Sacred Games is the first original Indian show on the online streaming platform Netflix, and it's also the most popular out of all the shows since. It's no surprise that the show was renewed for a second season. And if there is one reason as to why the show is so popular, it is thanks to the Sacred Games characters themselves.

Sacred Games characters are what give the show not just its popularity, but its uniqueness compared to other shows. The premise of the show is pretty interesting, a gang leader and a troubled police officer in a game of cat and mouse while racing against time. But it's not all that original, to be honest. Could it be the excellent dialogue and writing that generated tons of meme-worthy moments? Yes, but bad writing can give us lots of memes as well.

The only dimension that makes Sacred Games really stand out is the way the story arcs and plots are heavily driven by the characters themselves. Whether it is Jojo, Bunty, or Isa, the character-driven narratives are what keep our eyeballs glued to the screen.

Sacred Games Characters 2
The stories told by the characters are the most memorable

The second season, for example, couldn't quite live up to the high-tempo excitement of the first. But thanks to the way the characters tell their stories and their personalities, viewers can still maintain interest until the end of the somewhat-stale second season. Our review on GuruGamer goes into further details of what makes or breaks the second season.

>>>See also: Sacred Games Season 2 Review: Full Of Suspense, Action And Quality, Just Not As Mind-Blowing As First Season

Which is why we'll be taking a look at 5 of Sacred Games characters that made the most impact in the show's storyline. It's a bit of a shame we can't look at Sacred Games all characters and their contributions, though, since so many of them had critical roles to fill:

Sacred Games characters (1/5)

1. Ganesh Gaitonde

Nawazzudin Siddiqui has a natural feel for playing gangsters and criminals, as evidenced by his role as Faizal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur. His performance as Ganesh Gaitonde in Sacred Games is just as iconic and adept. We see the whole package of a villain across a whole Netflix series format, from when he committed matricide up to his final regrets of letting his father take the blame.

Sacred Games Characters Gaitonde
Gaitonde is a complex figure as an antagonist

Gaitonde's characterization differs from the typical macho, powerful anti-hero/villain in Bollywood. You can see how he wraps bravado and hubristic self-praise around his vulnerabilities, especially when you get to witness how Gaitonde treats his romantic relationships, his masters and underlings, and his own self. Beneath a villain boasting about invincibility is a cowered man who cannot accept his weaknesses.

While Gaitonde's post-mortem existence in the second season doesn't quite live up to his alive self, his presence contrasts well as a foil to Sartaj as the latter continues to unravel the show's mystery. Siddiqui's portrayal of Gaitonde truly nails the sympathetic/tragic villain type.

Sacred Games characters (2/5)

2. Sartaj Singh

Sartaj Singh, played by Said Ali Khan, is the co-protagonist of the Sacred Games characters, the hardboiled police officer who takes us to the Indian criminal underworld of the show. Saif portrayed the part of a man beaten down and humbled by life to the letter: He is a drunkard in a complicated relationship, an unsuccessful cop in a profession mired by corruption, and a man struggling to come to terms with his father and his own guilt.

Sacred Games Characters Sartaj
Sartaj Khan is a properly made disturbed police officer

But Sartaj would soon redeem himself by taking on the responsibility of uncovering something rotten in the state of India. His tango with Gaitonde allows Sartaj to unbound himself, to begin to know what to do and what not to do. His rivalry ends up making him into someone a bit better, a bit wiser.

As the lens through which we see many of India's realities, Sartaj is also a messenger who reveals a lot of what goes wrong with our society today. There's a scene in which a minority teenager is beaten to death by a mob and a wounded Sartaj could only witness the horror of what transpires. The society Sartaj witnesses runs parallel to the horror that occurs in our own society, where communal mindsets and violence are all too real. As Sartaj himself becomes stronger with each of these events, we must similarly learn to improve our own capacity for justice, so that we no longer have to see works of fiction reflecting societal ills.

Sacred Games characters (3/5)

3. Guruji

Guruji by Pankaj Tripathi is the third father of Ganesh Gaitonde, and the mastermind behind much of the show's criminal ordeals. The character feels like it took a lot of inspiration from 'Wild Wild Country' character Osho. Even the character played by Kalki Koechlin looks to be based on Ma Anand Sheela, the crazed personal assistant to Osho.

Sacred Games Characters Guruji
The guru becomes more mystical and weird instead of threatening and mysterious

Without a proper presence, the character Guruji is one of the most thrilling, mysterious elements of the show's first season. He appears only via a phone conversation with Gaitonde while in prison. His arrival as a godman in the second season kills a lot of that mystery thanks to the notorious sermons. While Tripathi played the role of the character well, and the relationship between him and Gaitonde is intriguing, the cult leader presence doesn't quite deliver the sense of dread and foreboding as in the first season.

Sacred Games characters (4/5)

4. Katekar

Constable Katekar played by Jitendra Joshi is someone who balances out the gritty and edgy moments of the show with genuine loyalty, naivety, and dedication. His partnership with Sartaj fully illustrates what it means to have a friend in need who is a friend indeed. Even the lone fox Sartaj prefers to spend time with Katekar, while Katekar becomes the friend who would even be there at 4 AM, much to Katekar's wife chagrin.

Sacred Games Characters Katekar
Katekar provides comic relief and genuine friendships in a dark world

Which is why Katekar's death in the first season and the guilt that Sartaj feels in the second have such a big impact on the show. But even in death, Katekar continues to provide a sense of closure to his tragic death and his friend's guilt. In one of the flashbacks, Katekar talks to Sartaj about what it means to live life as it happens, and what will be will be. Indeed, as moments before his death, Katekar sees himself happily watching his favorite actress surrounded by his loving family, something that really makes the viewer think about what it means to live.

Sacred Games characters (5/5)

5. Kukoo

Thanks to Netflix and Kubra Sait's portrayal of Kukoo, we managed to have a character who is transgender without being meek and powerless. The character's charm and exuberance make the whole "Kukoo ka jadoo" genuine. As Gaitonde's relationship with her grows, even the reveal of her gender identity strikes a chord.

Sacred Games Characters Kukoo
The character Kukoo is a different and paradigm-shifting portrayal of those often stigmatized

The most outstanding moment of Kukoo comes just before her death when she painfully realizes she has to leave Gaitonde to make it on his own because their relationship is exactly what stands in his path to "greatness". The emotion expressed is mostly through Kubra Sait's eyes, which further cements Kukoo as one of Gaitonde's biggest holes in his heart.

Even though she only appeared for only three episodes, Kukoo takes us through the journey of standing tall and confident, before the weight of social discrimination and personal vulnerabilities kicked her down until she could no longer survive in that world. Hard to imagine a better romantic couple between a criminal and a transgender than this one.

And these were the 5 characters we believe are the most important to the show Sacred Games. In Sacred Games all characters have something to contribute, but it's the Sacred Games characters that stick in our minds the most that keep us thirsting for more of the show.

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