“Facts don’t persuade, feelings do. And stories are the best way to get at those feelings”
As soon as we start reading a story or watching a movie or a tv series, we surrender ourselves to the whims of the writer, we allow the writer to manipulate our emotions with the help of the characters of his story. A writer can make you like a character who works really hard in his life, at the same time the same writer can make you hate the same hard working character once you are told that he abuses or tortures his wife or child.
Those characters and situations might be unreal and a work of fiction, but the tears in your eyes when your favorite character dies are real; the sore feeling of betrayal you experience when the character you associate with gets stabbed in the back is real; the smile you get when your character wins the trophy is real. These emotions might stay with you for a fraction of a second or might stick with you for days, weeks or even years.
A writer can add as many number of attributes like hard working, or abusive, or cheating so on and so forth. While creating his characters he could mix positive and negative attributes, forcing you as a consumer, to unconsciously either downgrade the importance of a positive attribute or develop an acceptance for a negative attribute.
Since a writer decides if the character is to be liked or hated. it becomes extremely important to distinguish facts from fiction. Putting facts and fiction in the same bucket and mixing them leads to only one thing; Chaos! especially when characters are taken from the real life.
Watching the recently released second season of Sacred Games felt like watching NDTV news without abuses. The show complements the narratives built and nurtured by a few for their vested selfish political and financial interests. The show is not the first one to incite strong emotions and aggravate the viewers by mixing facts with fiction, Indian entertainment industry, especially Bollywood has been doing it for ages. And when the chaos occurs, they hide behind the garb or art and creativity. Sacred Games 2.0 is merely an addition to an extremely lengthy list.
You would find Hindu Terror, Anti-Brahmanism, Mob Lynching, Exploitation by Hindu Spiritual Gurus, terrorist’s poor backgrounds, gangster’s change of heart, anti-minority environment and some more. You name it and you will find it in the show; you will find everything other than creativity.
Starting with Khanna Guruji. Is his character a fact or a fiction? Or rather, are the attributes associated with his character real or fiction? There are a lot of spiritual gurus in India, its a fact. A lot of them are corrupt criminals, it is also a fact.They brainwash people to gain monetary benefits and in some cases sexual favors. No denying these facts. But how many of them were involved in blowing up the buses, trains or cities, or in terrorism? None! this one attribute associated with Khanna Guruji is fictitious. This kind of brainwashing is found in Terrorist outfits. The brainwash by fraud gurus affects only the victim who volunteers to visit the fraud guru and not the other civilians. But a brainwash by a terror outfit affects those who are living their normal lives far away in some city (they never chose or volunteered). These two acts of brainwashing are mutually exclusive and cannot be interchanged. This misplaced attribute “brainwashing” creates confusion and complements the Hindu Terror narrative. Next time when you find any baba accused of money laundering, the common man would have no difficulty in considering him a terrorist.
The show stigmatizes the Brahmins, be it with the help of the learned Khanna Guruji’s character or the gangster Ganesh Gaitonde’s character. What are the castes of other characters in the story? Who was Katekar? Or Parulkar? or Majid? or others? The show went overboard to explicitly prove the two villains, Gaitonde and Guruji’s Brahmin ancestry. The show subtly promotes anti-brahminism.
Coming to the juiciest part of the show, Indian politicians have been exploiting it for decades for their benefits; the victimized Muslims of India.
Majid does not find a house because of his name and his wife called their parents adding pain in the story. The true fact is finding an apartment is extremely difficult and the difficulty increases with the increasing difference i.e. it becomes even more difficult if you look different, eat different, speak different etc. etc. I have been living in rented apartments for last twelve years (including both in India as well as outside India). The farther I go from my home town, the more difficult it becomes for me to find an apartment. There is always a long list or criteria that I need to meet to be eligible for the apartment. The various necessary conditions that I came across during my apartment hunt included: no alcohol, no smoking, no late nights, no non-vegetarian food, no parties in the house, no putting nails in the walls, no friends staying in the house, should have a minimum xxxx salary (show the proof), not available for single boys (although single girls can rent the place), only for bachelors, only available for 11 months, only Kannada speaking, or only Marathi speaking and there are many more conditions like this. Many a times, they don’t mention everything in the advertisement, but they tell you when you contact them. So, Majid is not the only one struggling with apartments, but he is the only one playing his muslim victim card.
In addition to this Majid tries to keep himself in Parulkar’s good books. Why? because your life becomes easy if you are on your boss’s side, even if he is wrong. Majid knew, if he would do the right thing, he would be treated like Sartaj and would have to struggle to get a lot of things done. But would play his muslim victim card in order to hide his professional incompetence: “it is better to be Parulka’s guy than go with his Muslim name”. The reserved category in India also does the same, they want the best salaries but they don’t want to be the best and don’t want to compete.
It is always very easy to call others racists or caste-ist than look inward for your own in-competences or in-efficiencies.
Majid is not the only muslim character playing the victim card in the series. There are Aalam and Malam, the innocent, who were tricked into illegally transporting radioactive material and who later die a painful death because they were exposed to the radiations. So sad!! Then there were the poor Hijbul guys, who later were shown helping the Indian authorities crack the case. And of course the screen time showing Saad getting lynched has to be way more than the screen time when Saad hits “Rakesh” on his forehead with a cricket stump a few days before Rakesh’s friend took a revenge. Since, Rakesh’s blood would not have created the same emotions, so the director wound up the scene in less than a minute.
Adding Bhonsle’s political style completes Sacred Games guide to Hinduphobia.
The show tries very hard to create unrest in the society to get publicity. Not only did it promotes Hinduphobia, but it also made fun of true events of the past. “Rajiv Gandhi threw Shah Bano in front of the Mullas”. Threw?? a lump of flesh thrown to wild hounds? It would have hurt both the sympathizers of Shah Bano and Mullahs. Calling Rajiv Gandhi “fattoo” or a wimp was extremely inappropriate. Not because he was a prime minister, but because his family and especially his grandchildren are alive. How would you feel when your classmate loughs at you for being a grandchild of a wimp? You grow with a sense of hatred. Making a joke of sterilization, not cool.
After watching Sacred Games season 2, the season 1 started looking even better. Season 1 at least had some story. One of the reasons for poor season 2 may be director Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan and Trapped fame, you should see Trapped, its awesome) leaving the show. Leaving it to Anurag Kashyap to do what he does best; create controversies, add pervert factor in the movies apart from the crass language. You can look at his other works, he shows women as characterless, be it Durga in Gangs of Wassyepur or Gaitonde’s cheating mother or Purshotum’s cheating wife in Sacred Games. The only addition in Sacred Games is the Homosexuality, be it Kukko with Gaithonde or Gaitonde with Guru ji. I guess it is true that an artist’s work reflect his thought process.
Since, we live in a democratic society, we cannot do much about people who try to exploit public sentiments, conflict points, problem areas and weaknesses for their monetary benefits. But we could at least highlight that’s morally incorrect and does not have to do anything with art or creativity. Make it as a fiction and show whatever you want to, but mixing facts and fiction creates chaos!!!
Thanks for Reading!!!