Each episode of Sacred Games is named after characters or events from the Hindu Mythology or little bit from the great Mahabharata. Read the following article to know the meaning of each of the Sacred Games’ episode titles…
Episode 1, Aswatthama
Aswatthama, a character from Mahabharata who fought against the Pandavas, was extremely powerful. Because of this, he was cursed with immortality for 3000 years. In the first episode, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays gangster Ganesh Gaitonde, commits suicide at the end. But as he holds a lot of power, his story continues even after his death. Gaitonde establishes his immortality when he says, “I told you, I am Ashwatthama. I am not going anywhere until this game is over.”
Episode 2, Halahala
Halahala literally translates to ‘black mass’ or ‘time puzzle’. It is also the name of a poison created from the sea when Devas and Asuras churned it in order to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortality. This poison was consumed by Shiva to prevent everyone else from dying because just the fumes from the poison was enough to kill the Gods. In the second episode, Saif Ali Khan’s Sartaj heeds Gaitonde’s warning, starts an investigation, and unravels an international espionage. This espionage is the same as the poison as it can wreak complete havoc.
Episode 3, Aatapi Vatapi
Atapi and Vatapi, as explained in the episode by Pankaj Tripathi, were two demon brothers in Hindu mythology. According to legend, they would invite saints to dinner after which the elder demon, Atapi, would turn the younger one into food and serve him to the priests. After the saints left and traveled some distance, Atapi would call out the younger one who would tear open the stomachs of the saints and return to his brother. Inviting people and showing them hospitality only to ruin them completely is a running theme in Aatapi Vatapi. It draws a parallel to religions that also welcome people before feeding on their souls.
Episode 4, Brahmahatya
Brahmahatya means ‘killing of a Brahmin.’ Gaitonde, who has very strong Brahmin roots, commits crimes which are against his religion, like consuming non-veg and agreeing to poach Muslims votes for conniving politician Bhosale. In this episode, he kills his Brahmin self, and hence the episode is called Brahmahatya.
Episode 5, Sarama
In Hindu mythology, Sarama is a being referred to as the female dog of the Gods. This episode shows how everyone, in the end, is like a dog on a leash. Sartaj is shown lying about a case which he knew was unjust, but, in the end, bows down to his boss’ pressure in order to keep his job. Every major character, in one way or the other, is shows as a powerless entity being treated like a dog by someone with more authority.
Episode 6, Pretakalpa
Pretakalpa is part of the Garuda Purana, one of the 18 Mahapuraṇa texts in Hinduism. It talks about the cycle of life, death and beyond, and is read when the last rites of a deceased Hindu are performed. Katekar dies in this episode, and Sartaj ends up killing Katekar’s murderer. Katekar is then cremated, and Sartaj kills his old self turning into somebody new.
Episode 7, Rudra
Rudra is a Rigvedic deity associated with wind or storm. One translation of the name is ‘the roarer’. The episode is a representation of this terror. Gaitonde’s wife Shubhadra (Rajshri Deshpande) is killed in this episode. The episode the shows Gaitonde going on a rampage killing Muslims. This episode shows the descend of Gaitonde into something that whips up terror inside anyone who knows him.
Episode 8, Yayati
Yayati was cursed with premature old age and had asked his son, Puru, to swap their ages. Yayati also conquered the whole world and was the Chakravartin Samrat. The last episode has Guru Ji finally convincing Gaitonde to join his cause, which Gaitonde later achieves.
Sacred Games has employed a lot of mythological foreshadowing and narratives that run parallel in the entire show, and the episode titles are direct explanations of what is about to happen in that particular episode.