By Joginder Tuteja
One can be the biggest mastermind of them all when it comes to committing a crime, however there are those little clues that would entrap you eventually. It could be a pen, a lip balm or perhaps, just a footprint; eventually there would be something small out there that would lead to something big.
However, how do you entrap a criminal who commits a crime, forgets all about it and then walks into the room in plain sight?
Well, this is what makes Breathe: Into the Shadows super exciting as there is a character within a character, layer within a layer, and story within a story at play here. What you see may actually seem true, but how do you tackle a situation when there is something explosive, something truly dramatic waiting to be unveiled?
It is this very unveiling that comes to the mid-point of this Mayank Sharma directed web series that is rather lengthy with duration of over 9 hours across 12 episodes. In the world of OTT, this is actually quite well spread out, especially when it is one long story being told instead of an episodic narrative where you can switch from one episode to another at leisure.
No wonder, it indeed must be a task for the writers of the show [Bhavani Iyer, Arshad Sayed, Mayank Sharma, Vikram Tuli] to come up with a cohesive script and screenplay that would hold audience attention right through the series. However, they do it with aplomb, and that too when Breathe: Into the Shadows is clearly one of the most complicated shows to have come out in the Indian OTT space. The need of the hour was to position this complex storyline in a simplistic way possible while taking into consideration audience attention and they succeed.
This is the reason why you look at the screen wide eyed when the core twist in the tale arrives just before the middle point of this series. Had this been a film, it would have resulted in ‘seetis and taalis’ all around but since this is being watched in the comfort of the home, you look at it all wide eyed, while being totally shocked, stunned and hungry to know more.
After all, how does a reputed psychiatrist [Abhishek Bachchan] go about on a killing spree while trying to be one step ahead of the top crime cop [Amit Sadh]? Agreed that he is doing that to bring his daughter (Ivana Kaur) back from the clutches of a mysterious kidnapper. Still, how does he attune himself to it?
Director Mayank Sharma makes sure that after collaborating with Vikram Malhotra’s Abundantia Entertainment on the first season of Breathe, he ups the game manifold in the second season. So while he does his homework well to spin together a psychological tale that keeps you guessing right through the last show of the series, his actors elevate the show further.
Abhishek Bachchan, in his meatiest screen part ever since one can remember, is excellent in the part that he plays. The varied emotions that he brings on screen are the highlight of Breathe: Into the Shadows as there are a lot of complications involved. He comes up with a performance of a lifetime. One can’t keep a good man down for long and he proves it with a terrific act in a very complex role. He stuns in an act that would be remembered for long.
As for Amit Sadh, the common factor between both the seasons, he is a revelation. As a brooding no-nonsense cop who speaks less, thinks more and delivers awesomely, he is reliable all over again. Watch him in his all important parts where he is investigating the crime and finds himself face to face with the suspect at various junctures; he brings in an altogether different body language, dialogue delivery and mannerisms on screen. Yet again, you realize that the man definitely needs to be utilized a lot more by the industry folks.
What also makes Breathe: Into the Shadows special is the fact that this is one of the rare web series where women actually have a lot to deliver and actually make a worthy contribution.
Nithya Menen is present from start to finish and has a major contribution to make and Saiyami Kher shows yet again that there is so much she has to offer. Her character starts taking shape towards the later part of the series and rest assured the next season (which is definitely on the anvil, considering the cliffhanger act) would see a lot more of her right from the start.
From technical aspects as well, the series is right up there. While it has a rich look right through, even the grim portions don’t make you cringe on seats. The background score [Karan Kulkarni] is at par with any international series and the cinematography [S. Bharathwaaj] is consistent too, though the scenes with dim or zero light could have been handled better. Sumeet Kotian’s editing is sharp and you are hooked even during the 9 hour duration. He is particularly impressive in presenting the major twist in the tale. Production design is at par with a biggie feature film.
Breathe: Into the Shadows is brilliant all the way. High quality, classy, exciting, stunning, suspenseful & thrilling. This is India’s own Mindhunters. The show closes on a cliffhanger and there is a definite set up in place to bring in the next season too. Ideally, would have loved to see that right away but guess it would be a wait for at least a year.
It’s all going to start all over again at C16!