Sacred Games (TV Series)
"Sacred Games" is an Indian neo-noir crime thriller television series based on Vikram Chandra's novel. India's first Netflix original series, it follows Sartaj Singh, a Mumbai police officer, as he receives a call from Ganesh Gaitonde, a notorious gangster, who tasks him with saving the city in 25 days. The series explores corruption, crime, and social issues. Starring Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Radhika Apte, it received acclaim for its performances, writing, and portrayal of Mumbai's underbelly. Premiered in 2018, it became a global sensation, drawing audiences worldwide. It's a compelling narrative of crime, politics, and humanity.
“Sacred Games” is an Indian crime thriller streaming series adapted from Vikram Chandra’s novel. It marked India’s debut Netflix original, helmed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap of Phantom Films. Varun Grover, Smita Singh, and Vasant Nath masterminded the novel-to-screen transformation.
Saif Ali Khan plays Sartaj Singh, a troubled Mumbai cop, who’s compelled to save the city within 25 days after a call from gangster Ganesh Gaitonde, portrayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The show’s ensemble cast features Radhika Apte, Girish Kulkarni, Neeraj Kabi, and many more, weaving a dark, neo-noir narrative that captivated audiences.
|Saif Ali Khan||Inspector Sartaj Singh||Main|
|Nawazuddin Siddiqui||Ganesh Gaitonde||Main|
|Radhika Apte||Anjali Mathur||Main|
|Pankaj Tripathi||Khanna Guruji||Recurring||Main|
|Kalki Koechlin||Batya Abelman||Main|
|Ranvir Shorey||Shahid Khan||Main|
|Neeraj Kabi||DCP Dilip Parulkar||Recurring|
|Jatin Sarna||Deepak “Bunty” Shinde||Recurring|
|Jitendra Joshi||Constable Ashok Katekar||Recurring|
|Elnaaz Norouzi||Zoya Mirza/Jamila||Recurring|
|Luke Kenny||Malcolm Mourad||Recurring|
|Aamir Bashir||Inspector Majid Ali Khan||Recurring|
|Geetanjali Thapa||Nayanika Sehgal||Recurring|
|Surveen Chawla||Jojo Mascarenas||Recurring|
|Shalini Vatsa||Kanta Bai||Recurring|
|Amruta Subhash||Kusum Devi Yadav||Recurring|
|Girish Kulkarni||Bipin Bhosale||Recurring|
|Anupriya Goenka||Megha Singh||Recurring|
|Affan Khan||Young Sartaj Singh||Recurring|
|Sunny Pawar||Young Ganesh Gaitonde||Recurring|
|Danish Pandor||Bada Badariya||Recurring|
|Anil Mange||Chota Badariya||Recurring|
|Samir Kochhar||ACIO Markand||Recurring|
|Rajendra Shisatka||ASI Dhobale||Recurring|
|Muni Jha||Paritosh Shah||Recurring|
|Karan Wahi||Karan Malhotra||Recurring|
|Rajveer Singh Rajput||Raw Agent||Recurring|
|Nawab Shah||Salim Kaka||Recurring|
|Saanand Verma||Purushottam Baria||Recurring|
|Jaipreet Singh||Constable Dilbagh Singh||Recurring|
|Saurabh Sachdeva||Suleiman Isa||Recurring|
|Neha Shitole||Shalini Katekar||Recurring|
|Smita Tambe||ATS Analyst Rama||Recurring|
|Harshita Gaur||Mary Mascarenas||Recurring|
|Priyanka Setia||Harsha Baria||Recurring|
|Sandesh Kulkarni||Gaitonde’s Father||Recurring|
|Vibhavari Deshpande||Gaitonde’s Mother||Recurring|
|Jaimin Panchal||Gaitonde’s Brother||Recurring|
Sartaj Singh, a troubled Mumbai Police inspector yearning for recognition in a corrupt force, receives an unexpected call from Ganesh Gaitonde, a notorious crime lord missing for 16 years. Gaitonde’s cryptic message urges Sartaj to save the city within 25 days, setting off a complex series of events deeply entangled in India’s criminal underworld.
Along the way, Sartaj is aided by Anjali Mathur, an officer from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The first season unravels Gaitonde’s past through flashbacks and uncovers a connection between Gaitonde and Sartaj’s father.
In season two, Gaitonde’s history unfolds further as Sartaj embarks on a quest for answers. He stumbles upon an ashram with ties to his father and a sinister plan to create a peaceful world. Flashbacks delve into Gaitonde’s induction into the ashram after meeting Khanna Guruji.
Additionally, Gaitonde’s assignment in Kenya under RAW officer Kusum Devi Yadav, aimed at preserving Sartaj’s cousin Shahid Khan, reveals a plot to eradicate India, orchestrated by the ashram.
Erik Barmack, the vice-president of Netflix, discovered Vikram Chandra’s 2006 crime novel, Sacred Games, during the search for Indian content with global appeal. Recognizing its potential, Barmack found it intriguing and decided to adapt it in Hindi. In 2014, Netflix approached Phantom Films to produce the series.
During a visit to Los Angeles, writer-director Vikramaditya Motwane met with Netflix’s team. Motwane, who had previously read Chandra’s novel “Love and Longing in Bombay” featuring Sartaj Singh, found Sacred Games to be excellent after reading it.
He appreciated Netflix’s decision to produce it in Hindi rather than English, as it felt more authentic. Motwane collaborated with writer Varun Grover on the challenging adaptation process.
Sacred Games marks Netflix’s inaugural original series from India. In February 2018, Netflix announced a slate of seven Indian series in production, including Sacred Games. Netflix introduced a sneak peek of the three main characters, featuring a blood-splattered Sartaj, a puzzled Mathur, and a pajama-clad Gaitonde, on 23 February 2018.
A 45-second teaser video followed on 3 May, and a trailer was released on 6 June. The series premiered its first four episodes at the MAMI film festival in Mumbai on 29 June 2018. It subsequently debuted worldwide on 5 July 2018, with subtitles available in over 20 languages. Following its release, social media buzzed with mashup videos, artwork, and memes related to the show.
However, on 10 July 2018, a member of the Indian National Congress, Rajeev Kumar Sinha, filed an FIR against Netflix, the show’s creators, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, alleging that a scene in the series insulted former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Another complaint was filed the next day by Suresh Shyamal Gupta, president of the Youth Indian National Trade Union Congress city wing and Congress Party activist, also citing an insult to Gandhi.
On 14 July, Rahul Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi’s son, tweeted that freedom of speech is a fundamental democratic right and that the character’s views in a fictional web series cannot alter his father’s legacy. Consequently, Sinha withdrew his complaint, although Netflix retained the contentious English subtitle.
Netflix’s Vice President, Todd Yellin, reported that the first season of Sacred Games was watched by double the number of viewers outside India.