What do you do when you have a strict censor board that takes offense to anything that has the potential to ruffle feathers? It’s the 21stcentury and luckily, since program airing is not restricted to state controlled TV channels or censor board monitored films, one way is to put your content online. That’s exactly what has happened in India with Sacred Games, the first original Netflix series from India, which is raw and gritty and is offending most of India for its portrayal of lawmakers and politicians, Hindus and Muslims and just about everyone in between.
While the prudes have been objecting to its violent and graphic content, politicians have taken offense to the portrayal of Rajiv Gandhi who – according to Ganesh Gaitonde, the enigmatic criminal portrayed brilliantly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui – is corrupt to the core. “If the PM is so corrupt then why expect honesty from us?” he questions.
According to Hindustan Times, “a member of the Congress party has filed a petition against the show for its depiction of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. His son and current Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a tweet Saturday said that his ‘father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character on a fictional web series can never change that.’ Gandhi’s statement was lauded by the show’s creative team, including co-director Anurag Kashyap.”
In India one could get killed for voicing their opinions, or speaking up against political leaders, Saif Ali Khan – who plays Sartaj Singh, a struggling policeman – recently said in an interview.
“If you date someone from the wrong caste, somebody will kill you in some parts of India. That’s just the way it is,” Saif said in an interview to The Quint. “I don’t know how much you can criticise your government in India, somebody might kill you,” Saif said without mincing his words.
“It will be deeply frustrating if something happens to the show. If someone says you can’t air this or if Netflix is discontinued. Then that will be my turn to be outraged,” Saif said.
Will Sacred Games manage to survive the wrath of India? We sure hope so.