REVIEW: Sacred Games S01E03 – “Atapi Vatapi”

If you recall, as I know it’s been quite a while, we left Sacred Games as it delved into Gaitonde’s past, as well as discovering how far his influence went. Sartaj continued his investigation into the present day Gaitonde, and his connections in both the gang world and, as we find out this episode, Bollywood. In episode three, the journey into Gaitonde’s ascent as well as his legacy continues.

Sartaj is investigating Gaitonde’s life, alongside RAW agent Anjali. They discover Gaitonde’s trusted partner Bunty is a producer on a popular tv show and has an interesting relationship with the lead heroine, Nayanika. It is said that she is a “client” of Gaitonde and Bunty. Bunty wishes to take Nayanika away before the twenty five days are up. At the same time another actress named Zoya also has ties with Bunty and Gaitonde, which are largely unknown.

Even though Sartaj and Anjali don’t make significant progressions in their case, the little that they, and we as the audience get, leads to a very tense cliffhanger for the episode. The plotting to this part of the story is superbly done, such that I was completely invested and felt like much was revealed about how intricate Gaitonde’s operations were. Additionally we see new players enter the fold; the actresses mentioned above, but also an unnamed assassin masquerading as a doctor.

In the flashbacks, we continue to see Gaitonde’s rise to power. We see how Bunty becomes his right hand man, and how he takes his enemy’s lucky charm, in a dancer named Kuckoo. In the flashbacks we are shown the tensions between Hindus and Muslims, which is hinted to play a role in the upcoming episodes.

Similar to the present day story, we ultimately aren’t given a whole lot of plot, with the flashbacks amounting to Gaitonde meeting a girl and winning her over, but it’s incredibly thrilling. Showrunners Varun Grover, Smita Singh, and Vasant Nath continue to do a superb job in keeping the audience enthralled every step of the way. The acting continues to be top notch, especially from Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The only flaw is how obvious the English dubbing is, but that may be unavoidable.