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The Broken News Review: A Thrilling Drama Between Two Rival News Channels

The show is available to stream on ZEE5.

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The Broken News

The Broken News Review: A Thrilling Drama Between Two Rival News Channels

Who can in today’s time escape the incessant barrage of noise that seems to enter our lives from everywhere, every pore, every screen and every conversation in the world, which masks itself as news? We live in a world where it is now impossible to escape having something sold to us.

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When you and I open our televisions or pull up this article to read the news or a review of a show, we aren’t looking to advertise products but one can’t escape it. It’s everywhere. When we go on google to search for a pasta recipe or whether gorillas can speak to humans, we aren’t looking to buy even there. On Instagram, when we connect with friends and like their pictures and compare ourselves to others for no good reason, we don’t want to go shopping even then, but ad after ad, it’s all there.

The news media has garnered an ugly and dirty reputation worldwide, where different news channels pledge allegiance to different ideologies and companies and sell agendas, either by being bought to do so or forced to do so in countries where dictatorships are prevalent so what then, is freedom of the press? The integrity of the press? Business of the press? The Broken News explores these questions.

This show explores how ruthless media houses are out and out waging a war of popularity and TRPs with one another, to remain in favour and the limelight of the public, making sure their funds don’t dry up, much like any other competing business and even political parties. Remember folks, if you get access to anything, any story on tv or any post online, and you got it for free? Then, you are the product.

Capitalism is one of the few systems in the world that, broken or not, actually seems to work for the most part (when balanced with a healthy social welfare state of course).

Capital freedom and industrial freedom are one of the most necessary things for a race of people to feel motivated and to keep them moving and going and for anyone harbouring daydreams about a state where we all live in government homes and share all our meagre wages and live in a commune is surely out of touch with reality.

Money does make the world go round and governments, when given absolute power, are absolutely corrupt and those who scream from the rooftops about putting power back in the hands of the people? Yeah, that’s only till they’re voted into power. After that, they’re no longer the people and you no longer matter.

Jaideep Ahlawat plays a workaholic small-town boy who has grown into the man of men, a bold and defiant businessman in his own right, a reporter who knows how to tell a story and how to make the news breaking. He is suave, he is unstoppable and he is in direct competition with his business rival’s channel.

Sonali Bendre, his editor in rivalry and chief of the other camp, is equally capable and experienced but her arm is being bent behind her back. Between her journalistic integrity and the advertising money, where will she go and what can she do? Wading the dirty murky male-dominated waters, we see her being backed up against the wall and fighting back.

These two though, have more in common than they realise and so the professional rivalry remains exciting and believable - two rival news channels, fighting for the top story and fighting for the top reporters - poaching, using, manipulating and betrayal. All is fair in love and media wars, I suppose.
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Shriya Pilgaonkar plays a young reporter whose focus remains on her professional life. She is feisty, edgy and difficult in all the right urban ways and works for Bendre. She is increasingly frustrated with working under Bendre, who is unable to support her idealism like she wishes she could. What will Shriya do? Stick with her team? Go to the rivals? Go her separate way? With this, she struggles all the while investigating the death of her colleague and flatmate who she believes was murdered. This creates a recipe for disaster again and again between the three of them. Along with these three and the stories they fight over, there’s a whole cast of other employees, friends, flatmates and more.

The stories they cover are, albeit, a little done but some were spot on in predicting the future. Through the stories covered by Jaideep and Sonali in their respective channels, we also see a commentary on society. Stories about lead actors molesting women on crews, about businessmen doing dirty shady deals with terrorists and foreign influences and about politicians trying to buy and sell MLAS (given the timing of the release of this show and the name of the character accused of doing the same and what’s happening in Maharashtra, it almost seems too insane to not have been coordinated. Talk about art imitating life and vice versa?).

The show is gripping and written at breakneck speed. There’s no moment of respite and it is binge-worthy. For most people, this will be one of those things they can’t stop watching.

Yes, there are unnecessary voiceovers and flashbacks in places. There are also stories which seem like we have seen in other shows before, like Guilty Minds, but everything comes together with just the right amount of glamour and dirt, a combination audiences can’t get enough of (me included). There is so much going on, first within the business rivalry between the two media channels and then with the film industry and businesses in India, that it is difficult to keep up with and that is why one should watch this show.

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The Broken News is a mirror held up to society in the hands of two rival media channels and the stories they fight over and the people who they in the process use, discard and fight with. So no warnings here, don’t beware with this one, go into it with open arms because while heavy and a little preachy and on the nose with its messaging, wielding around its moral high ground, it is an important show to watch and more importantly, its a nail-biting edge of the seat experience. For all those who want to seek the truth, this might be a good place to start.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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