Breathe: Into The Shadows Review (Episodes 1-4): Not entirely breathtaking but quite gripping
Breathe: Into The Shadows (Episodes 1-4) is an exploration of broken individuals and how far they'll go for revenge and redemption. It isn't entirely breathless or breathtaking but surely gripping!
Breathe: Into The Shadows (Episodes 1-4)
On: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Mayank Sharma
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Nithya Menen, Amit Sadh
More often than not, films and shows on OTT platforms have asked us this question - How far will you go to save someone you love? The first Breathe did that, and more recently, Aarya. And now comes Breathe - Into The Shadows. It's a fitting title for a show whose antagonist is defined by a frightening voice and a mask for surreptitious identity.
The first season was about a helpless father and his endless attempts to save his ailing son. The second season also places the central characters into an unwanted and unexpected tragedy. Abhishek Bachchan and Nithya Menen, who play a married couple Avinash and Abha, discover their daughter Siya has gone missing. There's no call for ransom for months.
Their first reaction over this news is panic. The first time they break down over her disappearance is after three months. They don't even know if she has been kidnapped or not since there's no call for ransom. Avinash cries as he thinks it's too late for her to be alive, Abha cries as she knows she's still not dead. We finally see Avinash's explosion when he says to the police how he's not allowed to speak about this at home but what if their daughter is actually dead.
Watch the trailer right here:
But for anyone who has seen the promos, she has indeed been kidnapped and the ransom is a lot more than one can imagine. Creator and director Mayank Sharma and screenplay writers Bhavani Iyer and Vikram Tuli, along with Sharma, throw in a reference of The Ramayana. Bachchan has experienced the fictional world of the epic a decade back in Mani Ratnam's Raavan. But if Raavan was about the human side of the evil, Breathe explores the evil side of the human.
And the other side of the story is about Kabir Sawant, an emotionally broken cop whose life seems to be more about controversies and catastrophes than cases. We experienced his broken marriage in the first season and he's weighed down by guilt this time for nearly demolishing someone's life, albeit unintentionally. He's introduced in an action set-piece that showcases his heavily bulked-up torso, but deep down, this soul seems to be delicate. He doesn't even speak a word for the first few scenes.
But Breathe, just like its title, isn't all shadowy and sad. Sharma cannot escape from the necessities of writing the character of a side cop whose presence is for adding humour. Hrishikesh Joshi returns as Inspector Prakash Kamble, but given his timing and the lines, his humour strikes. The show also portrays how two individuals belonging to different cities and cultures communicate. Kamble is from Mumbai who's transferred to Delhi. His colleague, who's called Jaiprakash, struggles to understand his language and lingo. This is a classic case of chaotic and confusing conversations between a Mumbaikar and a Delhiite.
There are some mild moments of untimed humour too. Saiyami Kher plays Shirley, an escort. There's a scene where she can be seen talking to a man and says that the hotel will be of her choice and she won't allow him to kiss her on her lips. The camera cuts and we see Bachchan. It's a shocking moment, we sense a moment of infidelity, we sense he's taking this step to get over the trauma of his daughter's disappearance. A few seconds later, we come to know she's in the wrong car. You cannot help but crack a smile!
There's another moment where Avinash has been asked to eliminate someone to get closer to his daughter. The weapon he has been asked to use is... Lust. The problem is, the target is turned on by women. Abha says - 'May I?' It's supposed to be a tense moment but again, you smile. Breathe - Into The Shadows may not be entirely bewitching in its first four episodes but is surely gripping. Good thing that this was made into a web series and not a feature film.
Suspense thrillers in the form of films become all about the climactic twist, the OTT platform allows you to go beyond and lace the narrative with multiple cliffhangers. Just like Paatal Lok, every episode of Breathe ends on a thread that will connect the dots in the next one. There's a scene in the first episode where Siya says she doesn't like being called a princess. You know why? Because she thinks princesses are weak, they always need to be rescued.
The same analogy applies to shows and films, they are just like these princesses (weak) and need to be rescued (by engaging writing and storytelling) all the time. Today's children seem to be a step ahead of their parents, it seems!
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