Sacred Games Review

Ehraz Asmad Zaman
  • 3/5

It’s a rare feat for an artist to match their artistry with their ambition. There have been numerous examples where either one succeeds the other. A good example of this would be Anand L. Rai’s 2018 outing ‘Zero’, an ambitious film that was bogged down by a highly contrived narrative. Unfortunately, the second season of the highly anticipated show ‘Sacred Games’ falls into the same category. It’s ambitious, imaginative, timely, and brave, yet it falls into the ploy of conventional storytelling and character tropes. It never rises above the virtuosity of its concept. Everything is done on the surface and much has been left to dig inside the brilliant characters that it puts on the screen.

The plot continues from where it was left in the first season. The day is 13 and the clock is ticking. The present time shows Sartaj and his team, now also including his rival Majid (Played effectively by Aamir Bashir), searching Mumbai for clues regarding the attack mentioned by Gaitonde over a telephonic conversation to Sartaj while the flashbacks show how Gaitonde was rescued and turned into a pawn in the master-plan of Guruji. It’s a plot stuffed with a lot (examples- lynchings, Hindu-Muslim segregation, and politics) and everything happens at a break-neck speed which prevents the viewer from investing in some of the subplots. A perfect example would be the lynching scene of a young Muslim boy. It’s a brave and timely addition to the main plot and its shot in a nerve-wracking way but there’s no emotional heftiness added to it which prohibits the subplot to blend in seamlessly. Yes, you still care about Sartaj and want to figure out the master-plan of Guruji but that is the doing of the brilliant first season rather than a byproduct of this season.

But that’s not to say that all is lost, far from it. There are lots to love too. Some new characters do shine. Like Jojo, played ferociously by Surveen Chawla. Jojo runs a successful brothel but wants to end her life due to some tragic incident. She fails every time as she lacks the courage to do so. She has been given some of the best scenes which further adds remarkable layers to her presence. One more such character is Majid, whose character arch is some of the best writings of this show. The way his character has been developed is what I wanted for all the other characters. One of the main reasons why this character works is the incredible performance delivered by Aamir Bashir who infuses Majid with incredible vulnerability. Saif Ali Khan reprises the role of Sartaj, an anxiety-driven and recently divorced police officer who loses himself while solving the mystery of attacks. Saif is as good as ever portraying the fear and vulnerability of the character with subtlety and care. He makes Sartaj, a breathing embodiment of the human tragedy that this show relies upon. Nawazuddin also reprises his role as Ganesh Gaitonde and delivers one of his best perfromances. His character is that of a robust, confused, revenge-driven gangster who becomes part of a game much bigger than himself and Nawazuddin gets each of the mentioned aspects to bang on. He completely hides his real self and becomes Gaitonde. It's one of his best performances and keeping in mind the kinds of role Nawazuddin has pulled off in the past, that's saying something.