How the themes in Sacred Games season 2 find global relevance in a contemporary political setup

Devansh Sharma

Aug 26, 2019 08:50:33 IST

It was wise of Netflix to adapt Vikram Chandra's book it into their maiden Indian Original since the plot of Sacred Games has more resonance with the country, and the world at large, than it did back when the book came out.

Credit must go to the lead screenwriter Varun Grover, showrunner Vikramaditya Motwane, and the directors Anurag Kashyap and Neeraj Ghaywan, for adjusting the storyline creatively so that the material of the show continues to have global resonance today.

 How the themes in Sacred Games season 2 find global relevance in a contemporary political setup

Kalki Koechlin, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi in a still from Sacred Games 2

In the same year as Sacred Games, Hollywood also explored a villain in a superhero film, that transcended the definition of a conventional bad guy, obsessed with either money or revenge or just bad reputation. Thanos (Josh Brolin) wanted to wipe out half of the creation arbitrarily so that the remaining half population can feed off the resources more responsibly, and make Earth and other planets better places to inhabit.

But as the sequel of Avengers: Infinity War and the final episode of Sacred Games Season 2 suggests, this solution is hurried and selfish. The first half of Russo Brothers' apocalyptic ensemble film Avengers: Endgame showed the cost of losing a loved one, and the coping mechanism each Avenger takes to after losing their mission. From desperation, guilt, therapy to indifference, the Avengers were clearly dealing with the loss in their own way. Eventually, they did "whatever it takes" to rewrite the history, but let us not forget what the makers hammered home: The end is near, and we will not be able to reverse it through the whiff of a wand.

Season 2 of Sacred Games revolved around familiar grounds when it revealed what Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiui) had been hinting at right from the start: The notorious gangster was merely a a tool used conveniently in the larger scheme of things. The show toys with saffron terrorism, mob lynching, nuclear war and dubious godman with ulterior motives. All of which sound fascinatingly real in 2019.

Gaitonde frequently mentioned how a teesra baap (third father), Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) double-crossed him by brainwashing him to falsely believe a nuclear explosion is the harbinger of the Sat Yuga. By definition, the Sat Yuga or the Satya Yuga is the first of the four Yugas (time periods), where gods or the truth prevails as the only governing principle. Guruji believes, or at least make certain disciples believe, time is a circle and hence, the Sat Yuga will follow the ongoing Kalyuga. However, in order to speed up the process of transition, Guruji brought it upon himself to bring the Sat Yuga much sooner after the culmination of a potential World War III, which would be triggered by a nuclear explosion in Mumbai.

Interestingly, Gaitonde serves as the symbol of the brainwashed youth that is gradually taking to modern terrorism. And the driving force behind the same is religion. While the current dominant narrative is that Islamic fundamentalists are brainwashing the youth around the globe, Sacred Games subverts that narrative, and makes the audience consider the possibility of terrorism by another religion.

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Sacred Games 2

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Sacred Games 2

Netflix probably adapted Sacred Games into a series because its underlying sociopolitical commentary has echoes across the globe, and not just India.

In the Sacred Games 2 finale, Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) has a vision, where his girlfriend hints that he is participating in the mission to bring Sat Yuga to this world only because he suffers from an issue of self-worth. She tells him the issue will remain even after the completion of the mission at hand. She tells him he cannot make the call for so many other people who may not want to sacrifice their lives to see a better tomorrow. And so Sartaj turns on Guruji's disciples and thwarts the mission (at least in the book; the second season has been left at a cliffhanger by Netflix).

That is why Sacred Games also deals with the parallel journey of Sartaj and Gaitonde, and how two men from a different time period and starkly different backgrounds, are rethinking what their parents have conditioned them to. This generational conflict is at the core of the entire show, since the Nature vs Nurture debate forms the primary conflict. The idea of rebellion against a large part of yourself, that consists of acquired traits, and in turn, your nurturers (parents, God et al) finds relevance across the globe, especially in the current times, where your political leader is gradually assuming the role of the your chautha baap (fourth father).

All images from Netflix.

Updated Date: Aug 26, 2019 08:57:52 IST