Sacred Games 2: The Unsettling Truth

After a year long wait, Sacred Games returns with a Season 2 on 15th August, 2019. As if Anurag Kashyap and Neeraj Ghaywan have carefully marked this date to take away your breathe. Based on a novel written by Vikram Chandra, the Season 2 now streaming on Netflix sees new entries like Pankaj Tripathi, Kalki Koechlin and Ranvir Shorey. Mean while, Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, continue to awe the viewers.

Disclaimer: Just finished watching it and I can’t keep calm. This review contains spoilers so read it at your own risk.

Sacred Games
Retro Photoshoot of the cast of Sacred Games 2

Main Cast & Story Line

Sartaj Singh(played by Saif Ali Khan)

Sacred Games
Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj Singh

That one side-lined honest police officer, who was never considered for any important case is now working for a case, on which the future of Mumbai depends. We all know that Ganesh Gaitonde(Nawazuddin Siddiqui) choosing Sartaj Singh as the last resort to save his Bombay was no coincidence in season 1. Gaitonde called Sartaj warning him to save Mumbai as something will happen in 25 days.

Now, within 13 days his colleague Katekar(Jitendra Joshi) and RAW agent Anjali Mathur(Radhika Apte) are dead, Sartaj is left all alone by himself. Things are difficult for him physically as well as emotionally. Because of which, he tries to patch up with his ex- wife Megha(Anu Priya), but it’s too late and things have become messier to begin with. As far as case is concerned, Sartaj is working earnestly to find every possible connection between Gaitonde and his self-proclaimed third father Guruji(Pankaj Tripathi). He also discovers his father’s connection with Guruji. Things become unacceptable for him at point. You will see him working with full dedication to the point of losing all hope and then coming back to life again. At last Sartaj will teach you unknowingly, it’s only you who can pick yourself up in times of adversity. Nobody could save you, but you.

Ganesh Gaitonde(played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui)

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Ganesh Gaitonde

Everybody knows Ganesh Gaitonde is dead from the first episode of Sacred Games, when he shoots himself after calling Sartaj. Season 1 was all about unsolved mysteries and his metamorphosis from a Brahmin’s kid to a notorious Gangster. It ended with Gaitonde, rotting in jail and beaten to pulp by Parulkar(played by Neeraj Kabi). Gaitonde thought he was being punished for murdering people as a revenge for his wife’s murder. But, then you will come to know how carefully planned his imprisonment and his release was. Gaitonde who believes that he is God, isn’t aware of the fact that there is a self-proclaimed Godman(Guruji), for whom Gaitonde is like a puppet.

In jail, Gaitonde encounters Sartaj’s father, a police officer there, who helps him with food and water. Dilbagh Singh’s small act of kindness 24 years ago, remains etched in his memory. As if the story was long ago written about what will happen in future and Sartaj’s fate was decided. Season 1 kept you on edge, Season 2 will answer all your doubts. The story follows with Gaitonde being released and taken to Kenya, in 1994 and then it follows a chronological order, unfolding the mystery step by step. Gaitonde flaunts floral printed shirts and eventually takes control of his ship again in Kenya. In Kenya, he starts a drugs business and expands it with the Gaitonde Style, returning back to who he was before. He is the master of his fate now.

Guruji(played by Pankaj Tripathi)

Pankaj Tripathi as Guruji

Sacred Games, justifies its title by introducing Guruji, Gaitonde’s self-proclaimed third father. Sartaj was able to deduce this, after seeing one of his videos on TV at the end of Season 1 and now you can see the backstory. Gaitonde was introduced to Guruji by Trivedi.

The presence of Guruji adds a spiritual dimension to the show. Gaitonde gets influenced by Guruji’s words when he listens to his cassettes in Kenya and after few years Gaitonde leaves everything to become his student in his ashram in Croatia. Guruji’s ashram is a world of its own- with people given red hallcugenic pills and chanting Aham Brahmasmithat means I am Brahman in Hindu philosophy.

He talks about human evolution, hindu philosphy, existence of religions and cell mutation. He believes that Kalyug will end soon and Satyug will begin. And his plan is to convert all the disciples for this purpose, his secret project of ending Kalyug. The world is ruined beyond any control and it’s in the End the good of humanity lies. And he is ready to do anything to achieve this goal which also makes him a psychopath in a way. He is also writing a book, that turns out to be something else at the end. Meanwhile, Gaitonde, is mesmerized by his Guru’s words and he is so convinced by him, that he follows him blindly. Gaitonde’s psyche has always being of a needy one, and after getting no meaning out of his gangster life he fully dedicates his life to Guruji in 2005 but only till he discovers the unsettling truth about his goal.

In Kenya, Gaitonde is at his weakest point of his life, with no love, aim and unsatisfaction crippling him. The only thing that bugs him is even after earning everything, nobody knows him. As a result, he will die, without anybody knowing him. Guruji knows his weakness and vulnerability and he takes advantage of his situation. Gaitonde finds hope in Guruji. The equation of guru-shishya(Student-Teacher) turns out to be a more intimate relationship in episode five. This “Guruji ka pyaar” was undigestable for the viewers, which you can see in the Twitter threads. Just like Kuckoo’s(Kubbra Sait)magic in season 1, Guruji covered it for season 2. 😛

Batya(played by Kalki Koechlin)

Kalki Koechlin as Batya

She works closely with Guruji, serving as his most trusted disciple. Born in Palestine and having a rebellious background, her engagement with spirituality is completely opposite to her past. She remains one of the most mysterious characters, wearing a smile. Guruji’s words and Batya’s attitude is all you need to make a fool of anyone. This is what she does when Sartaj comes in her ashram in Mumbai to ask about Guruji’s whereabouts. She is a blind follower. Guruji and Batya, at some point resembled Osho and his spokesperson Maa Anand Sheela.

Shahid Khan(played by Ranvir Shorey)

Ranvir Shorey as Shahid Khan

The episode five sees the mastermind behind the entire nuclear bomb attack planning. The terrorist who was also behind 1993 Bombay attacks, is none other than Shahid Khan. This made clear that Malcolm(played by Luke Kenny), the Indo-Egyptian terrorist was working for someone bigger. The last episode also reveals a secret, the same blood that Sartaj Singh and Shahid Khan share, was like seeing a nightmare. Even though, they never come to know the truth, but revealing this to the viewers was unsettling.

Jojo(played by Suvreen Chawla)

Sacred Games
Suvreen Chawla as Jojo

Jojo is a complicated character who is so desparate to die and has the guts to say no to Gaitonde. This made her somebody who could add a new dimension to Gaitonde’s character. A head strong woman, but at the same time emotionally challenging. Chawla mentioned in an interview, how difficult it was to play Jojo while she was pregnant. Her bantering with Gaitonde on phone, with perfect timing will add a comic touch that is missing in the rest of the story.

End Remarks

As already mentioned, the series follows two stories. One back story from 1994, the point where season 1 ended and other is the present day story in which 12 days are left before the D-day and Sartaj is leaving no stone unturned to break the mystery behind Gaitonde’s phone call. Anurag Kashyap shot the backstory while Neeraj Ghaywan, did the Sartaj’s episodes. And one can see the difference. While Gaitonde’s story even though dark had a comic touch to it, Sartaj’s episodes looked too slow and undercooked. The whole Guruji episode is also a bit exaggerated, but it was somewhere needed to show the main motive of the series. Nevertheless, the story kicks off after fourth episode, when some shocking revelations come back to back.

The best part of Sacred Games, are the titles of the episodes. Each is derived from Hindu Mythology and each plays a significant role in the story. Like the first episode titled Matsya– that means fish. Matsya is referred to as the first of the incarnations of the Hindu God- Vishnu, the saviour of this world. Gaitonde who is left stranded somewhere near Cape Town after being released from jail. In the ship in between nowhere, he listen’s to Guruji’s cassette who talks about Matsya, the avatar of Vishnu. Gaitonde calls himself a fish, surviving a havoc and now ready for reincarnation. References like these add a creative aspect to the series.

Even though, disclaimer states that there is no relation between any character of the series with any real person, but one can see Osho as an inspiration behind Guruji, and Ram Gopal Verma as an inspiration behind Ram Ji Verma, the phone obsessed director who directs Gaitonde’s movie in the series.(Yes, Gaitonde even wants to make a movie on his-so called- God like-life. You will know after watching the series.)

Each and every character is well crafted that serves its purpose to show the bigger picture. Not forgetting, KD Yadav(played by Amruta Subhash), the RAW agent who with the help of Trivedi, uses Gaitonde as an asset to get near Shahid Khan in Kenya or Sartaj’s colleague Majid Khan, who is now taking a stand, defying his past role of being Parulkar’s slave.

The motive of this series was clear. Like how to start with human emotions, step by step, going towards jealously, then game of power, politics and ultimately the foul play. At the end it points to the Religion and this is what Sacred Games is all about. When you will watch it, you will know why segregation of Season 1&2 was required. The writer Varun Grover and his team have done an amazing work in crafting the entire series. Be it power, fame, politics, partition, terrorism, corruption, drugs, human trafficking, spiritualism or religion- Sacred Games is connecting all these things effortlessly.

I wrote this review, keeping in mind that you have already watched Sacred Games 1, and just to give an idea about what’s in store for you all in Sacred Games 2.

So, will your questions be answered in Sacred Games Season 2?

Yes, or may be not. It all depends on your perspective, because the ending is unsettling. Watch it and know it for yourself!

Let us know your thoughts below

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