Sacred Games season 1, episode 3 recap: ‘Atapi Vatapi’


In episode 3 of Netflix series Sacred Games, a dead woman’s body leads to crime boss Gaitonde’s partner, Bunty Shinde, and Gaitonde finds love.

In Sacred Games, the character of Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) is regularly subjected to abuse. This episode is no different, as he is punched in the face by Majid Ali Khan (Aamir Bashir). The strong implication is that, even though they’re tasked with hunting brutal criminals, the police aren’t far from such behavior themselves — even to each other. Majid also threatens to inform Parulkar (Neeraj Kabi) that Sartaj is investigating crime lord Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) while under suspension.

However, Sartaj’s investigation was not a failure. He identified the body in Gaitonde’s bunker as Jojo Mascarenas (Surveen Chawla), a casting agent and pimp for struggling actresses. Specifically, she was identified by her car keys, which matched a certain car, whose license plate identified her further.   While investigating her apartment, Sartaj also found a stash of counterfeit money. It’s also revealed that Nayanika Sehgal (Geetanjali Thapa), a very famous actress, was managed by Jojo.

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Of course, some mysteries remain in Atapi Vatapi. The identity (and story) of Trivedi is yet unknown, as well as Gaitonde’s connection to Sartaj’s father, Dilbag Singh. The older constables say Sartaj’s father had nothing to do with Gaitonde. Still, Gaitonde name-dropping Dilbag when speaking with Sartaj is more than a minor coincidence.

Gaitonde’s Influence on Bunty/Bunty’s Tale

Gaitonde is (or was) a cruel man, dismissing prostitutes and coveting the power and prestige of others. Accordingly, he gets his riches (and power) by tearing these other men down. This is what makes Gaitonde’s relationship to Deepak “Bunty” Shinde (Jatin Sarna) interesting. By being close to Gaitonde, Buny hopes to taste this power. The crueler Gaitonde is, the more loyal Bunty will seek to appear. It’s likely, then, that Bunty wouldn’t be half as cruel were it not for his surroundings. Gaitonde’s narration calls Bunty a beast, noting that Bunty’s into sexual sadism, but also religion.

Bunty even takes a turn at narration, telling a mythological tale of Atapi and Vatapi. Who are they?
Atapi and Vatapi were 2 demon brothers. As such, they had some evil magical powers, playing cruel pranks on occasion. Specifically, Vatapi would sometimes turn into a goat and entice travelers to eat him. Then, after the travelers were full, Atapi would call out to his brother, who would burst out of traveler’s stomachs!  At this point, Sacred Games pulls no punches, stating that religion is similarly used to entice travelers, feed them, then kill them.

Gaitonde Stands Up to Suleiman Isa

In flashbacks, Suleiman Isa (Saurabh Sachdeva) is a big target of Gaitonde’s envy. Quite simply, he wants everything that Isa has, and knows he can only get it through treachery. By this episode of Sacred Games, he’s already almost there. Gaitonde’s now able to enter an exclusive club he wasn’t welcome to before. Once inside, he tells his love interest, Kuckoo (Kubra Sait), “Isa’s time is over. It’s my time now.”

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Sacred Games (2018)

He offers her some rare jewelry, saying it was previously owned by actress Parveen Baby, and that he killed people to get it. Of course, he specifically stole it from Suleiman Isa, who isn’t too happy about it. This inevitably leads to a confrontation — a “Mexican standoff” with Isa, who doesn’t feel his time is over. There are threats of retaliation.

Later, at his birthday party, Gaitonde is celebrated for standing up to Isa. He also meets Bipin Bhosale (Girish Kulkarni), and an aspiring politician (who later becomes Home Minister), as well as Parulkar and Trivedi. In his narration, Gaitonde says that, had he known how bad they would make his life, he would have shot them that very day.

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Day 22 – Secrets

Gaitonde’s empire is like a stack of cards, or maybe elaborate dominoes. When he falls, others fall with him. In the present, an actress named Zoya Mirza (Elnaaz Norouzi) is threatened to be exposed as Jojo’s client — which presumably would unveil further secrets. Also, Sartaj is now familiar with Bunty’s record of violence and rape — which clashes with Bunty’s high-profile job as TV producer.

Toward the episode’s end, it’s revealed that Bunty told actress Nayanika Sehgal (Geetanjali Thapa) that he’s leaving. Taking advantage of this knowledge, Sartaj tasks the actress with meeting him. She is to carry a live stream surveillance purse. It’s a risky move, but so is any other in Sacred Games.

What do you think of this Sacred Games episode? Let us know in the comments!