Sacred Games Series is groundbreaking for Indian media because it’s on a streaming Platform–Netflix. It’s a crime series based on the 2006 novel by Vikram Chandra of the same name. If Scarface was an Indian, it would be his story. But it plays out like the Indian version of Narcos Pablo Escobar without drug trafficking. Sacred Games has endearing characters played by the biggest names in Bollywood such as Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte. Unexpected twists and turns, nice set pieces, and superb cinematography; it has the whole thing.
Plot : “Do you believe in God?” – What a perfect way to open this crime filler that centers around religion. Sacred Games is the fictional history closely based on the true events leading up to Bombay becoming Mumbai. Sacred Games teleports everyone into the center of the Hindu-Muslim war. All of the episode’s titles are based on Hindu mythology that ties in well with the circumstances in the series. The God in Sacred Games is Bombay’s wrecked gangster Ganesh Gaitonde. Ironically, the guy who plays it, Nwazuddin Siddiqui, has made a name for himself in Bollywood as always playing the role of a gangster. Gaitonde is smart, ruthless and easily the star in Sacred Games. Sadly, he takes his own life in front of the show’s lead Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) in the first episode but not before telling Sartaj that he has 25 days to find the third father if he wants to save Bombay.
The story of Gaitonde is told through flashbacks narrated by himself. Gaitonde was the son of a beggar, who was his first father. At ten years of age, he killed his mother for selling her body. Then he was adopted by an unapologetic bar breaking gold smuggler named Salim Kaka. Eventually, he kills Salim, takes his gold and sets off to make a name for himself in Bombay. He starts by making bootleg liquor and finally kills the thrash King. Then he forms a gang consisting of Muslims and Hindus and picks a fight with the biggest Muslim gangster in Bombay whose name was Suleiman Issa. Now, like Scarface, he takes Issa girl Kukoo. ‘Whoever had Kukoo owned Bombay’ – was the insight. He gets into politics, takes five million rupees from wannabe politician Bipin Bhosale to encourage Muslims not to vote. Bipin’s getting elected was the official beginning of the Hindu-Muslim war. Gaitonde accomplished this with Kukoo by his side who was revealed to be a transgender. But he didn’t care. That’s how gangster he was. He liked Kukoo for what she was but after the reveal, she didn’t like herself any longer. After Issa’s first failed attempt on Gaitonde’s life, Kukoo takes her own life. Gaitonde responds by killing fifty of Issa’s men, but he wasn’t happy until he killed his accountant.
As we know, Martin Luther King said: “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets toughness.” And so it did. Issa retaliated by killing Gaitonde’s accountant as a wedding gift for Gaitonde. On Issa’s second failed attempt to kill Gaitonde, Gaitonde’s wife gets shot. This sets Gaitonde on his murderous rampage and he sets off to kill any Muslim who crossed his path. His Rampage leads to his arrest by DCP Parulkar. While in jail, he is tortured almost to death. Had it not been for an uncorrupt cop Deepak Shinde, who bought him food and water, he likely would have died in the first week. He learns that Bipin and Trivedi were having him tortured because his third father wanted him to. Then as Gaitonde is about to be killed by Issa’s men in jail, his third father breaks him up.
Now, that’s where Gaitonde’s story stops and Sartaj Singh’s story begins. Gaitonde was able to rise to power because one, he did not believe in religion and two, he did not allow another’s religion to hold him back from being part of his gang or doing business with him. He believed that the fear of God turns people into idiots and he wanted people to worship him. So eventually, people feared him.
Now let’s talk about Sartaj. In the first episode he is debating on his corrupt captain for shooting on an unarmed kid on his back and suddenly he gets a call from Ganesh Gaitonde who has been missing for 23 years with a hundred and fifty-eight open murder charges on him. After the death of Gaitonde, Sartaj Singh sets out to find everyone involved in the upcoming attack while Gaitonde narrates his past. In uncovering Gaitonde’s past, Sartaj learns that his corrupt captain once worked for Gaitonde as well as Bipin Bhosale, the current home minister, would not have been elected without Gaitonde’s help. He also learns that Gaitonde was a client of one of the biggest actress in India whose career was also made by Gaitonde. When he finally takes a break from investigating Gaitonde, he tries to help his partner find the killer and ends up tragically losing his partner and shooting a kid in his back, ironically the same way the captain did.
Now, after Sartaaj has a long talk with his mom, he finds out the reason why Gaitonde called him was that his father was the guard who helped save him when he was being tortured. When Gaitonde called Sartaj, he was the only uncorrupt cop in Bombay. The biggest thing Sartaj uncovers is Bipin’s plan to destroy Muslims in the country and that he was not planning on delivering water to the people but was using his water trains to smuggle guns. Out of nowhere, Malcolm, the assassin, captures him and cuts off his thumb. Luckily, his captain had a change of heart and comes to his rescue but Malcolm gets away. Malcolm also killed the RAW agent who was working with Sartaj (Radhika Apte).
Talking about the ending: the captain surprised everyone by turning against Trivedi and Bipin because back in the day when Gaitonde was being tortured, these three were pals. But it’s the final scene which brings in the real twist. Sartaj jears a TV message from Guruji and realizes that he wasGaitonde’s third father because he referred to himself as Alpha and Omega. Also, Guruji explains that the mandala symbol should only be placed on doorways. He remembers discovering the counterfeit-money behind the mandala and he returns to the place at the time of Harem. Sartaj then discovers a man identified as Trivedi under the floor where he likely died from starvation. Only Gaitonde knew that Trivedi was down there. Gaitonde wanted Trivedi to see the aftermath of the Hindu-Muslim war which he planned with Guruji.
In season 2, Sartaj needs to find Guruji and diffuse the bomb before it’s too late. All the symbolism and a religious story that was weaved into Sacred Games indicate the real-life chaotic situation which persists in the world.
Here Are Some Intense Scenes And Dialogues From Sacred Games Which Cannot Be Spared From Watching.
◕ “Jab desh k PM ka imaan nahin toh apun sidhe raastey chal k kya krega.” – The show generates continuous breeze of debate in the political world and Ganesh Gaitonde’s dialogue has just fanned it further.
◕ “Hindustan jab Hindustan nahin bana tha tab se politics ki macchi ko dharam k tel me fry krte hue aaye hain.” The mere fact of the Home Minister (in the show) making a vague comment on the system which he governs is sufficient to indicate the hollowness of Parliament and power of politics.
◕ “tum mardon ko aisa kyun lagta hai ki har aurat ko tumhe hi bachana hai.” No doubt in the fact that whenever Radhika Apte comes up on the screen, the show gets hit. Though the actress has a small role to play but, the screen time she gets is sufficient for her to be noticed.
◕ “kitne aadmi se pila kar aayi hai meri bail karane k liye.” Quite offensive but true! The dialogue did hurt some deep sentiments but reflected clearly on what a lady needs to do in India to get a job done. It’s not that the problem exists only in India but for the show, the dialogue did highlight one of the most sensitive issues.
◕ “guns, drugs, property sab chota dhanda hai. Asli dhanda hai politics.” Clearly, the fact is not hidden anymore that politics is a business. It’s just that Sacred Games makes full use of the ‘Right to freedom of Expression’.
◕ “Bhagwan aadmi se Kahani me baat karta hai. Hum sab ka life ek kajani hai.” Ganesh Gaitonde is portrayed as an Atheist. He desires to be God himself. Quite disputable, the show depicts human ambitions going beyond their limits.
◕ “gareeb logon ka entry sirf mandir me free hai.” The multi-themed show which carves a path of Gaitonde’s success manifests that it’s impossible in a corrupt country to dream of getting a better life, especially when there is no money.
◕ “yeh system, yeh bambari, yeh India, yeh sab kaun hai? Hum hai na”. The only honest police officer, Sartaj Singh, is playing the lead role in changing the scenario. Reminds us of traditional Hindi films.
◕ “Duniya ke bazaar mein sabse bada dhanda hai dharam.” Attacking God through Gaitonde, it’s clear that the motto of the show is to change the ongoing stereotypes.
“Kashmir mein Home Minister ki beti kidnap ho gyi thi, Dilli mein Mandal ke naam pe bacche apne pe kerosene daal rahe the, aur sansad mein roz pradhan mantra aisey badal rahe the jaisey kachha ho.” Be it any character, Sacred Games deserves a salute for its bold move of laying hands on sore nerves of country, with all its characters creating one or the other controversy.
The show is not merely a game of religion.
Its upcoming season is expected to bring a ‘Sacred War’.