Saif Ali Khan is excited for the sophomore season of Netflix India Original "Sacred Games" and the actor says the cleverest thing he has done in his career is making foray into the digital world.
The actor will reprise his part of cop Sartaj Singh in season two of "Sacred Games", which follows his chase for the truth behind gangster Ganesh Gaitonde's (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) warning to save the city.
"Here (in digital medium) there is a difference in pace, tone and even with acting, like they try to bring it down a bit. You have to trust the camera that the emotion will be captured correctly if you feel it within. The approach is different, sometimes a Gaiety (single-screen theatre) crowd, although it is changing, might feel that you are not doing anything but you are. They (films and web) are both different platforms. I am platform agnostic now. It is the cleverest thing I have been part of," Saif told PTI in an interview.
The 48-year-old actor said season two is much twisted than the first one and the team is confident about it. "It (season two) is so cleverly done. It goes back to the past and future and everything ties up. Season one is quite basic compared to season two. Season two is where we change gears. In season one you know about them, but in season two you are up to it."
Sartaj appeared as an under-confident cop in season one and Saif said though there aren't many changes internally, there are some in terms of his look. He defines his character as "wonderfully human but imperfect and flawed". "I played this character longer than any other character. I think he is the same guy. He is not going to sort out any issue, in fact, it might just get worse. There is no time for wallowing and pity.
"He is still very imperfect, flawed character and has got addictive nature to alcohol, drugs and pills. He is very under-confident in many ways. He is wonderfully human but a big mess," he added.
Earlier the actor had to alter his physicality, put on weight to get a burly, tough physique but this time he had to get into shape for a leaner look.
Elaborating on the same, Saif said, "There is a lot of drama and action happening. He has a lost a lot of blood, he is not eating much, he is running around a lot and he is not happy. In the book, he is a very lean and well-dressed sardar. But in the show when we introduced him he is unhappy and unfit. Then as we progress at a certain point he looks like what Sartaj Singh is in the book, which is fitter and leaner."
Asked if it will be easy for him to leave the character behind, Saif said, "These characters are not like you are becoming somebody else. It is not that you are tapping into certain energy.
"But it will be sad to say goodbye one day as you have been getting up and tying this turban for many days. It is like 16 hours of filming. It will be sad." A bungalow in the interiors of suburban Mumbai served as an ashram for season two of "Sacred Games" where Saif was interacting in between shots and takes. Without revealing the scene that he shot with new addition to the cast, Kalki Koechlin, Saif said, "We are shooting the interior portion of the ashram the exterior part is done in Delhi. The sacred part of 'Sacred Games' wasn't there so much in season one, it comes in now.
"I have always thought it is the best thing to make a show that you could export. Because it is very Indian, it has got mafia and cops, who are unique and their equations are unique. Then there is politics and Bollywood, it also has got religion, godman, it has drugs, etc. The show is pretty interesting."
In 2018 when season one was released it garnered a lot of praise but it did invite some controversy. Indian National Congress party member Rajeev Kumar Sinha lodged a first information report against Netflix, the showrunners and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, for allegedly insulting former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in one of the scenes.
The "Bazaar" actor said this time the team has been "cautious" in their approach. "I think we are being cautious...Even though my track doesn't have much sex and bad language. Sadly. It (referring to political stuff) does have a bit but we were quite careful.
"... But (if) there is an issue during election time Netflix or Amazon might get banned. I hope it never gets banned because a lot of directors and art makers whose cinematic releases are not the most popular ones can find a space that is so clever and lovely," he said.
In reference to his show, Saif said the makers are being sensitive and careful.
"...We don't want to get banned. We don't want the show to not run. We are not really interested in controversy. Our content is good. We would like more people to come and watch rather than create some kind of sensation." Like season one, there are two directors on board this time as well.
"Masaan" fame Neeraj Ghaywan will direct Saif, while earlier it was Vikramaditya Motwane who directed his portions. The actor said both Ghaywan and Motwane are creatively different people but they brought the best out of him as an artist.
"Neeraj is little easier going than Vikram. Vikram is more serious and concerned about the fact that he is doing something international. He shows the seriousness of that while Neeraj is more relaxed. That is the only difference. "Both of them brought out the best in me in different ways. For directors like Vikram and Neeraj this is the ultimate space."
As the show gears up for an August 15 premiere, Saif said he is not sure if the series will return with a third season.
"This story ends at the end of this season. So I don't know if they will extend it. This is a fairly solid conclusion. (But) There is always scope for more."
The new season will see Pankaj Tripathi in a full-fledged role as the mysterious Guruji, while Kalki and Ranvir Shorey are the latest additions to the series.
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