The web series “Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega” has intrigued many with its unusual theme of phishing ever since its release on Netflix earlier this month.
The brain behind this unique concept, writer and actor Nishank Verma, says creating an original concept from real-life incidents in a realistic space is the most interesting genre for him to crack.
“It was not an easy task to write and conceptualise the whole series, which is more or less is based on real people and real events. One cannot just narrate incidents, you need to understand the basic core and circumstances that led individuals to go on such a crime spree, without any fear of getting caught,” said Verma.
The show brings to light the abject poverty in the region that, according to Verma’s research, has traditionally been a hotbed of petty thievery and fraud. The show also reflects on how a corrupt system creates an equally dangerous eco-system, which feeds off the misguided youth.
“Realistic dramas are the toughest to crack. This genre requires a tight hand on narration and creating relatable characters and situations. I had to visit the place, talk to people, and understand the socio-political issues. I had to be respectful and understanding of the situations, which ushered these youths on this path,” said Verma.
He added: “After many re-writes and thorough research, I was able to create the concept. Kudos to writer Trishant and director Soumendra Padhi for taking on beautifully from there and creating this world so skillfully.”
Jamtara, a small town in Jharkhand, is the epicentre of cybercrime in India, especially mobile frauds. The crime rate is unprecedented in the town. Reading an article about the subject in December 2015, Verma was convinced that there was a story that the world needed to hear.
He almost immediately got drawn into this fascinating world, and spent the next two years delving into the phenomenon, doing extensive research about the modus operandi of the ‘cybercriminals’, the money trails, the failure of state machinery to catch up with the criminals and the rapidly upgrading technology.
“I had to equally address the lack of fear from authority. Everyone is involved in phishing, from youngsters to cops to politicians and more. It wasn’t easy to get the information, and be true to the subject material. Interactions with local journalists helped,” said Verma.
The series stars Amit Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Aksha Pardasany, Sparsh Shrivastav, Monika Panwar and Anshuman Pushkar.