Sacred Games by Vikramaditya Motwane has been the talk-of-the-town. Dubbed as India’s first Netflix Original Series, the show has received praises from audiences and critics worldwide.
Adam Starkey of Metro praises: “If you’re pining for a fresh, addictive thriller bursting with style, Sacred Games is the perfect excuse to shield from the summer heat.”
There have been several popular Indian web-series like Twisted and Inside Edge, but Sacred Games has managed to achieve a high-level of appreciation and not to mention a 9.3/10 rating on IMDB.
Having seen the first season, I try to explore why the show has been received well and what makes it a must-watch.
A sUSPENSEFUL STORYLINE
The series is based on Vikram Chandra’s original novel which is on about 1,000 pages long. Season one is an eight-episode thriller which follows the riveting journey of Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), a seasoned, cynical police officer and Anjali Mathur (Radhika Apte) – an intelligence officer, to the centre of a mysterious web woven the powerful criminal overlord, Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui).
The plot twists and turns along the dark alleys of Mumbai, with Ganesh and Sartaj tightening their grip on each other and staking everything on victory, including the city itself.
I have not read the book, but every episode has kept me on edge. Just when I thought the story would go a certain way, the narrative would just catch me off-guard.
Furthermore, because the novel itself is very huge, it is believed that there will be four seasons – which hints that the series will be just as convoluted.
Even in the first season, there is so much cinematic detail, that it gives the viewer a visceral feel of Mumbai as a city and the gritty lives of Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde.
Interesting Narrative Style
Netflix never ceases to amaze us with their narrative-style. Remember the haunting narration by Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why? Well, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s narration as Ganesh Gaitonde in Sacred Games is equally haunting and enigmatic.
But more than that, I am impressed with the dual narrative style of the series. Throughout, we see the past experiences of Gaitonde and how this impacts Sartaj’s current investigation.
For any filmmaker, this is quite difficult to do as there is a risk that it could confuse the viewers. However, director Vikramaditya Motwane manages this with such ease!
Anurag Kashyap & Vikramaditya motwane
Censorship and Anurag Kashyap share a rather bittersweet relationship as Kashyap’s works do not shy away from profanity, explicit scenes and graphic violence. Thus, Sacred Games follows suit.
The show is not watered down and it is raw to the greatest degree. Moreover, when it comes to gangster-flicks, Anurag Kashyap is such a pro at producing realistic yet quirky thrillers and Vikramaditya Motwane is no stranger to the thriller genre.
As such, there is a strong Narcos feel to the series – which makes the show equally appealing to audiences worldwide. Despite having a slow pace, the narrative moves at a relatively fast speed.
Shot in Live Locations
We all know that Mumbai
[/caption]We all know that Mumbai is a vibrant city and is, of course, the financial capital of India. But besides this, there are certain places and areas which the general public may not be au fait about.
Why Sacred Games also stands out, is because the series is shot at multiple live locations, as opposed to shooting in studios.
These organic and raw locations enhance the series’ gritty appeal.
A powerful Cast lineup
What really makes Sacred Games
[/caption]What really makes Sacred Games stand-out from all the other Indian web-shows out there, is the superlative cast lineup consisting of Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte and Neeraj Kabi. It is highly-known that these four actors are amongst the finest in Hindi cinema.
Seeing these four superlative actors together, that too in one project is a treat for any entertainment enthusiast. But the biggest curiosity factor has been Saif Ali Khan. Being quite a big name in Bollywood, it was quite surprising to see him in a web-series.
According to Saif, the reason why he chose to do the show was to enhance his creativity as an actor and it certainly does. For the first time, we see him in a full-fledged cop role in his debut web-series. He adapts to the role well.
I must give a mention to Nawazuddin Siddiqui as he is phenomenal as Ganesh Gaitonde. It almost seems like the character was written for him. Siddiqui does not act the part, he lives it and with each episode, there is a consistency to his performance. Truly, he is an actor par excellence.
Watch the Sacred Games Trailer here!
Why Sacred Games works – is because of the effort that has gone into making the show. To condense a 1,000-page novel is a mammoth of a task. Plus, each episode brings it’s deal of twists and turns, keeping the viewer on-edge throughout.
In addition, the show does not shy away from the grit and bold nature. We see the foulest of foul language being uttered, uncensored sex scenes and goriest violence – not for the sake of it, but because the script requires it.
Lastly, it is an absolute treat to watch phenomenal Indian actors like Saif, Nawaz and Radhika drive the show with their powerful and realistic performances. It will be interesting to see what the forthcoming season has to offer.
So, clearly, there are so many reasons why Sacred Games is successful and one of the most popular Indian web-series out there. But for how long will this ‘trend’ of web-series in India last for? Moreover, is this a permanent changing phase for Indian entertainment?
Only time will give us the answers to these questions.
Sacred Games Season One is now available to watch on Netflix.