Sacred Games is Netflix’s first Indian original series. Using parallel timelines, this crime thriller television show, based on a novel, follows the lives of officer Sartaj Singh and crime boss Ganesh Gaitonde.

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Concepts: Inflation, deflation, CPI, real price, exchange rate, purchasing power parity, Balassa-Samuelson effect.

Background: In Sacred Games, we follow Gaitonde’s path to organized crimes through the mid-1980s. We witness his life at the end of Indira Gandhi’s state of emergency that lasted from 1975 to 1977. In 1977, Ganesh worked at an upscale restaurant, where a meal cost 12 rupees.

Question 1: To better understand Ganesh’s socio-economic background, let’s review these two years of emergency using data. First, define the terms ‘inflation’ and ‘deflation,’ then find the inflation rates in India from 1974 to 1977. Did the economic situation improve during the state of emergency? To answer the question, you may use the values from the World Bank’s website[1].

Question 2 (Let’s Use Data): First, find the 1977 and this year’s values of the Indian consumer price index (CPI) to calculate the real price of the restaurant meal in 1977 (12 rupees). Second, use the current exchange rate to find the price equivalent in U.S. dollars. Compare this price with your favorite restaurant meal.

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Concepts: Rent control, price ceiling, shortage

Background: Sacred Games was shot in Mumbai, and several scenes show different views of the city. For several decades after 1947, existing rents were frozen. In 1999, the Maharashtra Rent Control Act was passed, allowing landlords to increase rent by 4% per year. Rent remained extremely low compared to market value. Sacred games exposes some of Mumbai’s slums.

Question 1: Is rent control an example of a price ceiling or price floor? Explain the concepts. What are the unintended consequences of rent control that you may have noticed in Sacred Games? Are these similar to the ones predicted by economic theory?

Question 2: Use the supply and demand analysis to explain how rent control led to a shortage of dwelling units, which in turn resulted in the growing number of slums. Research population growth in Mumbai and discuss its impact on the shortage issue[1].