"Jung Ka Waqt Aa Gaya Hai." (It is time for war)
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Surveen Chawla, Kalki Koechlin, Amruta Subhash, Elnaaz Norouzi, Ranvir Shorey
In season 2, we are introduced to the omniscient Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). This time, however, he doesn't seem like a man who used to strike fear in the hearts of masses. He is lost, somewhere in the middle of the sea. He's a small fish in the pond, with much much bigger powers pulling the strings behind him and orchestrating his actions.
If season 1 was about Gaitonde's rise to the top, this season can be attributed to him slowly making way for the emergence of Sartaj's. And it does, rightfully so; as Saif Ali Khan plays Sartaj with tremendous pathos. Sartaj's character doesn't skyrocket to perfection, he is still a mortal prone to errors. But it is here he comes into his element, with more dogged defiance that makes him a force to be reckoned with.
In the past, Gaitonde is homesick and hell-bent on revenge. Once quintessentially uncompromising, he is now seen jumping hoops. He is working to reclaim his forgotten glory, but deep down is disenchanted with life. This leads him to Guruji, his 'teesra baap', who brings about an explosive change in his life.
In present, we pick up from the cliff hanger of the last season. We also find a much more intensive investigation into the discovery of Gaitonde's chamber. The stakes are higher now, and the manhunt begins to save Mumbai. We come across Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), a piece to an infinite puzzle which brings out more corrupt politicians, dirty policemen, and wise-men who mislead into the play.
We finally get to the 'sacred' part of the 'Sacred Games' with the addition of Guruji, played by a supremely talented Pankaj Tripathi. He's cold, calculating and nudges his followers to bring about an apocalypse. He believes the world is sick, and dying slowly, and believes the only correction is to blow the entire planet and go back to the beginning. He laments over our failures over the preservation of the environment and questions if we as civilization shall be ever be redeemed. The characters heavily tussle with their past as their secrets come out, some of them still atoning for the sins of their father.
This season takes a lot of time to find its footing. The way another season was setup feels frustratingly manipulative. The real strength is in performances, the actors give themselves into the hands of writing and direction. A bigger accomplishment is perhaps the fulfilled story arcs and female characters involving in multi-faceted beings as they come into their own; right before the forces of fatalism dawn upon them. While not exactly 'bingeable' , season 2 is worth for its insightful take on our responsibilities towards the world we reside, and its biting cynicism should not go unnoticed.