Sacred Games Episode Titles – Here’s What They Mean

Sacred Games is Netflix’s first Indian original series made by Phantom Films. Starring Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte, this series was helmed by two of the pioneers of present Indian cinema, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap. The very talented Varun Grover, along with his team adapted the near thousand page 2006 novel from Vikram Chandra, which was an instant best-seller. Sacred Games Episode Titles

A lot of effort has been put in the writers’ room not only for the scriptwriting but also conceptualizing the episode titles based on several mythical characters and stories. Each episode has a characterizing symbol attached to it as well that are contemporary takes on several stories from ancient Hindu scripts with a modern take on them. The episode emblems and the main logo (the mandala) were designed by Mumbai-based motion design studio Plexus in collaboration with designer Aniruddh Mehta.

Here’s the emblem for each of the show’s episodes and the meaning behind them.

Episode 1: Ashwathama

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 1: Ashwathama

Ashwathama is a character from the Mahabharata, an ancient Sanskrit epic which is a basis for Hindu mythology. Ashwatthama means “the horse-voiced”. It is so called because when he was born he cried like a horse.  Sacred Games Episode Titles

Ashwathama was a mighty warrior who fought on the Kaurava side against the Pandavas in the great Kurukshetra War. Thought to be an avatar of Lord Shiva himself, Ashwathama was born with a gem in his forehead which gave him the ability to command all living beings lower than humans. Ashvatthama is considered as an avatar of one of the eleven Rudras and one of the seven Chiranjivi. Along with his maternal uncle Kripa, Ashvatthama is believed to be a living survivor of the Kurukshetra War. Among several supernatural powers, he was also known to be immortal. The tragedy of his life is that he would live on to see everyone he loved and cherished die.

According to Mahabharata, Ashwathama used a weapon known as the Brahmashira Astra. The weapon was thought of as the penultimate destroyer, as it fires a powerful tirade of millions of deadly missiles simultaneously.

Episode 2: Halahala

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 2: Halahala

Halahala is the name of a poison (as per Hindu mythology) created from the sea when Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) churned it in order to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortality. The Devas and Asuras churned the Ocean of Milk jointly to obtain the nectar which is known in Hindu mythology as the Samudra Manthana. Fourteen different gems were recovered during this exercise. Before Amrita could be recovered, Halahala (the most vicious and venomous poison in the universe) was produced. Then the Gods approached Lord Shiva for protection. Shiva consumed the Halahala in a Shank (a large seashell) in an act to protect the universe. His wife Parvati, alarmed, stopped it in his throat with her hands, thus earning him the name Viṣakaṇṭha (the one who held poison in his throat). He was later saved by Tara, a form of the goddess Parvati. The poison made his throat turn blue; hence, he is also known as Nīlakaṇṭha(the one with a blue throat).

Episode 3: Atapi Vatapi

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 3: Atapi Vatapi

Atapi (also known as Ilvala) and Vatapi are two demons from Hindu mythology. Vatapi knew the art of transformation and had the power to change into any life form. Atapi knew the ‘Mritasanjivani’ mantra to bring back the dead to life. They used these powers to loot and kill people. Atapi would invite a brahman to a feast and Vatapi would turn himself into a Mango. There he would serve the Mango in which Vatapi had turned into. Atapi would offer the fruit to the sages and later invoke his brother, Vatapi. After the Brahmin had partaken of the feast he would call his brother out by shouting “Vatape athragacha” who would rend his way back to life, tearing the belly of the guest.

Episode 4: Brahmahatya

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 4: Brahmahatya

Brahmahatya is the act of killing a Brahmin. According to the puranas, Bhairav, who was created from Lord Shiva’s third eye, had cut off Lord Brahma’s fifth head, on instructions from his creator. Since then, Bhairav had been roaming around all the three worlds, carrying the fifth head of Lord Brahma and seeking alms, to atone for his sin. When he approached Lord Shiva to help him get rid of this sin forever, Lord Shiva created an ogress called Brahmahatya and told Bhairav to reach Kashi before she did. Bhairav successfully did so and the second he entered Kashi, Brahma’s skull fell off his hands and Bhairav was absolved of his sins.

There’s another myth which says that Lord Indra had to cut off the three heads of Vishwarupa, a Brahmin, the guilt of which stayed with him for hundreds of years. To get rid of it, he made a deal with three female forms to take a part of his guilt, Earth, trees and woman. This is why Earth suffers excavation, trees suffer deforestation and women suffer from menstruation.

Episode 5: Sarama

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 5: Sarama

In Hindu mythology, Sarama is a mythological being referred to as the female dog of the gods, or Deva-shuni. She first appears in one of Hinduism’s earliest texts, the Rig Veda, in which she helps the god-king Indra to recover divine cows stolen by the Panis, a class of demons. This legend is alluded to in many later texts, and Sarama is often associated with Indra. The epic Mahabharata, and some Puranas, also make brief reference to Sarama.

Episode 6: Pretakalpya

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 6: Pretakalpa

The Garuda Purana is one of eighteen Mahapurana genre of texts in Hinduism. It is a part of Vaishnavism literature corpus. Pretakalpya is the latter half of the Garuda Purana which takes up with directions for the performance of obsequial rites. It is known to describe the fate of the soul after death, Karma, re-birth, omens of death and the fate of Pretas (ghosts).

Episode 7: Rudra

Sacred Games Episode Emblems: Episode 7: Rudra

Rudra is a Rigvedic deity, associated with wind or storm and the hunt. One translation of the name is “the roarer”. The earliest mentions of Rudra occur in the Rigveda, where three entire hymns are devoted to him. There are about seventy-five references to Rudra in the Rigveda overall. In the Rigveda, Rudra has been praised as the “mightiest of the mighty”. Rudra is the personification of ‘terror’. Depending upon the poetic situation, Rudra can be meant as “the most severe roarer/howler” (could be a hurricane or tempest) or “the most frightening one”. The Hindu god Shiva shares several features with the Rudra: the theonym Shiva originated as an epithet of Rudra.

Episode 8: Yayati

Sacred Games Episode Titles: Episode 8: Yayati

In Hindu mythology, Yayati was a Puranic king and the son of King Nahusha and his wife Ashokasundari, daughter of Sri Mahadeva and Devi Parvati Mata. He was one of the ancestors of Pandavas. He marries Devayani and takes Sharmishtha, daughter of King Vrishparva and maid of Devayani as his mistress on her request. Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya, the priest of the Asuras (the demons). After hearing of his relationship with Sharmishtha, Devayani complains to her father Shukracharya, who in turn curses Yayati to old age in the prime of life, but later allows him to exchange it with his son, Puru.

Here’s the team behind this brilliant project.

Created by: Plexus
Series Directors: Vikramaditya Motwane / Anurag Kashyap
Title Sequence Director: Vijesh Rajan
Concept: Varun Grover
Graphic Design: Aniruddh Mehta
Creative Direction: Yashoda Parthasarthy

Sacred Games Episode Titles  Sacred Games Episode Titles  Sacred Games Episode Titles

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An aspiring programmer by passion, Tuhin is a serial procrastinator and is occupied with three M’s – Movies, Music and Manchester United. He is obsessed with the use of colour in films, something he pours out more often than not on his Facebook page.

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