Sacred Games Episode 1 and 2: Summary and Discussion Space

I already did my massive SPOILERS and NO SPOILERS reviews, you can use those to discuss the show as a whole.  But I know people are watching along and I don’t want them to risk spoiling others, plus it’s nice to break the discussion down a little sometimes.

Episode 1: Ashwathama

Saif is introduced as a bored struggling police officer.  He’s not depressed and has no great tragedy in his life, he is just kind of a loser, overweight and with a marriage that failed.  He is struggling with whether or not to lie to an inquiry board about a shooting.  In the middle of all this, he gets a phone call from Nawazuddin Siddiqui who claims to have information for him, and to be calling him because he knew Saif’s father.  Saif puts a trace on the signal and keeps pushing for information, finally finding Nawazuddin’s hide out and breaking in, just in time to see Nawazuddin shoot himself.  Nawazuddin’s story covers his childhood watching his Brahmin father beg and his mother sleep with men for money, then arriving in Bombay and working in a Hindus only hotel before becoming a drug dealer.


The title comes from the name of a fighter in the Mahabharata whose death was reported falsely and he went on to lead the army to victory.  Not sure if that is the meaning of it, that Nawazuddin lives on after death, or if there is some other meaning to the title.

It’s a slow opening episode, the modern day parts where we are seeing Saif struggle with his conscious and try to do his job feel a bit trite, like any other police show.  But once Nawazuddin calls him, everything picks up, both through Nawazuddin’s performance, and the way it expands the story, seeing Saif travel around night time Bombay and seeing the flashbacks to other time periods.

This is the only time in the series that we see extensive location shooting in the city, driving through empty night time roads.  And it is the only time that the two leads, Said and Nawazuddin, interact.  And the only time that the two directors, Anurag filming Nawazuddin’s part and Vikramadityan filming Saif’s, interact.


Episode 2: Halahala

In the present day, the aftermath of Nawazuddin’s death plays out.  Saif is removed from the case, as it being above his abilities.  But Radhike Apte appears, from RAW in Delhi, having intercepted the call and being eager to investigate more.  She tempts Saif to track down information on the dead woman found with Nawazuddin.  Saif also, thinking back on his phone call, goes back to investigate the house again and finds a room filled with money.  All over the city, the news is reported and it becomes clear that Nawazuddin was a former top mobster, long gone from the city, and his return and death are upsetting people from the police and politicians to movie stars.  In the past, Nawazuddin has killed a smuggler, his first mentor, and stolen a box of gold.  He loses his first partner who finds his ambitions too high, but gains another in the strong woman of his neighborhood who advises him, and the local jeweler who serves as his fence.  He also goes to war for the first time, with the current gangster of the area, for control of the city’s trash.  He kills his men and burns down his trash pile, before finally taking control for himself and starting his empire on trash.


The episode’s title comes from the poison that was created when the Gods churned the sea trying to create the nectar of immortality Amrita.  It could be a reference to Nawazuddin as the poison that rises to the top before the sweet, or to the trash heap itself, seemingly poisoness but hiding sweet nectar.  Or to something else entirely.

The present day sections are still a bit disconnected at this point, the players are being moved around the board and not connected yet.  But this does have the first reveal of an actor playing a role in both past and present, Neeraj Kadi being grey haired and powerful in the present, and still a lowly inspector with dark hair, beholden to a local gangster, in the past.




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9 thoughts on “Sacred Games Episode 1 and 2: Summary and Discussion Space

  1. Started 2 nd episode.
    1 St one ended in a cliffhanger and what a cliffy it was.

    Reached midpoint of 2nf part. How is nawaz narrating to saif after he died?
    Is it spoiler?


    • By the end of the season, we still don’t know how Nawazuddin is still talking, although Saif definitely isn’t hearing him any more, doesn’t seem to know what he is saying and nor does any other character. It could be that there is never an answer, it is just a structural thing that Nawazuddin is narrating his life in first person. Or maybe at some point in a later season, Saif will find a tape recording and it will turn out that is where the narration is coming from.


  2. Nawaz in one scene says, “Noone could kill me… I felt like Ashwathama”. Krishna, after Mahabharata war, had cursed Ashwathama, that he will never die no matter how hard he tries, for killing innocent children.


      • when the devas(gods) and asuras(demons) were in quest for amrit – nectar when consumed would make them immortal. the gods didnt want demons to get possession of the same and be invincible and seek help from the the holy trinity of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. So Lord Vishnu decided to hold ‘samudra manthan’ (churning of the sea). Lots of things of worldly importance were obtained. Amrit was last and before that came Halahala, which someone had to consume but that would mean death for that party. Lord Shiva consumed all of the halahala and holds it in his throat (his wife Goddess Parvati stops the poison at his throat by holding his throat tight as it could have killed him too).. so his throat turned blue but the world was saved. The poison is stopped and Shiva has a blue throat, that’s why he is also called Neelkanth (God with the blue throat). I think the episode was called so because GG and Sartaj are both churning things at their ends and they obtain something. or it’s used as a metaphor for a situation where a person has to make a tough choice and bear the destructive consequence of his choice alone so that others can live in peace…
        Or maybe the poison here is the counterfeit currency that was about to be circulated into the economy but was stopped on time?


        • Or an implication that Saif is the one chosen person who is strong enough to hold and contain Nawazuddin’s poison? This is the first episode when Saif has a clear sudden understanding of what Nawazuddin meant that no one else seems to grasp.


          • Maybe 🙂
            Some of the Ashwathama references are also seen in that Ashwathama was cursed to live a life of isolation and with scars and wounds rotting all over him. We see him in solitary as well as get lesions on his body after contracting…some STI?


          • Yeah, what was up with that STD? I assume it was syphilis or something else that could be easily cured, but it was weird they never directly addressed it. And the lesions make you think “AIDS”, which it obviously wasn’t (way way too early, and he seemed to be all cured).

            On Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 11:42 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Or simply the news of Nawaz’s return/death after so many years has unleashed a panic wave across the whole political-bollywood-police nexus..


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