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Saif Ali Khan Reacts to the Controversy Over ‘Sacred Games’

We have to understand if people are trying to gain political mileage, says Saif Ali Khan.

Updated
India
2 min read
Saif Ali Khan on the sets of <i>Sacred Games.</i>
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We spoke to Saif Ali Khan about his role in the first Indian Netflix original Sacred Games, which is getting rave reviews across. Saif, who is currently in London, talked about the controversy that has erupted around the web series, after members of the Congress party complained about the show having insulted former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Here’s an excerpt from Saif’s interview to The Quint:

Q: The digital platform can be liberating and promising because it’s free from censorship. On one hand many viewers are raving about Sacred Games for weaving politics into its plot and then there has been this outrage against it with complaints being filed. Is it frustrating?

Saif Ali Khan: It will be deeply frustrating if something happens to the show. If someone says you can’t air this or if Netflix is discontinued. Then that will be my turn to be outraged. There’s no genuine cause for outrage. We wouldn’t genuinely want to upset anyone. It’s not the style of Netflix. Anurag and Vikram have not been ridiculous in their violence, their approach to sex or their subject matter. We have not taken advantage of the fact that there’s no censorship.

We have to understand if people are trying to gain political mileage...watching like hawks whether any moment can be exploited...there are good judges and lawyers in place who can handle all this. Let’s set the precedent and let’s get on with it. Kashyap has given some reply to this, which seems to make sense to me. I’m sure the legal team will handle this properly.

To stay within the guidelines of not offending anyone would mean that we would make really dull stuff, you know. It’s really limiting, it’s frightening. Tomorrow, if we talk about making the Mahabharata, I’m wondering how you’d show Krishna...to depict someone with a god-like status, this is the best platform for it. We have to censor ourselves.

Our intention was never to sensationalise anything. We didn’t need to because of the great quality of the writing. It’s just the sign of the times. The world is ostensibly a global village. There are different attitudes around every corner. I’m in London, sitting here talking to you, it’s a very free society...people are demonstrating against Trump coming here. The Mayor has told them to behave themselves but they are allowed to express their opinion.

I don’t know how much you can criticise your government in India, somebody might kill you. In parts of the Middle East, if you say something against Islam, like Salman Rushdie, you have fatwas issued. And the western world says, so terrible there’s no freedom of speech but there isn’t of course, there isn’t in places.

If you date someone from the wrong caste, somebody will kill you in some parts of India. That’s just the way it is. We are at the edge but we try and make interesting things. It’s frustrating when somebody tries to pull it down. Let’s hope justice and some better sense prevails here.

Read the full interview with Saif Ali Khan here.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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