'The story (of Sacred Games) ends at the end of this season; I don't know if they will extend it. It's a fairly solid conclusion (but) there is always scope for more.'
The cleverest thing he has done in his career, Saif Ali Khan believes, is make his foray into the digital world.
The actor steps into the second season of Sacred Games as the cop Sartaj Singh, and follows his chase for the truth behind gangster Ganesh Gaitonde's (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) warning to save the city.
"Here (in the digital medium), there is a difference in pace, tone and even with acting, like they try to bring it down a bit. You have to trust the camera that the emotion will be captured correctly if you feel it within," Saif tells PTI in an interview.
"The approach is different, sometimes a Gaiety (single-screen theatre) crowd, although it is changing, might feel that you are not doing anything but you are. They (films and web) are different platforms. I am platform agnostic now. It is the cleverest thing I have been part of," he adds.
The 48-year-old actor claims the season two is more twisted than the first, and the team is confident about it.
"It is so cleverly done," he says. "It goes back to the past and future and everything ties up. Season one is quite basic compared to season two. Season two is where we change gears. In season one, you know about them, but in season two you are up to it."
Sartaj appeared as an under-confident cop in season one and Saif said though there aren't many changes internally, there are some in terms of his look.
He defines his character as a "wonderfully human but imperfect and flawed".
"I played this character longer than any other character. I think he is the same guy. He is not going to sort out any issue, in fact, it might just get worse. There is no time for wallowing and pity. He is still a very imperfect, flawed character and has got addicted to alcohol, drugs and pills. He is very under-confident in many ways. He is a wonderful human but a big mess," he adds.
In the first season, the actor had to alter his physicality: put on weight to get a burly, tough physique. This time, he gets in shape for a leaner look.
"There is a lot of drama and action happening. He has a lost a lot of blood, he is not eating much. He is running around a lot and he is not happy," Saif explains.
"In the book, he is a lean and well-dressed Sardar. But in the show, when we introduced him, he is unhappy and unfit. Then as we progress, at a certain point he looks like what Sartaj Singh is like in the book."
Will it be easy for him to leave the character behind?
"These characters are not like you are becoming somebody else. It is not that you are tapping into certain energy," he replies. "But it will be sad to say goodbye one day as you have been getting up and tying this turban for many days. It is like 16 hours of filming. It will be sad."
A bungalow in the interiors of suburban Mumbai served as an ashram for season two of Sacred Games, where Saif was interacting in between shots.
Without revealing the scene that he shot with Kalki Koechlin, Saif says, "We are shooting the interior portion of the ashram; the exterior part is done in Delhi. The sacred part of Sacred Games wasn't there so much in season one, it comes in now.
"I have always thought it is the best thing to make a show that you could export. Because it is very Indian, it has got mafia and cops, who are unique and their equations are unique. Then, there is politics and Bollywood. It also has religion, a godman, drugs, etc."
Season one had garnered a lot of praise but it did invite some controversy.
Congress member Rajeev Kumar Sinha lodged an FIR against Netflix, the showrunners, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, for allegedly insulting former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in one of the scenes.
The Bazaar actor said this time, the team has been "cautious" in their approach.
"I think we are being cautious...Even though my track doesn't have much sex and bad language. Sadly. It does have a bit (referring to politics) but we were quite careful.
"But (if) there is an issue during election time, Netflix or Amazon might get banned. I hope it never gets banned because a lot of directors and art makers, whose cinematic releases are not that popular, can find a space," he said.
"We don't want to get banned. We are not really interested in controversy. Our content is good. We would like more people to come and watch rather than create some kind of sensation."
Like season one, there are two directors on board this time as well.
Masaan fame Neeraj Ghaywan will direct Saif. Earlier, Vikramaditya Motwane had directed his portions.
"Neeraj is more little easier going than Vikram. Vikram is more serious and concerned about the fact that he is doing something international. He shows the seriousness of that while Neeraj is more relaxed. That is the only difference. "Both of them have brought out the best in me, in different ways," he says.
As the show gears up for an August 15 premiere, Saif said he is not sure if the series will return with a third season.
"The story ends at the end of this season; I don't know if they will extend it. It's a fairly solid conclusion (but) there is always scope for more," he says.