Amidst speculation over the fate of the second season of Sacred Games, lead actor Saif Ali Khan has hinted at a change in the core team behind the Netflix show, which includes Anurag Kashyap and Varun Grover. Khan, whose performance as police inspector Sartaj Singh in the show has been widely praised, told PTI on Sunday, “There was a terrible scandal concerning Kevin Spacey and he had a show House of Cards, the show is going on but Spacey is not there. Let that be a clue.” House of Cards is also a Netflix production.
Netflix has refused to comment on Sacred Games beyond issuing the statement, “At this time we are evaluating options on the path forward.”
Netflix’s first Indian original series was created by Phantom Films, which hastily shut shop hours last week ahead of a Huffington Post story that claimed that founder-member Anurag Kashyap failed to act on a sexual assault complaint against co-founder Vikas Bahl. The allegation was made by a former Phantom employee. The woman in question alleged that she told Kashyap and fellow founder-members Madhu Mantena and Vikramaditya Motwane about the alleged assault. Despite assurances from Kashyap that he would act on the complaint, no action was taken against Bahl, the woman alleged.
Bahl has denied the allegation. Kashyap and Motwane acknowledged that they had been slow to respond to the complaint through public statements posted on their Twitter accounts. Bahl sent legal notices to Kashyap and Motwane alleging defamation after the statements went public. Bahl stated that he was being made the scapegoat for Phantom’s closure and that Kashyap had taken advantage of the alleged assault to settle scores with him.
Meanwhile, a separate claim of assault was levelled at Varun Grover, one of the three writers on the show. Grover has categorically denied the allegation, which was made by an unnamed woman.
Saif Ali Khan, whose latest film is the October 26 release Bazaar, said there had been several conversations about Sacred Games in the wake of the Phantom Films row. “Why should I bear the brunt and even why anyone of us who are not twisted or molesters?” Khan told PTI.
The first season of Sacred Games comprised eight episodes and was streamed on Netflix on July 6. The adaptation of Vikram Chandra’s 2006 novel of the same name follows the efforts of Mumbai police officer Sartaj Singh (Khan) to unravel a conspiracy that involves gangster Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The series was directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. Netflix announced a second season in September, to be directed by Kashyap and Neeraj Ghaywan. Motwane is to stay on as the showrunner.