“Except the guys who were conning, the rest were actually pretty open and available to us, including the police,” National Award-winning director Soumendra Padhi tells Gadgets 360. “Jamtara police and the cyber police, they actually took us to these villages. I think without them, we wouldn't have been able to [do much].”
Padhi is talking about Jamtara — the next Netflix original series from India, out Friday — which is set in the dark underbelly of the eponymous Jharkhand village. Inspired by real-life stories, it follows a bunch of teenagers whose get-rich-quick schemes, involving phishing over the phone, attract the attention of everyone around them.
Jamtara's infamy has earned it the nickname of India's phishing capital, and naturally, led to copycats across the country who are attracted by the prospects: easy money, unlimited targets, and a law that's still catching up. But Padhi & Co. didn't bother looking outside Jamtara, because it's the epicentre, around 80 percent by some estimates.
The Oriya native, whose only previous directorial credit is the little known 2016 biopic Budhia Singh: Born to Run, notes they did quietly and sneakily try to get stories out of the local con artists. But most of their research came from the police's records, thanks to the ones who had been apprehended. And then there were the anecdotes.
“Those policemen would tell us, ‘Look how heavy our [police duty] belts are, we can't properly run with these. You can't catch 15-year-old kids when you've got this belt and these shoes on', they would say pointing to their shoes. It made us laugh, but it was real. That belt is actually —...