This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by The Guy In Mumbai. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Troubling But True: The Sexual Dynamics In ‘Sacred Games’

More from The Guy In Mumbai

Ah, “Sacred Games”. The intelligentsia will not stop talking about it. Many of our Old Monk-chugging friends will say that this is the way a TV series should be made. Others might even start a ‘Causes’ page to make Anurag Kashyap, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vikramaditya Motwane the triumvirate of Indian noir filmmaking. It is that good – and like “Inside Edge”, it will change the way the Indian film industry sees the online streaming scene. There will be reviews, and you are free to read them – but this is not a review of “Sacred Games”. Instead, it is a discussion on the language of sexual intercourse and the various undercurrents that the directors bring with it.

Indian cinema audiences, on the whole, are still voyeuristic virgins. Many of them have seen only two types of intercourse on screen – the fun, passionate, superbly edited ones in what passes as a family film, and the gut-wrenching, shying-away-from-the-real-deal sexual assault sequences in a U/A film. Directors can cry themselves hoarse that ‘that’ scene was needed in ‘that’ film, but how does a coitus scene change the fact that the girl’s pregnant the next day?

Till about 3 am this morning, I maintained that sexual intercourse scenes are unnecessary in Bollywood films. Today, after watching “Sacred Games”, I can say that with the right director, the right script, the right characters and actors, sexual sequences can really take the story ahead and unravel facets within minutes. Because, hot damn, the sexual sequences in “Sacred Games”.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Ganesh Gaitonde, a gangster who becomes uber-famous and deadly. Of course, Nawaz plays the role with an enthusiasm that’s rarely seen in the actors of today, and Saif Ali Khan essentially ‘unstars’ himself for this series. It is nice to see a celeb humbling himself to become an actor for a role that can change his life forever. Both characters are superbly written and portrayed on screen. While emotions are strewn all about, it’s interesting to see how the scriptwriters have used sexuality to create the characters.

The sexual sequences in “Sacred Games” will be embarrassing to the well-heeled crowd, those boys who are yet to evolve from a Pop Tates to an Olive Garden mentality, and to finally the ‘your place or mine’ phase. In “Sacred Games”, there’s no sexual intercourse – there’s only passionate sex bordering on assault.

Ganesh Gaitonde doesn’t ask ‘your place or mine’. Everyone he has intercourse with is welcome on his creaky, king-sized, non-branded bed. The way he enacts the scene is embarrassing to an entire generation of people who are paying through their nose to get that six-pack, buy good underwear, do that and do this to look a certain way during sex. Here, Ganesh Gaitonde doesn’t even begin to strip – he literally holds the hem of his lungi between his teeth while doing the deed.

It’s not just Gaitonde, most of the characters have a ladder that preps them up in the form of a sexual relationship or a connotation. There’s this woman who marries a gangster and evolves from a docile, submissive wife to a feisty lover and finally, to a would-have-been confidante. She changes from a stuttering, stammering woman to a woman who is confident and ready to give it back –  just because her gangster husband is suffering from temporary impotency.

It’s fascinating how this story is woven, and then there are the connotations. The series is littered with cuss words, but the one that hits the most is spat out by one of the gangsters to define Radhika Apte’s character (she plays a RAW agent). Seriously, the only foreign object that goes inside her all through the series is 9 mm lead. But then, that’s the mental violence that the series maker wanted to show the audience – it isn’t about whether she is what they called her or not, what matters is what one thinks of her.

Whatever “Sacred Games” has succeeded in, it has also succeeded in opening a whole new valve that will now normalise sexual intercourse – and that’s always a good thing.

You must be to comment.

More from The Guy In Mumbai

Similar Posts

By Sushil Kuwar

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By Enactus SRCC

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below