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Jamtara Season 2 Review: Just as bad as Season 1, if not worse

Jamtara season 2 — out now on Netflix — is an idea looking for a story. Returning director Soumendra Padhi and writer Trishant Srivastava know where they want some of their characters to end up, but they take the most mundane route to get there. Throughout its eight episodes, nobody from Sunny (Sparsh Shrivastava) to Rocky (Anshumaan Pushkar) goes on any journey while on their way to their destination. As with the first season, JamtaraThe second season is too plot-driven. There is rarely a conversation between two characters that shows who they are or who they want to be. And towards the end, Jamtara season 2 more or less admits it doesn’t know what it’s doing with some — and writes them off the show entirely.

It’s not surprising, then, that for a show that doesn’t bother to grow its characters properly and treats them as fodder for its narrative, Jamtara season 2 shows a callous disregard for subjects that require nuance and a deft hand. Deep into its new season, the Netflix series decides to tackle cow vigilante violence in India. A Muslim meat shop owner is accused of selling beef – a word there Jamtara season 2 is even afraid to speak out – and beaten up after a news host uses his widely watched program as a dog whistle for his audience. But no one calls the TV company out, not even after the victim later ends up dying. The whole incident is a minor plot, in the ongoing feud between two politicians.

As my mind began to wander thanks to the unengaging plot and problematic choices, I began to wonder: what is Jamtara really trying to say? On one level, the Netflix series is about how a lack of good jobs and opportunities drives small-town India to get-rich-quick. They don’t have anything better on offer. In another way, it is about how money is also power. That’s why local politician Brajesh Bhan (Amit Sial) was so quick to pick on Sunny and Rocky’s operation in Season 1. And Season 2 expands on that argument by throwing an election into the mix, with Sunny’s wife and fellow con artist Gudiya (Monika Panwar ) pitched herself as an alternative to Brajesh. Politics is perhaps more central than ever, but Jamtara season 2 has nothing new to say.

Everything you need to know about Jamtara Season 2

Jamtara season 2 begins in medias res in November 2016 when Prime Minister Modi’s demonetization drive hits and briefly sends the fraudsters of Jamtara into a panic. (It’s strange how this doesn’t cast a bigger shadow on the Netflix series, as Jamtara seems to be run entirely on cash. Leading up to the election, cash is being thrown around with no explanation of where the notes are There’s also no loss of jobs or long lines at ATMs.) Outside of that, though, the status quo seems to have returned. Phishing has reached new heights in the Jharkhand city, with scammers now buying phones and SIM cards in bulk – and by bulk I mean thousands every week – to keep up with their revenue targets. Dare I say it, it’s starting to look professional.

Meanwhile, Brajesh (Sial) has somehow avoided jail and is preparing to fight a political battle with his aunt Ganga Devi (Seema Pahwa), who has withdrawn her support to him. Fresh out of jail herself, Ganga Devi has given a ticket to Gudiya Mondal (Panwar) instead, hoping to use Brajesh’s attack on Gudiya to whip up voter sentiment and return her party to power. Of course, the misogynistic townsfolk aren’t likely to believe a woman – and it helps Brajesh that his family has been in power for decades. Pahwa as always is the most natural actor here. Unfortunately, her role is very limited in what could be called an extended cameo. Sial also feels on the sidelines Jamtara season 2. He’s still on screen a lot, but he doesn’t exactly have much to do.

That brings us to our chief con artist, Sunny. With the Season 1 cliffhanger resolved off-screen, Sunny (Shrivastava) begins Season 2 recovering in a hospital. There he starts thinking of a new scam, on the lines of the Kaun Banega Crorepati scam that you might have seen doing the rounds on WhatsApp. (Jamtara continues to be ripped from the headlines in season 2, just like with season 1.) But the police in Jamtara – newly promoted cyber cell chief Biswa Pathak (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) and the returning Dolly Sahu (Aksha Pardasany) and technology expert Saurav (Udit Arora), who now in Ranchi but sent back to Jamtara on a special mission – is busy elsewhere, thanks in part to the scale of Brajesh’s operation and a new conman who has gone after the wife of Jharkhand’s chief minister.

Jamtara 2, Blonde, and More on Netflix in September

As with Sial, Pardasany feels sidelined Jamtara season 2, the Netflix series works overtime to involve Dolly in the Jamtara business after her transfer to Ranchi. Bhattacharya’s Biswa is caught between his desire to do good police work and not get himself suspended, but Jamtara season 2 never really digs into it properly. And after being shot by Brajesh’s goons at the end of season 1, Sunny wants revenge on the guy who keeps them on a leash in season 2. But Jamtara keeps Shrivastava-on-crutches too busy with scam after scam and rarely lets him reflect on the enemies he has made. I haven’t even mentioned Pushkar’s Rocky, which doesn’t have much of an arc to be honest.

Jamtara season 2 puts a greater focus on Panwar’s Gudiya, who is brought to the fore thanks to her status as a candidate. Although there is a public spotlight on her, Gudiya remains her timid self. And that’s fine. But the problem is that she’s more internal than the rest of them – her mind is constantly circling as to how she can outwit Brajesh, but it’s not something that translates well on screen.

At least Gudiya is a consistent character. With his supporting role, Jamtara season 2 flows as it should. For plot purposes, the very same people who minted money a few episodes ago become conveniently unable to do their jobs overnight. And while it’s okay to show that ordinary people are mostly very stupid – we all know someone who has fallen for one or more of these online scams – even the thieves aren’t nearly as smart as they claim to be. Jamtara season 2 reveals that they use some really stupid ways to scam ordinary people, although worse is how they park their own money.

The Netflix series also engages in one of my pet peeves: movies that get technology wrong. Jamtara season 2 is a classic example of that. Sunny’s “big scam idea” deep into the new season is a brute force technique that stopped working ages ago. There are also fake police investigations where a cyber expert tracks down a criminal who posted a video online without going through the platform involved.

Andor to Jamtara Season 2, the biggest TV shows in September

jamtara season 2 review rocky Anshumaan Pushkar jamtara season 2 review

Anshumaan Pushkar as Rocky in Jamtara season 2
Image credit: Netflix

But in the end, what a downfall Jamtara season 2 isn’t about technology – it’s about storytelling. As the season progresses, its characters end up looking less like three-dimensional people and more like chess pieces being moved around the board. (Jamtara season 2 turns its drug addict comedy-relief characters into narrators who provide commentary on the storylines by drawing mythological analogies. It’s a bare-bones attempt to make its narrative seem larger than life, but it falls flat.)

Season 2 is also a clear case of a TV series designed as an X-hour movie, a decision that blows up in its face. (I would have loved some stand-alone episodes; ones that explored its deep ensemble.) And as tensions boil over, the Season 2 finale takes its place. It’s an underwhelming end to an underwhelming season. Apart from Little Things (which wasn’t exactly a Netflix original), the wait continues for a strong Season 2 from the house of Netflix India.

Jamtara season 2 will be released on Friday, September 23 at 12:30 PM IST on Netflix worldwide.

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