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Sacred Games Review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Saif Ali Khan's Show Totally Grips You from Start to Finish

The dark tale, co-directed by two of India’s finest talents Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, perfectly captures the grim, gritty, glamorous and unstable Bombay of the 1990s.

Shrishti Negi | News18.com

Updated:July 6, 2018, 10:29 AM IST
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Sacred Games Review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Saif Ali Khan's Show Totally Grips You from Start to Finish
The dark tale, co-directed by two of India’s finest talents Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, perfectly captures the grim, gritty, glamorous and unstable Bombay of the 1990s.
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There’s a reason why everybody’s been talking about Sacred Games for the past several days. Based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 928-page thriller of the same name, Netflix's first Indian original series is the latest addition to the long list of projects based on crime-ridden Bombay of the 1990s. And, it’s extremely audacious and gorgeously shot.

Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Ganesh Eknath Gaitonde, Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj Singh and Radhika Apte as Anjali Mathur, Sacred Games takes a closelook at the city of dreams during its bloodiest communal riots, in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992.

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Singh, a middle-aged Sikh inspector, is dealing with a confidence crisis as the only criminal he has ever caught is Sonu, a pickpocket. His continual attempts to stay as honest as he can in the endemically corrupt system are making things difficult for him in the force. Gaitonde, on the other hand, is a notorious gangster and the one orchestrating all the “games”.

Their paths cross when an anonymous tip leads Singh to Gaitonde's hideout in Kailashpada. While Singh figures out how to break in, Gaitonde watches him through a surveillance camera installed outside his bunker and talks to him over an intercom, telling him the story of his rise from a petty thug to being one of India’s most wanted gangsters and that the officer has only 25 days to save Mumbai. Elsewhere, R&AW agent Anjali Mathur is trying her best to tap their conversation.

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The dark tale, co-directed by two of India’s finest talents, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, perfectly captures the grim, gritty, glamorous and unstable Bombay of the 1990s. The show begins as it means to go on - violent, with a stream of expletives and fast paced. Kashyap brilliantly directs the flashback parts wherein Gaitonde slowly climbs the mafia ladder along with his friends. It’s basically fully peppered with “The Kashyap” treatment. With a short, thrilling soundtrack, scenes of building tension, how politics is rotting the roots of democracy, gruesome violence and of course, a lot of cuss words.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Gaitonde depicts the sudden shifts between being “helpless” and “devil” with an aplomb. Without ever knowing what kind of person the real Gaitonde was, this on-screen portrayal of him by Siddiqui certainly feels authentic.

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The parts directed by Motwane, and featuring Khan, are just as impactful as the scenes helmed by Kashyap. However, watching Khan sporting a turban and hurling incessant abuses takes a little time to get used to, which gives Siddiqui’s Gaitonde an edge over his character of Singh. Khan satisfyingly picks up the pace as the show progresses, though.

Writers Varun Grover, Smita Singh and Vasant Nath have craftily constructed the literal potboiler into an intriguing series. Anish John’s cracking soundtrack seeps into and gives a hint of how to interpret the theme.

In addition, raw dialogues and the noteworthy attention to the smaller parts that complement the driving threads of the lead characters make this show one of the most satisfying watches of this year. Sacred Games is truly an unrelenting portrayal of Mumbai mob life, with a pilot that stands shoulder to shoulder with the other works of both Kashyap and Motwane. The show, however, may require some patience while the complexities of the plot and the characters are developed. That being said, believe the hype, because you won't be disappointed!


Watch the trailer here:

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