“Ja ke dekh record mein, kaun hai! Insaan hai ke bhagwan?”
Ganesh Eknath Gaitonde calls Sartaj Singh one night, like a god, and thus begins a story that would eventually take hold of both on-screen characters and audiences off it.
Varun Grover being a part of the Indian comedy scene gives us so much more grace & credibility… I never leave an opportunity to take him away from the writers guild & with pride refer to him as a comedian first
Friend ~ Scared games KADAK hai
Me ~ Ek comedian ne likha hai 😊
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) July 8, 2018
“Aham Brahmasmi,” he tells Sartaj later on; underlining the god complex that Gaitonde is suffering from in the story. Sartaj is the confused soul and Gaitonde pretends to show him the way. Sacred Games is a story of these two voices, their story arcs intersecting somewhere in different time periods.
Gaitonde is played by the absolutely brilliant Nawazuddin Siddiqui, while the Sikh cop, Sartaj Singh, is played by Saif Ali Khan, who also does a good job. Netflix’s first original India series is based on a book by the same name, written by Vikram Chandra. The voluminous novel has been adapted for the screen by Varun Grover, Smita Singh and Vasant Nath. The adaptation stays true to the atmospherics of the book and manages to recreate a compelling, dark, dingy underbelly of the metropolis called Mumbai.
The series is a carefully choreographed dance of Mumbai underworld, and the city’s police and political forces, both local and national. Two of India’s top film directors, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, come together to direct this breakthrough series. This isn’t a first for an Indian television series; Ramesh Sippy (Buniyaad), Shyam Benegal (Discovery of India) and Basu Chatterjee (Byomkesh Bakshi) have done it earlier too.
About the serious
The series is full of some exceptional characters performed brilliantly by different actors. There is Shalini Vatsa who plays the stern looking Kanta Bai well. There is Jatin Sarna portraying the role of psychotic and bigoted Bunty to perfection. There is Radhika Apte as RAW agent Anjali Mathur who makes a subversive argument about a female officer being expected to sit behind a desk and not be out there in the field.
Directors for whom true & real cinema is all about portraying abuses, nudity, drugs & obscenity, digital mediums like Netflix are perfect platform for these filmmakers to showcase their kind of cinema. Watched #ScaredGames & its pure “CRAP” .
— Sumit kadel (@SumitkadeI) July 11, 2018
Two of India’s best actors, Neeraj Kabi and Girish Kulkarni, portray DCP Parulkar and Bipin Bhosale, respectively, and both do a fabulous job. But other than Nawazuddin embodying Gaitonde, the best performances are by two lesser-known actors. Jitendra Joshi as constable Katekar, Sartaj Singh’s trusted partner, is truly brilliant. And so is Kubra Sait’s portrayal of the mysterious Kukoo.
Strange and completely incorrect comparisons have been made between Sacred Games and Narcos. The stories are about the world of crime but there is little common between the two. Sacred Games is not Indian Narcos. It is more than that. It is Indian television’s Lagaanmoment. It represents a breakthrough after decades of pathetic television content being produced by mediocre people driven by really low ambitions. If Lagaan showed the Hindi film industry what could be achieved, Sacred Games tells the Indian TV industry that it is possible to make an engrossing series for a smarter audience.
Sacred Games exhibits what is possible when writers, directors and actors are not restrained by formulae-driven production houses or circumscribed by an ancient censor board. While Hindi cinema has seen films turn more realistic in depiction and language (before Pahlaj Nihalani emerged on the scene), Indian TV has chosen to remain archaic and subdued. This series can perhaps lead to a change.
The show also abandons any attempt to be politically correct. While Gaitonde mouths off his views on what Rajiv Gandhi may or may not have done, the show brings to focus the rise of Hindutva politics in the country. Unlike Indian TV, it does not skirt uncomfortable or controversial issues like Hindu-Muslim polarisation. It actually depicts how it is engineered on the ground and how individuals become pawns, often willingly. There is no attempt to sugarcoat any aspect, least of all their language, which remains really colourful and much more believable.
What Rahul Gandhi said
BJP/RSS believe the freedom of expression must be policed & controlled. I believe this freedom is a fundamental democratic right.
My father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character on a fictional web series can never change that.#SacredGames
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 14, 2018
Breaking silence on complaints of Netflix series Sacred Games ‘insulting’ former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said. He believed in freedom of expression.
The Congress president wrote on Twitter that his father and former PM, Rajiv Gandhi, “lived and died” for the country and no fictional series can change that.
“BJP/RSS believe the freedom of expression must be policed & controlled. I believe this freedom is a fundamental democratic right… My father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character on a fictional web series can never change that,” he said.