Jamtara: The scams get inventive but the plot dwindles

Before the cyber scams, the youngsters giving sedatives and looting travellers on trains and the horse-riding thugs, there were snakes in Jamtara.

Published: 26th September 2022 10:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2022 10:47 AM   |  A+A-

Jamtara Season 2

Express News Service

Before the cyber scams, the youngsters giving sedatives and looting travellers on trains and the horse-riding thugs, there were snakes in Jamtara. The quaint district in Jharkhand is even named after them (Jam in Santali means snake and Tar means residence). If I had to make a desperate analogy, I would say that the second season of the Netflix show 'Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega' slithers faster than the first, but its bite leaves a faint mark.

What is impressive is that the makers (Soumendra Padhi, Trishant Srivastava and Nishank Verma) have tried to one up from season 1. The scams feel inventive, well-researched and scarcely repetitive. The first installment was content in gloating about the ingenuity of the idea: A series on cyber scamsters who even duped Amitabh Bachchan. The second goes a bit deeper, the scale goes bigger and plotlines go multiple.

Central to the story this time is elections in Jamtara. After the ‘gate-hanger’ finale of the previous season, it is revealed that Gudiya (Monika Panwar) chose to stay behind and decided to fight her abuser Brajesh Bhaan (Amit Sial) in the political arena. She is backed by a new entrant-- the menacing Seema Pahwa as Ganga Devi or Buaji-- a former chief minister, drawing battle lines against her nephew Brajesh. Buaji is eager to have a piece of the cyber scam pie.

She is even more eager to drop adages on political philosophy (“Elections are and have always been about money”, “In our country terrorists and revolutionaries are considered the same”) However, her words of wisdom are better than the mythological parallels drawn by the pot-smoking Shakespearean fools (They went bald in the earlier season and one of them now sports blue hair). Not every heartland crime story can have a Mahabharata reference.

What Jamtara season 2 aces in is its pacing. It throws a lot of darts and some do hit the mark. For Gudiya and Sunny (Sparsh Shrivastav) the walls are closing in from all sides. Brajesh, as expected, is proving to be a formidable opponent. Buaji’s is casting a dark shadow over them. The need of the hour is money and Sunny’s scams are running dry. Every episode provides a task and the series thus remains engaging.

Monika as Gudiya gives a consistent performance while Sparsh’s character, now crippled, tries to hop back to relevance. Amit Sial on the other hand is the same old and something new. His silences are reverberating and his dialogue delivery showcases the mark of a seasoned actor. The find is Ravi Chahar as Rinku Mondal, a new character who was working as a paan shop vendor in Noida but now has returned home in Jamtara. Rinku forays into the world of cyber scamming by honey trapping people on dating apps.

He is also a melodramatic Tik Tok star and scenes where he is crying in front of a mobile camera while crooning a heartbreak song are hilarious. Not just the giggly scheming attitude, Ravi also gives gravity to the character. His uncle has passed away, he is struggling with his sexuality and the finale puts him in a difficult spo. Rinku is a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode.

The problem lies in what Jamtara is trying to get at. From scams to political maneuvering, the series provides ample plot points to marvel at but nothing to stick on. Except for the death of a Muslim scamster and the boys reminiscing him, the series is more head than heart. Two seasons have explained us, in riveting detail, how young, illiterate and unemployed boys in one of the most backward regions of the country scam even film stars and ministers. It would be great to see what made them resort to it.

Created by: Soumendra Pandhi
Written by: Trishant Srivastava, Nishank Verma
Cast: Amit Sial, Seema Pahwa, Sparsh Shrivastav, Monika Panwar
Rating:  3/5


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