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Breathe: Into The Shadows review – Abhishek Bachchan shines in this psychological thriller

Release Date: 10 Jul 2020 / 46min


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Keyur Seta

The second season of the web-series is more believable and could well have turned out a classic but for a fatal flaw in the plot.

The storyline of Breathe (2018) does not continue in its second season, Breathe: Into The Shadows. But there is a commonality in the theme — how far would you go to protect your family?

Breathe saw Denzel Mascarenhas (R Madhavan) kill a series of organ donors so that his son Josh (Atharva Vishwakarma) could get a lung transplant to save his life.

Directed by Mayank Sharma, Breathe: Into The Shadows is about the Sabharwals. Avinash (Abhishek Bachchan), a psychiatrist, stays in Delhi with his wife Abha (Nithya Menen), who works as a chef, and six-year-old daughter Siya (Ivana Kaur). Their happy life comes to a screeching halt when Siya goes missing while attending a birthday party.

Avinash and Abha look for her with the help of the police but to no avail. Days stretch into months, but there is no trace of Siya. Neither do they find her body nor do they receive any ransom call.

But after a prolonged period, the couple learns that Siya had been kidnapped after all. The kidnapper does not want money. He wants Avinash and Abha to commit a murder in order to get Siya back.

Meanwhile, inspector Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh) is transferred to the crime branch of the Delhi police. Sub-inspector Prakash Kamble (Hrishikesh Joshi), too, gets himself transferred there in order to be with his close friend. Incidentally, these two are the only characters to carry on from the first season.

Amidst this, a barbaric killing of an old man rocks Delhi. The two police officers are handed the case of murder. After a while, they include Avinash in their team to learn about the psyche of the killer.

Despite the similarity, there are also some differences between the two seasons of the series. The biggest difference is that the motivation and actions of the protagonist in the second season are more convincing. In Breathe, it was near impossible to digest a completely law-abiding normal citizen carrying out one murder after another. Here the situation is more believable as the couple embarks on the mission against its will.

Plus, creative liberty was used too much in the first season as far as the murders were concerned. In Breathe: Into The Shadows, there is a little more logic applied in this aspect as well.

After the kidnapper states his demands, one gets the feeling that the second season will take the same route as its predecessor. But that is where the narrative surprises the viewer. A major twist takes place that most would never see coming. The moment turns the story on its head.

But this also has a negative fallout. Revealing the suspense before the halfway stage of the series isn't a good idea because there are no other major revelations later. Perhaps the gambit would have worked if there were just eight episodes in the series. But there are a dozen.

Stretching the tale wasn’t required here. For example, the subplot about Kamble and his old college friend (Vibhawari Deshpande) in Delhi has no relevance. There are a few other incidents that are gratuitous.

Madhavan’s character in the first season was somewhat uni-dimensional. Avinash also seems to be going on the same track initially, but we learn later that there is much more to him. Abhishek Bachchan performs the well-scripted role impressively. There was never a dearth of talent in him and he proves it with aplomb here, not once but repeatedly.

Nithya Menen provides decent support. She and Bachchan appear like a real couple. Sadh and Joshi continue their positive work from the first season. Like season 1 of Breathe, this season also reminds us of Sadh’s commitment as an actor. Child artiste Ivana is cute and is also a good performer. Plabita Borthakur and Shruti Bapna play their supporting parts exceedingly well.

A major psychological disorder is as good as another character in Breathe: Into The Shadows. So it was of the utmost importance to get it right. But writers Bhavani Iyer, Vikram Tuli and Arshad Syed falter at the basic level of this mental illness. It is impossible to ignore this flaw since it lies at the heart of the plot. Indeed, it is what holds Breathe: Into The Shadows back. Sadly, what could have been a top-notch web-series is reduced to an above-average one-time watch.

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