Sacred Games international review round-up: A 'fresh, addictive thriller' riddled with 'story cliches'

FP Staff

Jul,09 2018 11:35:01 IST

Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Vikram Chandra, Netflix India's maiden Original, Sacred Games, starring Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte, released on Friday.

Siddiqui plays Ganesh Gaitonde, a typical gangster with a God complex and Khan is Sartaj Singh, an honest but low ranking officer in the police force, with a failed marriage and a dependency on anxiety pills; while Apte plays a no-nonsense R&AW agent. Their paths collide when Singh is contacted by Gaitonde, alerting him of a catastrophe that will soon strike the city of Mumbai. Sacred Games gives a fictionalised glimpse of the underworld, the rampant corruption in the system, religion and politics.

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Sacred Games. All photographs courtesy of Netflix

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Sacred Games. Netflix

Directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwanethe series has been lauded by Indian critics for its gripping storyline, direction and performances by the actors. The international reviews echo the same opinion, but not without some words of criticism.

The New York Times wrote, "Replicating the constant juggle of styles and voices in Sacred Games, a feat stretched out over more than 900 pages in Mr Chandra’s novel, is a major challenge on screen — despite its verve and visual inventiveness, the series feels muddled and a little wearying at times. (And a lot of cultural and historical references will go over the head of non-Indian viewers.) But as Gaitonde says, his story is like a scorpion — once it stings you, you’re done for."

The Hollywood Reporter said, "There are clear flaws to Sacred Games (the story cliches, some avoidable poor decisions that characters make, etc), but there's also something riveting about India's bleaker, darker heart being exposed as opposed to some upbeat, colorful explosion of dance scenes."

"The music is also remarkable throughout, with rapper DIVINE offering two original tracks while historic songs like 'Main Na Bhoolunga' ring through the bustling city," wrote Metro and called the show "a fresh, addictive thriller bursting with style."

Calling the series "a juice crime thriller", Refinery 29  observed, "Sacred Games is expanding voices of Southeast Asia to a global audienceIt may be 'just' television, but it's also pushing forth important representation. TV is going global — and Sacred Games is just one way viewers can expand their worldview."

Updated Date: Jul 09, 2018 11:35 AM