Netflix’s original show Sacred Games which released on July 6 has successfully garnered quite the fan base in such a short span of time. Described as a crime thriller, the show revolves around a Sikh cop played by Saif Ali Khan and a gangster played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Now since it’s release, a LOT has been written about Sacred Games- about the plot, about the acting, about Bollywood coming of age and of course prayers for a season 2. Yes, we are guilty too, but how can we help- Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a gift that keeps on giving!
But rest assured, this article isn’t about any of that. This article is about the artist or rather a team of artists who designed the equally amazing logos and title animation for Netflix’s Sacred Games. This is about the story behind the details in the designs and all that doesn't meet the eye at the first glimpse.
Mumbai-based motion lab Plexus and Graphic designer Aniruddh Mehta drew inspiration from Hindu Mythology and the Mahabharata for the show logo and title designs for individual episodes.
Talking about the main logo design, Graphic Designer Aniruddh Mehta says, “We arrived with an interlocking 'S' and 'G' monogram, where the letters stood not only for Sacred Games but also for Sartaj and Gaitonde, the protagonist and antagonist of the show.”
Read all about their journey, clues and intricate details you might have missed here-
During our meeting with Sacred Games show-runner, Vikramaditya Motwane ran us through what he thought was a good title sequence and several concepts that were tied to the undertones of the show. Yashodha and Vijesh from Plexus had read the screenplays for each episode, written by Varun Grover, Smita Singh & Vasant Nath. They then ran me through those before we sat with the intent to actually begin designing. The screenplay itself had a wishlist concept for the title sequence.
Since the foundation for the titles were set as Varun Grover and his team had coined each episode name, our job was to then visually interpret those.
During our research, while working on the main logo for the show, we came across the double-infinity loop (image below). We thought it would be a great starting point and after a few attempts, we arrived with an interlocking 'S' and 'G' monogram, where the letters stood not only for Sacred Games but also for Sartaj and Gaitonde, the protagonist and antagonist of the show.
My friends Vijesh Rajan and Yashodha Parthasarthy from Plexus Motion who have collaborated with Phantom on some of their films in the past got in touch with me once they were briefed by the production house. I was brought in by them to design the show's logo, the main mandala, and individual episode titles. It was important to get the 'mandala' right as it was an integral part of the storyline which is revealed at the end of the first season (spoiler).
The brief was to design an 8-sided mandala incorporating subtle references of Hindu and Muslim design elements and tessellations. The mandala was to house 8 motifs - one representing each episode of the season.
So my job was to design the mandala and motifs for each episode which would then be worked upon by the Plexus team that would render it in 3D, add additional colour grades and incorporate that in the main intro title sequence which is intercut with archival footage of communal violence such as the Rath Yatra, Babri Masjid demolition, etc.
I think my favourite has to be Halahala, and my reason is solely that of the way the embellishments of the motif have turned out. It was one of the first ones that I had cracked and I think it set the tone for the rest of the episode titles to follow. We knew the bar was set, so this meant that we had to ensure that the rest looked equally harmonious.
(Episode 02- Halahala: Halahala is the deadly poison, which could potentially destroy all of creation, which was consumed by Lord Shiva in order for the Gods to obtain Amrut-the nectar of immortality).
I think I'd much rather leave that one unanswered :). I've always had new discoveries every time I rewatch a movie or a TV show that I love.
The main mandala, of course, had Islamic and Hindu patterns embedded in it, as it reflects the themes of the show. Each episode title, however, was taken as references from Hindu mythologies, and we designed motifs accordingly. Each design has a motif in the center that is embellished with concentric elements that loosely represent the word.
For example, Rudra is a personification of storm or terror. We have tried to interpret this thorough basic line-work and geometry. The idea was never to directly interpret it, but to keep subtle representations visible.
Geometry, balance, and form are a few basic principles I've always loved to explore in my work. I did not come from a Fine Art background, so everything I've learned about illustration has been software-based. This led me to work with a basic set of tools that were available to me, hence, my style or strengths developed accordingly. I did, however, study Graphic Design for 5 years, and the basic principles of design that you learn in school can be translated or applied to any style and you will have a strong end product.
Nothing has been discussed yet, but yes since the response has been positive I'm hoping that they do!
Sacred Games on Netflix is the platform’s first original series from India, which made its debut on July 6 to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. Based on the novel by Vikram Chandra, the show is directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap, starring Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Radhika Apte.
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