Overwhelming psycho-thriller marked by brilliant performances

Overwhelming psycho-thriller marked by brilliant performances
There is a huge influence of Hindu mythology on modern-day content with many stories being adopted to churn out successful web series and films. Now, this success formula has made its entry onto the OTT platforms with the likes of Asur and Aarya. Now, Amazon Prime Video’s Breathe: Into The Shadows is the newest edition to these mythology-inspired stories. It features various vices of Raavan as the background of its narrative.

Story

The happy lives of a leading psychiatrist, Dr. Avinash Sabharwal (Abhishek Bachchan), his wife Abha Sabharwal (Nithya Menen), and his six-year-old daughter Siya (Ivana Kaur), get disintegrated suddenly as Siya goes missing soon after the abduction of a medical student, Gayatri Mishra (Resham Shrivardhan).

Avinash and Abha who are on the verge of losing all hope of seeing their daughter alive receive a message from the kidnapper saying that Siya is alive. He demands the completion of a task to facilitate the safe release of both Siya and Gayatri.

Avinash and Abha, without the police’s knowledge, start to play the dangerous game as dictated by the kidnapper until inspector Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh) is made in charge of the investigation which also involves a series of murders. Avinash is roped in to probe the psychological angle behind these killings as well.

Kabir has a very difficult task on his hands, as he has to deal with a criminal suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), who gets into the avatar of Raavan to take revenge against the people who betrayed him due to their Anger, Lust, and Fear. As Kabir goes on joining all the scattered bits and pieces in this jigsaw puzzle, the bizarre truth gets revealed behind ‘J’, the Raavan in disguise.

Performances

Bachchan has got an opportunity in the form of Breathe: Into The Shadows to showcase his acting potential. He shines in the series and gets into the skin of the character. His expressions, screen presence, and overall performance are stellar.

Nithya Menen excels in another crucial character and she never disappoints with the kind of versatility she possesses. Bachchan and Menen have taken the series convincingly to new heights with their over the top performances.

In another pivotal role, Amit Sadh has come out with one of his finest performances. The anger and temperament which are there in the first season continue here but in a more focused manner and some of the expressions displayed by him with minimum dialogues convey everything and this is his strong point throughout the series.

Hrishikesh Joshi as Prakash Kamble shines in another noteworthy character with all other actors like Shrivardhan, Plabita Borthakur as Meghna, Saiyami Kher as Shirley, Srikant Verma as Jayaprakash and Shruti Bapna as Natasha Grewal, making a strong impression on the narrative with their striking performances.

Positives

Mayank Sharma’s sensible handling of the story is the hallmark of Breathe S02. The way he goes into every minute detail by showing each and every connection lucidly while presenting the story is quite remarkable. As a result, the logic behind the MPD never gets lost or gets overboard and he has crafted every scene immaculately to build the momentum of the narrative gradually without losing grip on the story, which is an important feature of Breathe: Into The Shadows.

The way the issue of child psychology is dealt with is another indication of research that has gone into this series and writers Bhavani Iyer, Arshad Syed, Vikram Tuli along with Mayank Sharma need to be appreciated for their hard work.

The music by Karan Kulkarni is another big plus for this show with crisp camerawork by S.Bharathwaj.

Negatives

The split personality theme is not new as it was already depicted in films like Anniyan (Aparichit) by Shankar and M.Night Shyamalan’s Split. Even the Raavan philosophy is not a novel one and this was already featured in a Telugu film Jai Lava Kusa. Hence the narrative doesn’t give a fresh feeling. There are a lot of thriller cliches along with a sense of predictability to the plot.

The runtime and the number of episodes sometimes work against Breathe S02. With 12 episodes running at almost an hour, Breathe: Into The Shadows becomes a slogfest in the middle. The editing and overall structure could have been sharper to avoid moments where it feels almost boring.

Worth it?

Some parts of this web series may detract a little due to the lag, but the momentum picks up slowly with its biggest asset being the stellar star cast. Certainly, Breathe: Into The Shadows is not going to disappoint, provided it will require some amount of patience.

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