‘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.


Young violinist hits a winning note in Riyadh

Updated 16 min 41 sec ago
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Young violinist hits a winning note in Riyadh

  • Chloe Chua of Singapore is considered the world's foremost youngest pianist
  • Since the opening of its doors to global talent, people in Saudi Arabia have been enjoying electrifying performances of various world-class musicians and singers.

RIYADH: The cultural landscape of Saudi Arabia is changing at a rapid pace and it is fast becoming a hub of cultural activities. 
Since the opening of its doors to global talent, people in Saudi Arabia have been enjoying electrifying performances of various world-class musicians and singers.
The Saudi authorities are leaving no stone unturned to promote local talent and to make the Kingdom part of the global cultural revolution. 
On Saturday, the General Cultural Authority organized yet another unforgettable concert at the King Fahad Cultural Center, which saw the world’s youngest violinist, Chloe Chua from Singapore perform to a spellbound audience. The 11-year-old talented violinist has been a student at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts School of Young Talents (SYT) strings section since the age of four. 
She is studying with Yin Ke, string program leader of SYT and recently won the first prize in the Menuhin Competition Geneva 2018. She has been awarded prizes in numerous other competitions, coming first in the 24th Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition (May 2017) and third in violin group A of the 2nd Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians. 
Chua was accompanied by the internationally distinguished pianist, Gordon Back. Back is an official accompanist at major international violin competitions such as the Queen Elizabeth competition, the Carl Flesch Competition (London), the International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow), the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (US), and the Menuhin Competition (UK).
The pieces of music, which included Beethoven, Mozart and Johan Svendsen, were inspired by different stories and different musical rhythms and drew rapturous applause.
The program began with a 15-minute performance by Eman Gusti, a 20-year-old Saudi pianist who started playing at the age of nine. 
“No one on earth can imagine how I felt when I heard the audience applauded. It is such a great honor,” Gusti told Arab News.
She said she finally felt she had a place to express her passion and an umbrella (the General Culture Authority) to belong to. “Saudi women have a great space to express their enthusiasm in interactive situations and places. I am very happy to be part of this golden era.” 
After her segment, the main performance started with Chua and Back. “I am very happy to perform in Saudi Arabia,” Chua said afterward. “I chose these seven pieces because they are very good in terms of the music, rhythm and themes. I wanted to show that classical music can be a joy to everyone. I chose music because it makes everybody happy, and I can travel around the world to make the world happy.” 
Now Chua and Back are set to perform in Jeddah today. “I am very excited about seeing Jeddah and playing music in front of an audience there,” she said. 
It was the first time Back had played in Saudi Arabia. “It is a very wonderful experience,” he told Arab News.
When asked whether music can bring people from different countries and diverse cultures together, he said: “I think it can, because with music you do not need any language. It transcends languages. It can also unify people. 
“Hopefully I will come back to perform again here in Saudi Arabia,” he said.