‘Sacred Games:’ India’s gritty Netflix series debut

Netflix's first Indian original series made its debut on Friday, the first of a slate of new shows aimed at the vast Bollywood entertainment market. (Photo courtesy: Netflix)
Updated 08 July 2018
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‘Sacred Games:’ India’s gritty Netflix series debut

CHENNAI: Netflix’s first Indian original series made its debut on Friday, the first of a slate of new shows aimed at the vast Bollywood entertainment market. “Sacred Games,” based on the 2006 novel by Vikram Chandra, is a thriller set in Mumbai with a cast of police officers, politicians and spies, and stars some of Bollywood’s biggest personalities, including Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte.

The movie is a full of gangsters, prostitutes, corrupt policemen, inter-religious animosity and terror all bathed in blood and gore. Helmed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, the series unfolds in 2004 and avoids the minutiae of the literary work while retaining its spirit. Crafted with a touch of brilliance, superbly suspenseful and terrifically thrilling, the eight-hour-long film is divided into six episodes in season one.

What “Sacred Games” loses out on in terms of storyline novelty is made up for by riveting performances. As Inspector Sartaj Singh, Khan portrays a man in a dilemma and conveys pained restlessness after he gets a call from one of the city’s most dreaded dons, Ganesh Gaitonde (Siddiqui). Gaitonde tells Singh that he knew his father, an honest cop, and then shoots himself, but not before warning him that Mumbai will be destroyed in 25 days.

The clock begins its ominous ticking, its pendulum swinging between Singh’s own troubled present and the mysterious message from the crime boss, whose murderous tendencies and rise as a crime lord play out against India’s tumultuous political and social events.

A strong critique of the nation’s growing fundamentalism, the narrative is pushed forward by a diverse group of motley characters — Anjali Mathur, an upright officer in India’s Research and Analysis Wing, is portrayed by actor Radhika Apte with all the seriousness the role deserves, while the crime boss’s adoring wife, Subhadra (Rajshri Despande), knocks a bit of sense into her brutish husband and a senior policeman, Parulkar (Neeraj Kabi), fights the tsunami of temptations.
While the many characters give the story depth, it does make the narrative difficult to follow as the back and forth, racy style could leave viewers rushed off their feet.


New E! channel reality show follows women across the Mideast

Updated 15 December 2018
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New E! channel reality show follows women across the Mideast

DUBAI: US TV channel E! is set to premiere a new show about the Middle East’s female entrepreneurs on Dec. 23. Here are six of the stars who will feature in “Generation M.E.”

Dana Al-Tuwarish
The Kuwaiti influencer and entrepreneur will host the show and is already a well-known name in the region with her two million Instagram followers and numerous beauty ventures.
Arwa Al-Banawi
The Saudi designer launched her own fashion line in 2015 and recently made headlines when Will Smith and his son, Jaden, popped into her Dubai Design District showroom for a visit in October.
Tara Khattar
The New York-based Lebanese chef is a fast-rising star on the culinary scene and at just 25-years-old has already appeared on “Top Chef France.”
Manal Rostom
In May, the Egyptian marathon-runner and mountaineer became the first Arab woman to be featured on the Global Nike+ Run Club App.
Joelle Mardinian
The Lebanese beauty entrepreneur launched her chain salon Maison de Joelle in 2008 and it now has branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Tunisia and Kurdistan.
Hanan Mazouzi
The Algerian car-lover founded the UAE’s first women-only supercar club, the Arabian Gazelles, and has been featured in everything from CNN to Vogue magazine.