Saif Ali Khan effortlessly gets into the skin of his character, Sartaj Singh Image: Twitter
With a packed auditorium, and Divine's Kaam 25 Hai playing on loop (we know the lyrics by heart by now. Thanks, guys), fans and guests waited for the special screening of the first episode of Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte-starrer Sacred Games. The wait might have been a little long, but you can trust us when we say it was totally worth it.
This Netflix Indian original series, based on Vikram Chandra's novel of the same name, is gripping from frame one. The eight-part series, produced by Phantom Films, will have episodes co-directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane – they're hands down two of our favourite directors. While Kashyap has directed Nawaz's portion, Motwane has directed Saif's.
The first episode lays down the chips on the board. It begins with gore, travels back and forth in time, and then, of course, we have Nawazuddin holding a gun at Surveen Chawla's head — poor gal is always found on the floor, crawling in her own blood. Typecast much? Talking about typecast, you know there's no better gangster in town than Nawaz, right?
We don't want to stereotype him, but imagine him with a gun in his hand, mouthing badass lines. Name one actor who would do it better than him?
The episode was, of course, all things Nawaz, who plays crime lord Ganesh Gaitonde. He has the cheekiest one-liners that are ruthless, dripping in sarcasm, and are an unabashed retelling of events. In one of the scenes, he recalls his arrival in Bombay at the time of Emergency.
He says he came at a time when "sarkar sabke l**d kat rahi thi" (the government was chopping men's penises) — a reference to the mass sterilisation of Indian men made compulsory by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in order to control population.
Our fave gangster is back Image: Netflix
The role of Gaitonde was cut out for Nawaz. He doesn't even flinch while committing a gruesome crime. But it's not only Nawaz who runs the show. It's packed with a great cast and each actor is a perfect placement. Brownie points to you if you can identify Luke Kenny at first go. We must admit we are extremely impressed by Saif, though.
Sartaj Singh, a dutiful cop who is dealing with sh*t in his own life, just wants to be loyal to the uniform he dons. But is entrapped in a corrupt system. If you were wowed by Saif's performance after the trailer came out, then you are in for a treat.
He's calm, composed, with dialogue delivery on point. He effortlessly gets into the skin of his character and you'll forgive him for all the bad films he's done. Side note: In one of the close-ups, he resembles mom Sharmila Tagore so much. Please don't ask us about the relevance of mentioning that. Just sharing notes here, guys.
Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj Singh Image: Netflix
The game between Gaitonde and Sartaj has begun. Radhika Apte's Anjali Mathur is going to help Sartaj crack the game, and Mumbai just has 25 days to live. Just like Sartaj, you, too, want to scream at the top of your voice and ask, 'Kya hone wala hai pachees din mein? (What's going to happen in 25 days?)'. For that, we have to binge the hell out of it on July 6.
The end of the first episode is nothing short of a cliffhanger. You'll be like, 'Dafaq, just happened?' And Nawaz's,“Main Ashwathama hai, sahab,” will linger in your ears.
July 6, why you no come early? We are dying to know the rules of the game.
BTW, we totally forgot to ask you, “Bhagwan mein vishwas karte ho? (Do you believe in God?)”
What does it mean? Watch it, to know it!
P.S. Those of you who have read the book, please don't spoil it for us. Pretty please?