Conning is an art: director Soumendra Padhi on his series 'Jamtara'

Komal Panchamatia

Mumbai, Jan 8 (PTI) Odia director Soumendra Padhi, who is awaiting the release of his first web series 'Jamtara - Sabka Number Ayega' on Netflix, says his aim is to make people aware about phishing, where con artistes send fraudulent emails or calls to acquire passwords and credit card numbers of unsuspecting people.

Inspired by true incidents, 'Jamtara..', based in a small village in Jharkhand, takes on a thrilling journey of a group of youngsters, who turn their nondescript village into India's phishing capital with their distinctive ways of conning people.

'It is a very thrilling and interesting story, where my villain doesn't kill anyone, the crime is very soft but it is messy. They are calling you and taking details with your permission.

'In the series, we have a cop, who is trying to curb the crime. We are at no point glamorising such things. Conning is very artistic, it is like jadugari (magic trick). At no point, we are showing that this is the right thing to do,' Padhi told PTI in an interview.

Padhi's last film 'Budhia Singh: Born to Run' came in 2016 and he was working on a couple of other projects till 'Jamtara...' came his way in 2017.

'The idea came in 2015, there was an article in a newspaper about a small village in Jamtara, where fifth class fail boys were conning tech-savvy people, doctors, engineers and lawyers from metro cities. They target everyone across the nation and world, except Jharkhand, who they consider as their own people.

'It is a simple process of calling people and conning them. The story got us hooked. It was interesting and contemporary. We all have received such calls at some time. Also, the issue has been under-represented. It was a great opportunity for us to tell the story.' For Padhi, who has done an extensive research on the subject, surprising aspect was that uneducated people were conning the educated class, simply by making a phone call.

'It began in 2011-2012 when people had started using credit cards, it was a matter of privilege. These people were involved in other scams such as lottery or robbing passengers but they found phishing easier as there was no violence involved. In a country like India, access to information is easy and they started making calls.' The director says phishing is common even in the US but their laws are stricter as compared to India. He believes such crimes will continue to go unnoticed in India, till something really big happens.

'Jamtara' will stream on Netflix from January 10. PTI KKP BK BK