August 13, 2022
Jamtara review: Does this new Netflix original do justice to a compelling story?

Over a period of two years between April 2015 and March 2017, the police of 12 Indian states Allegedly Made 23 journeys by road from state capital Ranchi to the Jharkhand district of Jamtara in about six hours. They did this to investigate cybercrimes – primarily phishing, or rather vishing, a portmanteau of voice and phishing – emanating from one of the most underdeveloped districts, which was at the height of its notoriety in 2017. Limited [PDF] The effects of demonetisation, by some estimates, accounted for 80 percent of them. The people involved had bought luxury SUVs and set up fancy bungalows next to dilapidated cottages. And with few opportunities in the poverty-stricken country, phishing became a household business in Jamtara, which was known as the phishing capital of India.

On paper, this is a really fascinating story for a number of reasons. But the TV show – jamtara Worldwide is out on Netflix on Friday — it’s not about trends, statistics, or the big picture. They are about the people. The characters need the audience to be invested. unfortunately, jamtara, written by Trishant Srivastava (Nisha and her cousin), doesn’t do a great job in that regard. Its sly, motleys of cops and politicians are loosely sketched, with the series more interested in using them to drive the plot. It doesn’t help that its 10 episodes — critics including us, had access to the first six — lasted less than half an hour on average. That’s not nearly enough time to develop the characters, and so like when you have an ensemble cast and set up mini-cliffhangers with each episode.

what jamtara Have a well thought out, defined visual look to offer. Not enough Indian shows, except a select few like Delhi Crime, bother to focus on such aspects. But thankfully, National Award winning director Soumendra Padhi (Budhiya Singh: Born to Run) and his photography director Kaushal Shah (Goods) spent a considerable amount of time – Padhi claimed – designing a look for his series, testing various film and digital cameras during pre-production, and working on color grading during post-production. And it appears on the screen. shot with an anamorphic lens and then dialed in a distinctive yellow, jamtara Picks itself up from the series with a huge budget. Sometimes, it comes close to a prestige drama, although the writing can’t hold a candle.

Set in October 2015, jamtara follows young adult cousins ​​Sunny Mondal (Sparsh Srivastava) and Rocky (Anshuman Pushkar), successful con artists with differing ambitions. While Sunny seeks to marry a local English teacher, Gudiya Singh (Monica Panwar), to expand his operation, Rocky fulfills his political aspirations with the help of the corrupt and powerful local politician Brajesh Bhan (Amit Sial). Meanwhile, Brajesh, getting wind of the money being robbed by the boys, makes an offer to Rocky and Co. which they cannot refuse. Except Sunny wants no part of it, which exacerbates the rift between two cousins ​​whose worldviews are already vastly different, whether it’s on running a business or dealing with women.

And Sunny is right to be careful. While Brajesh has the local police – including drunken inspector Biswa Pathak (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) – under his thumb, the growing menace of cybercrime has thrust the city into the limelight. Jamtara district has a newly arrived superintendent of police in Dolly Sahu (Aksha Pardasani), a newly-graduated IAS officer, who is naturally driven to weed out criminals in her first posting. And on the other hand, Mahesh (Ravi Bhushan Bhartiya), editor of a local daily, is motivating budding journalist Anas Ahmed (Aasif Khan) to use his ties and share childhood with a phishing gang to give an exposure. . This is a volatile time to strike gold in Jamtara.

jamtara Understands that its true crime roots are the background, not the focus of the story. It is ultimately about the two men at its center – Sunny and Rocky – whose dynamics undergo a transformation over the course of the series. Friction starts to develop between the two when we first meet, and as the Netflix show progresses, Rocky and Sunny hug each other over and over again. (Brajesh soon becomes the third wheel in this relationship.) Of the two boys, the most developed character is Gudiya, who does not want to get involved in Sunny’s business, but is willing to compromise on her values ​​as she watches the wind. The gust of Dolly doesn’t get that much screen time and starts to feel one-dimensional.

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Aksha Pardasani as Dolly Sahu jamtara
photo credit: netflix

it is writing that jamtara Below, from both a scene-by-scene and an ordered arc perspective. Many times a Netflix series progresses in such a way that it seems that the makers have forgotten to film the connective tissue. This results in episodes where the Netflix series jumps from point A to point C without bothering to show us what B looks like. other places, jamtara Pulls off his heels and repeats himself, with the characters having essentially the same interactions throughout the episode. Not only does it slow down the narrative, it doesn’t tell us anything new about the people involved. elsewhere, jamtara Unable to concretely sculpt the moments that came before. And in a single incident at the premiere, a song-dance gap is left for no reason.

For what it’s worth, the actors – especially Panwar and Srivastava – are credible in the roles given to them, and Padhi’s direction is solid enough as he brings a finishing touch to the proceedings. But their work falls short of the fact that jamtara Always in a bit of a hurry, with that half-hour episode length moving the Netflix series to the next scene, over and over again. more importantly, jamtara betrays a lack of introspection and poignancy. It has nothing to say about the people of these disadvantaged, uneducated small towns, and no attempt to deeply understand who they are, the environment in which they work, or the social impact of what they do. As a result, a series about India’s neglected population is very guilty: neglect.

jamtara Out January 10 on Netflix in India and worldwide.

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