seen in the OTT space. Newsrooms become secondary and the USP of Broken News is dropped to the back of the room. Perhaps this is a better watch as a parody than the original British show.

Sonali Bendre has made an impressive comeback with Amina Qureshi in The Broken News.
Sonali Bendre has made an impressive comeback with Amina Qureshi in The Broken News.

It does not take much time to present to us who these people are outside the newsrooms. Aside from Jaideep’s character, whose backstory and motivations are well portrayed, the show leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Throughout the eight episodes that start streaming on Zee5 starting June 10, a lot of gaps remain unfilled. And that makes the characters somewhat two-dimensional. That said, I find it difficult for actors to stand out and make the show memorable and significant. Broken News is not a bad show. But it is not the greatest. What makes me great is that it can be amazing. It had all the right ingredients. It has chosen the safest path in terms of presentation and treatment, sacrificing the golden opportunity.

Series: Broken News

Director: Vinay Vaikul

Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Sonali Bendre, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Indranil Sengupta, Taruk Raina, Sanjita Bhattacharya, Akash Khurana and Kiran Kumar


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