Conversation with Jamtara’s director Soumendra Padhi: Left engineering and became director, this thing was kept hidden from family for 10 months

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Recently, the series Jamtara released on Netflix made a lot of noise. Now the second season of this series is also going to be released on Netflix today. This series has been directed by Soumendra Padhi, director of National Award winning film Budhia Singh. Soumendra left home with the hope that he would become a better engineer, but midway he moved to the city of dreams, Mumbai and became a film director. Dainik Bhaskar talks to Soumendra about this ups and downs of his journey. Here are the key parts-

How did you become a filmmaker from an engineer?

While doing engineering, I came to know that I do not want to do engineering. I never dared to tell my family that I want to make a film because none of my acquaintances were in this industry at that time. All my friends were also engineers so never dared. After that I went to Hyderabad to make a career. There I used to meet the students of FTII or people who were in the field of this film making. Only after that I decided to come to Mumbai and went to Mumbai. There I joined Code Red, an ad company as an assistant and casting director. There I met very good collaborators like Gajrao Rao ji. Gajrao Rao is a very good film maker and actor. There I used to make short films and Gajrao also gave me the first opportunity, with whom I did the film Budhia Singh. Whatever I have learned, I have learned it only by hitting and trial.

How was the reaction of the family when it came to film making?

To be honest, my family didn’t know anything about all these things. They didn’t know that I had come to Mumbai after Hyderabad. After about 9-10 months, the family got two letters from the High Court on behalf of my company. After that he panicked. When I came to know that I am in Mumbai, we did not talk for almost a year. I was also not sure what I want in life because there is no linear path in film making. It took me a long time to figure out what I have to do next in life. After this, when I started making short films, everything was clear to me that what I have to do next in life. Until I got the National Award for my debut film, my family did not think that I do anything. During that time I also got married, then my family members used to say that you do MBA, go to London and do it anywhere, we will all manage, but now everyone is happy with my work.

How was the experience of getting the National Award?

To be honest, the National Award was for the family members. This convinced them that the boy was doing something. Reporters had also reached home. Then the family members felt that I am doing something good, for which this award has been received. My brother, sister-in-law and my wife supported me a lot in my journey. My wife is like a friend to me and we have been together since college days. It is my wife, who stood by my side all the time in this journey. He never doubted my work and never asked any question. His support system gave me courage and I was able to do whatever I wanted.

How was the journey from the first film till now?

I have got complete trust and autonomy for Jamtara Season 2 like Jamtara Season 1. The producers of the series have full faith in me and they have given me complete freedom that I can do whatever I want to do. I would also like to thank Vicom and Netflix because they also gave me a free hand. Even though we were short of resources in the first season, we were completely free to cast a new star. That’s why we had cast FTII, NSD or people who were associated with local theaters for this series. There were also some of these people who had probably never faced the camera. It is people’s faith that gives them the courage to try new things which are not available quickly. The cast of this series was also new and I was also new, so the hunger to work was high.

How different is the story of Jamtara 2 from the first season?

Season 2 is too deep rooted in reality. There was some fiction in the story in season 1, but season 2 is completely based on the reality of society. There is such a reality in this season that can shock you. There are such truths in this season which can surprise people very much.

How challenging was the shoot?

The shoot of this season was quite challenging as there was also Corona and the shooting had to be stopped in between. Everything had to be recreated back. It was a huge show and the schedule was also hectic. But its team was very supportive and the platform also understood our problem. You are good only when your team is good. So my team supported me a lot.

How was the journey to Mumbai?

I am very lucky that I am born in a very prosperous family. At that time I was not stressed that I have to send money at home. The challenge in front of me was that I had to feed myself and become independent, because at that time I did not know what and how to do. I didn’t even have anyone to guide me, so my challenge was with me. There was no one to tell me what to do next. I went on making short films and learned this by doing so. I am very lucky that I got to meet the right people at the right time.

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