For decades, Indian television has been highly influenced by soap-dramas, the typical “saas-bahu (mother-in-law-daughter-in-law)” stories.
Almost every premise of the story being the same. A rich guy falls in love with a poor girl. The mother is against it, however, the father is supportive.
Mother marries her son to a vamp-looking lady who is after their property. Everyone finds out a little too late and the son gets killed.
But since it’s Indian television, the son gets resurrected and gets a plastic surgery (and apparently the voice and the height is also changed).
And the spiral goes on and on and on. And also most stories involve the kidnapping of the main characters (especially the female), a lot of kidnapping.
This sort of television dramas started making its way in around the late 90s. It was especially targeted to the housewives bored with sitting around the house all day.
And it worked, as almost 20 years later, it’s still dominating the Indian television market.
However, with the growing youth population, it’s difficult for the Indian television to keep making these TV serials which frankly don’t even make sense.
And one of the reason has to be Netflix’s first Indian original series Sacred Games.
Based on a Vikram Chandra novel of the same name, Sacred Games is a coming of age Indian story.
It is actually two parallel stories, one of a gangster and another a policeman. A story of India in the 70s till today.
Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap do what they do best in the series. Direct something so raw and realistic that viewers can’t help but engage and fall in love.
In the series Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), an honest yet deeply frustrated policeman has 25 days to figure out how to save his beloved city, Bombay.
While the parallel story portrays the journey of a humble village kid Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) turning into a ruthless Bombay gangster.
In an attempt to catch Gaitonde, Singh now has to solve the mystery of who wants to destroy the city.
Indian politics has always been a topic of interest, as well as its history. And of course, who can ever forget the war on religion that’s still ongoing in the country.
And Sacred Games, both the book and the television series captures it perfectly.
Maybe the reason is how good of a director both Motwane and Kashyap are. And also the amazing cast of some of the most talented actors in Bollywood like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Radhika Apte, and Kalki Koechlin.
Sacred Games is India’s first global show and it is changing or might I say revolutionizing the way Indian television works.
For decades Ekta Kapoor and a few others have been ruling the Indian television scene. With the same old family drama or someone turning into a snake (literal snake).
But with the introduction of Sacred Games, the way of television viewing is also changing little by little.
Even though it is a Netflix original, it’s still television. And let’s be real, we might not know the person who’s account we’ve been using, but almost everyone has a shared Netflix account.
I wouldn’t say the Sacred Games series is single-handedly responsible for changing the television.
Shows like Mirzapur, Delhi Crime, and Ghoul are also making a huge impact.
But Sacred Games is somehow different.
Sacred Games tells the Indian TV industry that it is conceivable to make an intriguing series for a more brilliant crowd.
That dumbing-down is a reason made by unfit and apathetic producers. Scared Games (both in book and TV forms) speaks to top-notch composing.
The two years-long journey of the writers to prepare the script is certainly justifiable. Their adaptation of the story remains consistent with the book and their choice to arrange it in the present age was a smart move.
Indian crowds are have become more exposed to international content. Binging on the most recent European or American TV series is now a thing in India.
The audience wouldn’t fret being tested by writers or directors. They are familiar with better composition, bearing, and subjects now. They are also not kept down by language thanks to captions proving to be useful.
While some Bollywood movie producers have tried to stay aware of this change, TV has been glad to imagine that this issue does not exist.
There isn’t even an affirmation of this hole in what an enormous section of the group of viewers longs for and what is handed out on Indian TV consistently. Ideally, this will now begin to change.
Sacred Games shows what is likely when writers, directors, and actors are not encircled by the old censor board. Or controlled by formulae-driven production houses.
While Bollywood films have seen movies turn progressively practical in portrayal and language, Indian TV has stayed antiquated and curbed.
The show additionally refrains from taking any shots to be politically correct. In contrast to Indian TV, it doesn’t avoid awkward or dubious problems like Hindu-Muslim polarization.
It really portrays how it is built on the ground and how people become pawns.
There is no attempt to sugarcoat any perspective, in particular, their language, which remains extremely brilliant and significantly more believable.
The presence of nakedness and portrayal of sex on screen is a first for Indian television. However, what is wonderful is the means by which it is excluded to stir yet is exhibited in a real fashion.
Sacred Games is considerably more than a TV series for a web stage. It is a legitimate Indian show that has a place with the world of amazing TV content.