Jamtara 2—Sabka Number Ayega needed severe trimming

Seema Pahwa in Netflix’s Jamtara 2—Sabka Number Ayega. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Inspired by real-life incidents, the 8-episode Season 2 of Jamtara—Sabka Number Ayega examines phishing and the whole well-known scam whereby young men, often with the aid of children, siphon off funds from susceptible bank account holders by posing on phone as well-wishing staff members of banks and call-centers and obtaining the victims’ personal ‘cvv’ numbers and OTPs (one-time passwords).

How such scams get political patronage and how things can turn ugly—very ugly indeed!—when elections and funding get added to the crime, are dealt with. The story is based in Jamtara, a city in Jharkhand. At the helm are Brijesh Bhan (Amit Sial), the cold and ruthless leader (whose family is never shown), and his political rival-cum-maternal aunt, Ganga Devi (Seema Pahwa), who puts up Gudiya Singh (Monika Panwar) as her stooge candidate for the upcoming elections.

Season 2 takes off from where the first one ended, and ends on a note that indicates a third installment. Yes, the storyline is gritty, utterly realistic (Soumendra has been inspired by a real story in a newspaper and has done immense research), but as a filmmaker, he has probably forgotten that a story and its length should be proportionately balanced. The eight episodes are all needlessly lengthy, the drama stretched, and the season gets over almost after six hours of tiresome viewing (I pity the binge-watchers, for almost double the material could have been grippingly packed into the runtime!).

We, of course, have the double-crosses, the strokes of luck, the counter-accusations and a quick if repeated look at the modus operandi of the criminals, and how students and finally even housewives are inveigled into the dirty goings-on. We also see, of course, the usual kowtowing-to-politicians corrupt cop and the upright ones.

This series needed to be cut by a good one hour, if not more, to have been really interesting throughout. As things stand, I continued watching the lo-o-ong series only because of the content and to see where the story will culminate. As it is, the adroit casting of key characters, all necessarily small-town, led to a lot of confusion in the early parts of the series about the pro-Bhan and anti-Bhan brigade, as all of them were involved in illegal activities anyway!

Amit Sial, as Brijesh Bhan, is the lifeline of the series and is brilliant as the wicked man who does not have any scruples and has little control over his anger. Seema Pahwa as his maternal aunt is chilling, especially even when she gives one of her fake smiles. Monisha Panwar, Sparsh Shrivastav and Anshumaan Pushkar give a great account of themselves as Gudiya, Sunny and Rocky. Dibyendu Bhattacharya gets an ill-defined role as the cop, and Aksha Pardasany is alright as the gritty cop. The children and teenagers all do a decent job.

The technical aspects are good, though the editor seems to be on a paid holiday at the behest of the director! The background score is a perfect example of lack of effort and laziness: the pure subdued tapping-like noise that comes in a hundred times (at least) to denote something ominous is a terrible irritant in the narrative.

I seriously hope Jamtara Season 3, if made, removes all the negatives that pull down a story that could be very interesting with its fresher look at the crime-political nexus.

Rating: **1/2

Netflix presents Tipping Point Films & Viacom 18’s Jamtara 2—Sabka Number Ayega  Created by: Soumendra Padhi  Produced by: Ajit Andhare Directed by: Soumendra Padhi  Written by: Trishant Srivastava, Kanishka Singh Deo & Ashwin Verman  Music: Sidhant Mathur Starring: Amit Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Aksha Pardasany, Sparsh Shrivastav, Anshumaan Pushkar, Monika Panwar, Harshit Gupta, Rohit K.P., Aatm Prakash Mishra, Kartavya Kabra, Monu Kanojiya, Simran Mishrikoti, Ravi Chahar, Seema Pahwa & others




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