Breathe: Into The Shadows

Actors: Abhishek Bachchan, Nithya Menen, Amit Sadh, Ivana Kaur

Director: Mayank Sharma

Rating: ***

Having contracted Covid-19 just a few days before the release of his new web-series, Abhishek Bachchan’s debut in ‘Breathe: Into The Shadows’ was inevitably sidelined. With media frenzy and focus on his contagious condition, alongside that of his famous family, Bachchan’s first leading role in the Amazon Prime drama received a somewhat subdued response.

In this sequel to the first hit series Breathe (2018), which starred R Madhavan, Bachchan plays Delhi psychiatrist Avinash Sabharwal, living a comfortable life with his wife Abha (Nithya Menen) and six-year-old daughter, Siya (Ivana Kaur). Their peace is shattered when Siya is unexpectedly abducted and held captive alongside another female victim.

Contrary to expectation, Siya’s release is not dependent on a ransom being paid. Money is not the motive for the kidnapper. Murder is. Siya’s release is subject to Avinash killing a list of people focusing on the acts of the 10 sins that represent Ravan. Enter into the picture police inspector Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh). Having transferred to Delhi to rectify his own wrong (from the first series), Abhi gets tangled in the investigation that Kabir now leads. His attempts to maneuver the police to lead him to the kidnapper add intrigue to the plot.

What starts off a straightforward crime drama soon transforms into something more dark and twisted. The kidnapper’s psychological state and connections between the victims give ‘Breathe: Into The Shadows’ more complexity. It’s an intriguing watch, let down only by the lackluster performance by a miscast Bachchan. An actor of more skill and gravitas, such as Nawazuddin Siddiqui or Raj Kumar Rao, would have better portrayed the lead protagonist – a man with a deep knowledge of the human psyche who will go to extreme lengths to protect his family.

Ultimately it is Sadh and Menen’s performances, plus a relatively tight script, that keep you gripped. Kudos also to young Kaur whose innocence shines on screen, alongside the brilliant Hrishikesh Joshi, back as Sawant’s right hand man, Prakash Kamble. Following his partner to Delhi, Kamble is even more of a joy to watch than before. Tackling the issues of mental health on the level of an individual and Indian society at large, ‘Breathe: Into The Shadows’ leaves you feeling entertained and questioning human nature.

Jaspreet P. Bajaj

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