I’m going to disappear when Sacred Games 2 is out, says Anurag Kashyap
“I never thought it would be the huge hit it was. The response overwhelmed me,” says Anurag Kashyap, of Sacred Games Season 1. Returning to direct S2, Kashyap is dealing with the flip side of success — the weight of expectation.
His co-director this time is Neeraj Ghaywan, who takes the torch from Vikramaditya Motwane. Kashyap once again will direct the Gaitonde (Nawazuddin) section of the show, and Ghaywan will direct the Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) section.
There’s pressure from fans across the globe, Kashyap says, laughing. “But that’s good; we need more shows like this.”
One of the big plusses for the filmmaker has been the lack of censorship control. Sacred Games S1 used nudity and expletives to great effect, in ways that would have been impossible before the OTT web platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar began streaming in India.
“But the truth is, there has been an audience for serious content for a very long time. There’s a whole lot of people there who don’t watch cinema precisely for this reason, because they feel that when they watch films and TV, they are treated like children. Sacred Games, allowed us to tell the story like it wanted to be told, deserved to be told. I think that’s part of why people loved it,” Kashyap says.
There was also the slick production values, big actors, big budget. This time, in addition to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan and Pankaj Tripathi, there’s Kalki Koechlin and Ranvir Shorey.
“Showrunner Motwane and writer Varun Grover mainly deal with the enormous pressure that a successful Season 1 brings. My approach towards any shoot is the same. I deal with everything as if I’m making a film and it matters to me,” Kashyap says.
Kashyap and Koechlin, who were married and remain friends, have worked together before, most notably in Dev.D (2009) and That Girl in Yellow Boots (2010).
“I have also worked with Ranvir [No Smoking, 2007]. However, it was fun to push Pankaj and Nawaz in the direction they’ve taken in Season 2, which was difficult for them… but to know more about that, you’ll have to watch the show!”
What’s it been like for a largely autonomous filmmaker to work on S1, not entirely sure there will be S2, and then structure both so as to allow for a possible S3 as well?
That is the nature of the OTT platform, Kashyap says. Shows worldwide continue their story based on how successful they are. That’s how Stranger Things has evolved; and even S2 of Fleabag. Here, however, this is also Vikram Chandra’s acclaimed source novel to consider.
“I wasn’t involved in the writing of Season 1 or 2. There are people like Vikram and Varun who invested almost three years in that, so I’d like to leave it to them,” Kashyap says. “I look at the material and interpret it in the best way possible.”
We need more shows like this, he adds, where filmmakers can experiment, ‘go beyond’. “Internationally shows like When They See Us, Chernobyl and Dark have fascinated me. And they’re a reminder that there are endless possibilities to explore. The range of what can be done now is huge.”
But he doesn’t want to be around when Season 2 comes out on August 15. “I generally disappear. Some reactions to S1 I couldn’t escape. I was overwhelmed. To avoid the constant curiosity of my mind to know how people are reacting to what we made, I go to a place where there is no access to the internet. On August 14 I’m going to do the same, just disappear.”