Jamtara: Web Series Review
“As Netflix unveils the lives and faces of the fraudsters behind phishing in their latest original series Jamtara, how much of the buzz it created is authentic? Is it worth your while? Find out in this review.”
In the small village of Jamtara, Jharkhand, Sunny (Sparsh) and Rocky Mondal (Anshuman) head a gang of guys who excel in phishing. From uneducated layman to sophisticated high-profiled individuals, they don’t spare a single person when it comes to scamming people of their money. Becoming famous for their efficiency, the local politician, Brajesh Bhan (Amit), takes notice of the boys and strikes a deal with them- they share their earnings with him, in turn, he’ll provide protection to them from the police. In the cat-and-mouse chase between these boys, police, and politics, who wins remains to be seen.
Creating a lot of buzz upon its premiere, Jamtara puts forth a face of India we rarely get to see, despite being the victim of it. We have all got those suspicious phone calls or texts from people pretending to be bank employees. Those who fall prey to their schemes end up losing money. Netflix’s Jamtara unveils the lives of these fraudsters, bringing the story from India’s cybercrime hub.
It tells the story from the perspective of two brothers, Sunny & Rocky Mondal and their gang of cronies. Most of them underage, these illiterate boys are street smart in looting all sorts of people of their money via credit card frauds, earning in lakhs on a good day. When these scams grab the attention of the entire nation, as well as the local politician, Brajesh, their simple game of scheming turns into a deathly game of powerplay.
These characters in the series take both the cherry and the cake with their outstanding performances. Amit’s Brajesh is the greasy politician, who has a cupboard full of skeletons in his backyard. Despite his polished appearance, his innate treachery is apparent through his actions and words. Amit portrays him with such conviction that you have to hate Brajesh.
You can’t pinpoint someone as the lead actor in Jamtara, but Sparsh comes as close to being the lead as possible, for the story’s benefit. His Sunny is the mastermind of the small crime syndicate, and as long as everything was under his control it all worked like a well-oiled machine. The logical and smartest one of the group, Sunny grows on you over time with his adorable yet cocky demeanor. Rocky, played by Anshuman, is the perfect counterpart to Sunny– the careless brother who dreams big without a proper plan, his hot head influencing all his actions. His wish to become a politician becomes the destruction point for Sunny and his gang, resulting in at the end of their phishing days.
Another point that is noteworthy in Jamtara is the strong woman characters. Be it Sunny’s mother beating up his alcoholic father, the new SP Dolly Sahu (Aksha) or Gudiya (Monika) – a simple girl who uses Sunny as her getaway card, all of them are fearless in the face of megalomania or patriarchy, standing by their opinions firmly. They are not mere crutches to support the story, and Monika & Aksha portray these independent women in a frigid environment, with unerring precision and conviction.
Here’s why the lengthy emphasis on characters is necessary- from Sunny to Dolly or even Biswa (played by Dibyendu, a cop vacillating between good and bad), these are the people you have seen everywhere. You know them- the bad guy who isn’t evil, the cop determined to prove something. These regular guys become distinctive thanks to the actors who play them, giving something new to something old.
Soumedra Padhi creates a perfect Jamtara for the plot to unfold in. Way out of modern India’s reach, Jamtara is the sleepy town where casteism and gender discrimination still divides society. A town of vices, Soumendra creates a noir, where still waters run deep and turbulently, with the help of the cinematographer and the editor.
Jamtara gradually builds up tension and anticipation in the first few episodes successfully, but then it goes haywire halfway through. The story’s straight route forks into complex trails, unsure of its destination. The crisp storyline which maintained the taught line of promptness engaging the audience becomes slack intermittently. It picks up in the very end, but the essence somehow gets lost due to the previous slack. The effective cliffhangers at the end of each episode keep you hooked enough to binge-watch the show till the end.
Jamtara comes alive majorly due to its characterizations and its world-building that keeps you going. Worth the hype it created.
Jamtara is a story inspired by true events.
Jamtara marks the Award-winning director Soumendra Padhi’s digital debut. It all also marks the digital debut for actors Sparsh Shrivastav, Anshuman Pushkar, Monika Panwar, Aksha Pardasany.
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