“Netflix, Gangsters and Trans-nationalism: An Analysis of Sacred Games Season 1 (2018-2019)” by Soumik Hazra

Journal Title: Wide Screen
Vol. 9, No.1, July 2022
ISSN: 1757-3920
URL: http://widescreenjournal.org

Abstract: This article will take into consideration the first season of the web series, Sacred Games (2018-19) created and distributed by the subscription-based global streaming platform Netflix with a significantly wide scale, big budget, and narrative ambitions as opposed to the other Indian web shows of that period viz. Permanent Roommates (2014-2016), Pitchers (2015-), etc. The show can be characterized by a certain amalgamation between ‘quality’/global (film noir, gangster) and ‘popular’/local (soap opera, Bollywood masala films) genres. As the cinematic and televisual memories of a particular nation can never be abandoned, it produces an interesting mish-mash of genres as well as the subversion of generic conventions in the global order. This article will focus on this mixing and subversion of genres in Indian contents made by global streaming platforms and posit it in binary with Netflix’s formulation of the genre through algorithmic projections, also focusing on how the lack of censorship (circa 2018) operates in the medium and creates a new mode of expression. This analysis will also take into contention the transnational aspects of the streaming platforms and how their contents replicate and diverge from traditional modes of expression in Indian media. Through this analysis, the article will also attempt to enquire into the fact that whether this mixture produces new forms of genre particular to the form of web series or whether the genre gets relegated into a stylistic accessory in the Indian context. Therefore, in this regard, this chapter will also inquire into how the American logics of cinematization and quality television gets attributed in the web series format and whether or not this attribution produces a legitimation of the web series format into a high cultural artifact.