Sacred Games season 1 premiere recap: ‘Ashwatthama’


In its premiere, Netflix series Sacred Games explodes!  A struggling cop is told by a mysterious, murderous criminal that he has 25 days to save the city.

[SPOILER ALERT: Being a recap, plot details from Sacred Games are revealed below.]

Sacred Games is a show that doesn’t hold back. As the episode ‘Ashwatthama’ begins, a Pomeranian dog is thrown from a window, to fall and go splat from a very tall building. Then a woman is shot, and the crazed gunman says, “Sometimes I feel I am god.” You know right away, this won’t be the most subtle show of all time.

“Day 25”

Before long we are introduced to the protagonist of Sacred Games.  Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) is a policeman who wants respect, yet the force is clearly corrupt, and outright bullies him. In addition to being beaten up by his partners, they act even more violently towards criminals. When Sartaj informs them that a crime suspect, Parulkar (Neeraj Kabi) is surrendering, the other officers shoot him anyway. If that’s not enough, one of them tells Sartaj that the police report will say he killed the man, and that Sartaj’s wife, Megha (Anupriya Goenka) left him at the right time. Though Sartaj wants to be “a real policeman” like his father, it’s clear that he has an uphill climb.

Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), (Sacred Games, Netflix)

This is when a secret man — later revealed to be Ganesh Eknath, AKA Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) — gives an ominous phone call to Sartaj. Rather than merely saying “Hello,” the man asks Sartaj if he believes in God. It’s a wonderfully cryptic introduction, and Sartaj instantly knows something’s amiss. Then, as if confirming his suspicions, the stranger tells Sartaj, “Forget God, do you believe in magic?”

After a few cryptic exchanges, the caller identifies himself as an old friend of Dilbagh Singh, Sartaj’s father. Speaking with confidence, Gaitonde says he is himself going to be killed. It’s quite a phone call, no doubt about it, and Sartaj is surely scrambling to piece together the puzzle.

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To help do that for us, there is a flashback to Islapur in 1969, where we learn that Gaitonde’s father (Sandeep Kulkarni) was an upper-class priest. We quickly gain insight into Gaitonde’s troubled youth. Disgusted by his father’s begging, Gaitonde spends every opportunity he can to trash talk the man. His mother (Vibhawari Deshpande) wasn’t much better in his eyes, either. According to Gaitonde, she would cheat on him every time he’d go out. In fact, Gaitonde’s mother and her lover murdered. In addition to such revealing details, Gaitonde tells Sartaj to check police records to see who he is. Gaitonde even gives the police file information!

Who is Gaitonde?

Gaitonde is a notorious criminal, considered “missing” for 17 years. He’s no amateur. There are 158 murder cases against him. So, when he calls himself “Ashwatama” (which means he can never die), it suggests that he has a mighty high view of his bloody reputation. He’s also a drug dealer and thief.  His mentor, Salim Kaka (AKA the “Afghan Bull”) was the king of gold smuggling. At one point in his career, Gaitonde stole a large sum of Salim’s money, ostensibly to avoid selling the illegal drug Mandrax ever again. Gaitonde rationalized it by arguing (in so many words) that, yes, Salim was a smuggler, but he was a killer first and foremost. However, Gaitonde himself decided to kill Salim in 1984. When describing the event, Gaitonde tells Sartaj, “I have seen my face in every person that I have killed.”

Not long after this heartwarming story, Gaitonde gives Sartaj 25 days to save his city, saying that “Everyone will die except Trivedi.” Staying ominous, Gaitonde adds that he has three fathers, all equipped with important life lessons. His first father gave him fear, the 2nd daring, and the 3rd taught deceitfulness. In other words, Gaitonde has a few chips on his shoulder.

Next. Sacred Games season 1, episode 2 recap. dark

Gaitonde – Gone So Soon!

Sacred Games creates an amazing twist: Immediately after the police bust into his Gaitonde’s compound with construction equipment, he shoots himself in the head. That’s right, the man who built himself up so much — who said he can never die — quickly kills himself in front of Sartaj!
It’s an amazing way to end the premiers, as it’s clear that intense revelations lie in wait. The game
clearly isn’t over, and Gaitonde will live on somehow in some elaborate scheme of thoroughly mapped out mayhem!

What are your thoughts on the Sacred Games premiere? Did it blow you away? Let us know in the comments!