Sacred Games director Neeraj Ghaywan reacts to lynching scene criticism: ‘Difficult to put out something like that with your real name’

Neeraj Ghaywan, who directed the Sartaj Singh storyline on Sacred Games season 2 has responded to criticism around a lynching scene on the show.
Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj Singh in Sacred Games season 2.
Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj Singh in Sacred Games season 2.
Updated on Aug 26, 2019 07:02 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

(Mild spoilers ahead)

Sacred Games director Neeraj Ghaywan has responded to criticism to a scene featured in the recently released second season of the show. The new season of hit Netflix series featured a scene in which a young Muslim boy gets lynched by a mob. A Twitter user compared the scene with item numbers as it had ‘no connection’ with the story.

“Other directors put an item number in their movies which has no connection with the story, Anurag kashyap put a mob-lynching in his show which had no connection with the story #SacredGamesS2,” the Twitter user, popular comedy account Gabbbar Singh, had tweeted soon after the show was launched. The scene, however, featured in Sartaj Singh’s storyline--which was directed by Ghaywan this season. Anurag Kashyap directed only the Ganesh Gaitonde storyline.


Ghaywan responded to their tweet on Sunday. “You didn’t have the courage to put up even a solidarity tweet when a real lynching has happened. And now to hide your lack of narrative understanding, you equate someone’s courage to put it up on a global platform as ‘item number’? Amazing,” he wrote.


The Twitter user then brought to notice a tweet from 2017 in which he had said he condemns mob-lynching. Ghaywan said it was difficult to shoot such scenes and give them his name and that he felt hurt when the hard work is discredited. “I directed the lynching scene. Surely you can say it didn’t work for YOU or that you didn’t get it. You have no idea how difficult it is put out something like that with your real name. And when you discredit it by appropriating it to something frivolous as item number, it hurts,” he wrote.


The two appear to have reached an agreement. “I appreciate all the effort that goes behind, and I also understand the anguish if you think a criticism is unfair, it’s like someone abusing your baby. But to begin your point by accusing me of being a Lynch-supporter or not being ‘courageous’ also hurts,” wrote the Twitter user. “Good! Now you’ll know how it feels when someone with many followers writes a misinformed tweet about you,” Ghaywan replied.

Ghaywan added that he has no issues with criticism for his work but with the fact that the scene was compared to item numbers. “Before you twist my words again: I don’t have problems with criticism. Absolutely fine if it doesn’t work for you. Fine if you don’t know the directorial credits. What is not acceptable is that your are misinformed about our intent and appropriating it to ‘item numbers’,” he wrote.

Also read: Tom Holland on Spider-Man leaving Marvel: ‘All I know is that I’m going to continue playing Spider-Man’


As other Twitter users had already pointed it to ‘Gabbbar Singh’, the scene was pivotal in the story as it made Sartaj Singh (played by Saif Ali Khan) realise what evil people are capable of and that they are not worth saving after all. It was after this that he joins Guruji’s ashram and their cause.

The second season opened to rave reviews but mixed reactions from the audience. Many thought it was dull when compared to the first season while others thought it targeted specific communities.

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