Scam 2003 Review: The Telgi Story | Who is Abdul Karim Telgi

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read


  • Gagan Dev Riar
  • Mukesh Tiwari
  • Sana Amin Shaikh
  • Bharat Jadhav
  • Shaad Randhawa

Director: Tushar Hiranandani

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Category: Hindi, Biography, Crime, Drama

Scam 2003 Review

“Scam 2003: The Telgi Story” – A Journey into Infamy

In 2020, Hansal Mehta and Tushar Hiranandani brought us the gripping tale of Harshad Mehta in “Scam 1992.” A man who kept the Stock Exchange, SEBI, and even the Prime Minister’s Office on their toes. Now, three years later, this dynamic duo returns with “Scam 2003: The Telgi Story,” centered around the infamous scamster Abdul Karim Telgi. This true story is adapted from journalist Sanjay Singh’s book, “Telgi Scam: Reporter’s Diary,” and delves into Telgi’s staggering Rs 30,000 crore stamp paper scam, tracing his rise and eventual downfall.

A Fruit Seller Turned Kingpin

Abdul Karim Telgi, once a humble fruit seller on a train, would go on to become the nation’s most notorious scamster. What’s truly remarkable about Telgi (played by Gagan Dev Riar) is the adversity he faced throughout his life. Unlike other scamsters, Telgi didn’t have a flamboyant personality or a high-profile lifestyle. His transformation into the mastermind behind a multi-crore scam is nothing short of astonishing.

Showrunner Hansal Mehta understands that casting is paramount for success on screen. In “Scam 1992,” Prateek Gandhi’s portrayal of ‘Big Bull’ Harshad Mehta catapulted him to stardom overnight. This time, Gagan Dev Riar is poised to make an even bigger impact. He not only resembles the real Telgi but also captures the essence of the character, including the Hyderabadi dialect, with precision. Director Tushar Hiranandani deserves applause for extracting Riar’s exceptional performance. Casting director Mukesh Chhabra’s discerning eye also deserves commendation.

Unraveling Telgi’s Tale

The story of Telgi begins with his notorious narco-test and unfolds through flashbacks. He recounts his journey from a small-town businessman in Khanapur, Karnataka, to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. The series meticulously unravels the mysteries behind the stamp paper scam while shedding light on the pivotal events in Telgi’s life. In this review, we explore the first two episodes, which provide glimpses into Abdul Karim Telgi’s personal life.

The makers have ingeniously recreated 1990s Mumbai, a time when mobile phones and social media were absent from our lives. This era lends a certain charm to the show. However, in comparison to “Scam 1992,” there appears to be a slight imbalance in the storytelling this time. Telgi’s transformation from contentment to insatiable ambition seems somewhat abrupt on screen. His strained relationship with Kaushal Jhaveri (Hemang Vyas), a small-time con artist from Gujarat, is portrayed effectively. Hemang Vyas delivers a stellar performance as the bumbling Gujarati salesman who instills grand dreams in Telgi. In “Scam 1992,” Achint Thakkar’s musical beats, masterfully composed by Ishaan Chhabra, have been put to effective use.

Why Should You Watch?

Abdul Karim Telgi’s story has been a topic of discussion for decades. Yet, we’ve never witnessed a show or film of this magnitude centered around the stamp paper scam. Like “Scam 1992,” Hansal Mehta continues to build on his legacy with “Scam 2003.” In such a scenario, watching “Scam 2003” becomes a compelling choice.

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Review by Ronit Kawale 4 out of 5
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