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A Stellar Cast Makes ‘Sacred Games 2’ Worth the Hype, the stench of blood and betrayal strong

It’s a familiar universe again – the stench of blood and betrayal strong, Sartaj Singh’s seething anger, Gaitonde’s obscene self-assuredness. A host of new characters with a rich dark foreboding tone and one knows that in this battle between the sacred and profane, the game rests precariously on the complete lack of predictability and routine.

Netflix’s first Indian Original series, the first season of Sacred Games became a humongous success and this generally puts an unhealthy amount of pressure on the successor that has to match not just the weight of expectations but deliver a dynamic fresh new punch. Putting all doubts to rest it must be made clear that Sacred Games 2 is totally worth the hype. Helmed by Anurag Kashyap and Neeraj Ghaywan (who steps in for Vikramaditya Motwane) the pace and atmospherics promise another engaging season! The ominous nexus between politics and religion is exposed brutally though brilliantly.

The strength of the series has always been its writing – particularly the way it intertwines socio-political occurrences with the personal trajectory of the main characters.

The strength of the series has always been its writing – particularly the way it intertwines socio-political occurrences with the personal trajectory of the main characters. The proceedings take off exactly from where we left them in 8th episode of season 1. Reprising the roles of Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde are Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui respectively. Their non-linear threads in perfect sync as editor Arti Bajaj once again wields her magic.

Only a consummate actor like Tripathi can make his tone switch so effortlessly between being mellifluous and menacing.

Sartaj Singh is a man on a mission – he must uncover the gang that is planning a sinister attack on the country even as he struggles to deal with his own personal demons. The unhealed wound he is nursing just a physical manifestation of his tortured state of mind. Saif Ali Khan is exceptional once again . So is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. With Gaitonde we travel to 1994 as he avowedly prepares to take revenge. Self-doubt suddenly becomes his constant companion.

The hunt for Gaitonde’s “teesra baap (third father)” takes centre stage and this adds many meaty cliffhangers in each episode and some exquisitely plotted characters. Amruta Subhash is terrific as Yadav sir, the lady who even Gaitonde hasn’t been able to figure out fully. As the details bleed out slowly, we meet Guruji, played by Pankaj Tripathi in exceptional form, and his devotee Batya, essayed by Kalki Koechlin. Only a consummate actor like Tripathi can make his tone switch so effortlessly between being mellifluous and menacing. Kalki is restrained and equally in control. Ranvir Shorey has a pivotal role but sadly not enough screen time. Surveen Chawla and Elnaaz Norouzi are impressive in their limited roles.

Speeding up and slowing down the narrative to add in some unexpected twists is a cunning ploy and as things draw to a close one is tempted to imagine that a third season could well be on its way. Sacred Games season 2 is pretty irresistible.

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