Sacred Games 2: Sartaj In The Book Vs. The Show

Vikram Chandra’s sprawling novel or Netflix India’s thrilling show? What makes Sartaj Singh’s character in the two different?

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Sacred Games 2: Sartaj In The Book Vs. The Show
Vikram Chandra’s 900+ page novel is an incredible feat. While on the surface, it is a cop and gangster story, the novel manages to be so much more than that. The Netflix India show which has captivated audiences all over the world is an extremely praise-worthy show that leaves no stone unturned to keep you captivated whether it is with the superb performances or the scintillating action.

The differences between the book and show are many, quite obviously so. It is after all, not easy to condense a 900 page novel to a few hours of screen time and the writers on the show have taken liberties with the plot to make it more cinematic. We explored the differences between Sartaj Singh in the book and in the show as we count down to the second season of the show.



The first and most striking difference is the physical differences between the two Sartajs. The book Sartaj is described to be lanky and thin while we see a very well-built, almost hero-like version of Sartaj in the show.

There are many nuances in the book which aren’t completely represented in the show. Especially the investigative sections. Sartaj in the book was a cop who was both a victim and perpetrator of a flawed system. He regularly got tipped off by gangsters, bent the workings of the law when it came to that. These insights were gained by Vikram Chandra during the seven years he took to write the book. He reportedly spent a bulk of that time speaking to actual cops and gangsters and understanding the workings of the city.

In the show, Sartaj Singh plays an ideal cop. He is fearless, incorruptible and also doubles up as a hitman when situations demand it. The book Sartaj was different in this regard. He took bribes, he didn’t miraculously ace encounters and he was flawed to the point of sometimes being almost repulsive. We didn’t cheer him on at every instance, we critiqued him in equal proportions too.


We also get to see a lot more of Sartaj’s back story in the book – the stories of his mother and father who lived to see heinous riots. In a lot of ways, it helps us understand Sartaj better.

Sartaj in the book also has a doting relationship with Parulkar, who he despises in the show. In fact, to justify their wrongdoings, Parulkar at one point in the book says, “We are good men who must be bad to keep the worst men in control. Without us, there would be nothing left, there would only be a jungle.”


Image Source:- youtube/ Netflix India, IMDb, instagram/sacredgames_tv
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