Sacred Games Directors Talk Hitchcock & Hollywood Influences For Chase Scene

Sacred Games Season 2 still isn’t out but some critics and news outlets have already been sent links to review the first three episodes. In an interview with directors Anurag Kashyap and Neeraj Ghaywan, we learn of some of the Hollywood influences the directors used for certain shots in the series. The influences are more an attempt to match up to international standards rather than straight up lifting shots and sequences.

One of the first three episodes is witness to a thrilling chase sequence involving Saif Ali Khan’s character Sartaj Singh. Apparently, Sartaj runs non-stop over the stairs of a building as the camera pans on him from the outside, following him right to the terrace. Neeraj Ghaywan was responsible for the shot, having directed Saif’s portions, and talked about it, explaining how it came about to be, without giving too much away.

The thing is … I thought this is an international show, we should do something unique. And we’ve also grown to be fans of how he’s done sequences of chase (referring to Anurag Kashyap). And I thought let’s try something new and let’s figure out a new way to do things. Because every gimmick, every technique has been done with in chase sequences and I thought, doing this two-dimensional sort of ground and terrace and the stairway was what we thought.

Elaborating further on shooting the said shot, Ghaywan explained how they went about planning the shoot, choosing the location and setting it up in a way using camera angles and the geography of the location that they could seamlessly switch between the actors and the body doubles.

It took a lot of time to plan it because we planned it for many days. And there was one night where we only shot this sequence. This is a single take sequence so we shot overnight and we did five takes. And the beauty of it is that the way I designed it is, it’s actually quite painful for the actors to run through the entire thing, so we had body doubles designed. The way I had picked the location also was that we could switch the body doubles [when we needed to].

Despite the availability of body doubles, Saif Ali Khan insisted on running through the stairs on his own. This fact was not lost upon the directors and the interviewer who noticed Saif’s panting when he reaches the terrace as being genuine, thanks to the heavy running around.

The stairway was picked in such a way that we could switch the double in the middle. But Saif said I’ll do it myself. He did all five takes himself. Trust me, I couldn’t go up three floors and I was like, I’ve got to take a break, even just by walking. And he ran through all those floors.

Yet another shot the directors talked about, this time under Gaitonde’s storyline, was depicting him under the influence of drugs using a certain psychedelic aesthetic. Kashyap, already known for the masterful Dev. D that featured many of these kind of shots, explained how they stumbled upon the idea of doing this effect.

We were trying to find an effect. We were trying to do something else, a classical Hitchcock shot. And then Sylvester, my cameraman, said ‘I have one more idea, can we do this?’ And then we figured it out. It took us like an hour to set it up. But credit must go to Sylvester.

It’s great being the directors being so candid about the construction of varying shots at a time when the season isn’t even out yet. It’ll certainly be interesting to hear more through interviews and stuff about certain other shots that may be similarly interesting, but cannot obviously be talked about to avoid revealing any spoilers. Be sure to watch the complete interview in the embedded link below, it’s a long but insightful listen.

Sacred Games 2 will be out on Netflix on August 15. The season will conclude the novel’s storyline, though the showrunners have hinted that Seasons 3 and beyond may still be possible. Look out for our reviews of the show, right here on Appocalypse.