Netflix’s Jamtara pulled back the curtain on small-town India’s scammers. Known as the ‘phishing capital’ of India, Jharkhand’s Jamtara and its talented conmen were depicted in the show’s first season. The second season ups the game and how. Created and directed by Soumendra Padhi, this show is just getting better.
Both conmen and the conned have learnt their lesson in the first season. The new season begins where the story seemed to have ended for many of its characters. From Sunny to Gudia and even Brajesh Bhan, life hasn’t been smooth sailing. But be it the circumstances or the lure of easy money, phishing is a part of their lives.
Bigger and bolder scams
If Jamtara season 1 was about credit card and debit card-related scams, season 2 is bolder and more innovative. From exam admit cards to dating apps to lotteries, nothing escapes the phishing ambitions of Jamtara’s shrewdest.
While Brajesh Bhan, played by the brilliant Amit Sial, wants phishing to build back his political glory and demolish his opponents. For Gudiya, played by Monika Pawar and pitted against Bhan, it’s a fight for survival. Her role is significant for both the tenacity her character displays and for depicting the dual exploitation based on poverty and gender. However, she is in it to do or die.
Sunny, the original mastermind of the Jamtara phishing enterprise is in hospital after narrowly escaping death in the last season. Even as he languishes in the common ward of a rural hospital, he teaches young school children of Jamtara how to do phishing.
The despair and hunger is palpable in every single frame of the show. Padhi’s meticulous research takes the cake. Sparsh Srivastava who plays Sunny told ThePrint in an interview, “We had intensive workshops for months. By now, we have really become the characters.”
Anshumaan Pushkar who plays Sunny’s brother Rocky agreed and said, “When we meet, we have to remind ourselves we are not in Jamtara. That is how well the workshops worked for all of us to get into the psyche of the characters.”
It’s a wholly amoral world and full of greys and blacks. While conning had been glamourised in western ethos with iconic films like Catch Me If You Can (2002) to recent shows like Inventing Anna and Tinder Swindler, what makes Jamtara tick is that it’s rooted in jugaad and the underdogs, whose only way of surviving is conning.
Stellar ensemble cast
Jamtara had worked its magic in the first season through its earnest actors and they are as good in the new season. From Dibyendu Bhattacharya, the small-town cyber policeman to Sunny and even Bhan, everyone delivers solid performances.
Jamtara is brought to life by its characters and you can’t really decide who is your favourite. The back stories are gloomy for most of the small-time cons. For Bhan, as Amit Sial points out, the phishing business is a way of passing time and feeling powerful. “He is a sociopath, and there is no saving him,” said Sial of his character.
This season is enhanced by two more entrants—Ravi Chahar and the superb Seema Pahwa. Chahar is probably the guy to look out for in the second season who scams young men looking for ‘nude pics’ of women on dating/chatting apps. The voice modulation of his desperation and determination to make it big is flawless. Pahwa as Buaji, pits Gudiya against Bhan and she is the master puppeteer who will stop at nothing to gain political clout.
Your heart might skip a beat the next time when someone asks you for OTP. The second season of Jamtara makes you believe that Sabka Number Ayega.
(Edited by Ratan Priya)