Breathe: Into The Shadows (Season 2)
It is still a Wednesday but first of the many OTT releases has arrived on an OTT Platform. And with that I finished watching the second season of Breathe Into The Shadows On Amazon Prime. Breathe was one of the earlier shows of Amazon Prime before blooming into a full fledged franchise. I remember watching the first installment featuring Madhavan and was absolutely blown by it(minus a few flaws). And when Abhishek Bachchan made his OTT debut with a reboot of the franchise, I was really excited on how he would go about with his performance.
So while the first season of Breathe Into The Shadows started on a slow note, it eventually picked up pace and ended up being a cracker of a show with a towering performance by AB jr. In my review I had mentioned how I wished the start was trimmed down(that season had 12 episodes) which would have had a better impact overall. So with its season 2 becoming an eventuality since the story hadn’t concluded, I really hoped that some of the flaws of the first season would be taken care of here. Now that I have finished watching the second season of Breathe Into The Shadows, here are my two cents on the same.
Story & Screenplay
The second season of Breathe Into The Shadows picks up from the same point where season 1 had ended. And so you have Avinash at the psychiatric ward before he escapes to hunt down 6 of his other victims. Will he succeed? The story here is exciting with a lot more urgency than the first season. And that is understandable because there is little to no world building required in a universe that stays intact in the second season. The writers too seemed to have learnt from their flaws from the first season. So the screenplay this time around stands at just 8 episodes of 30 to 40 odd minutes each which does make for a brisk watch through and through. The drama here is much more quicker as compared to its first season. And it has to do with the number of killings too. While the first season did have about 4 out of 10 killings completed, the second season has the remaining 6 killings attempted in 8 episodes. So do the math, about 1 killing for every 1.5 episodes(roughly). What that does is, it always keeps the viewers on its toes, consistently having their attention throughout.
The screenplay here is pretty unique and less attempted too. It was similar to the Malayalam film Pappan(in terms of its structure and narrative style) wherein an event unfolds before the events leading up to that event unfolding after that. So the editing and screenplay needed to go hand in hand for this constant to and FRO kind of non-linear drama that required your undivided focus. There are smaller details integrated in the narrative that may get missed out on if you aren’t attentive. And this was effectively done as well with elements of mythology nicely integrated in it!
The drama is engaging and engrossing for most parts. The introduction of another character in this universe definitely raise the stakes a notch higher this time around. But importantly, once the killings begin to unfold, you begin to enjoy them in a weird manner. The cat and mouse chase between the two protagonists is a lot of fun to witness. A smaller drawback is that the events do get repetitive after the halfway mark where the drama slightly loses a little steam. But to the writers’ credit, the drama is consistently watchable with a few twists and turns which are fascinating to watch.
Another limitation in the screenplay is its predictable and one-dimensional characterization. You often know how the characters are going to react to a situation barring a couple of them and that makes the drama that much more predictable. If you remember in season 1, the character of Abhishek Bachchan switches at the halfway mark thereby adding a shock value to his character. But no such luck here!
The events leading up to the final act are decent and the climax too seemed a little underwhelming. But the outro had multiple twists to it that elevated the drama right at the end. Also I was impressed at how major events were tied up together not only in the final act but through and through in its other subplots as well. So overall, the screenplay here can be termed as one of the most exciting screenplays of the year although a tad repetitive!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cerebral with a lot of detailing in it that makes for an impactful viewing. The BGM is splendid and absolutely pulsating. The arrangements here are fabulous(use of multiple instruments) that elevate the drama at so many places. The cinematography is breathtaking and captures some beautiful frames in a brilliant manner. The editing is crisp too and one of the unsung heroes of the series. Director Mayank Sharma does a spectacular job yet again with his narrative style which was different yet engaging and impactful. If as a viewer, I had my attention throughout then the director does deserve distinction marks.
The performances are excellent here. It was great to watch Ravi Behl after so many years onscreen. And he did a good job as Neel. Resham Srivardhan as Gayatri, Rohit Khurana as Ramneesh, Sharad Joshi as Alan and Mahika Sharma as Zenia all have their moments to shine. Zakir Hussain as Abhinandan Kaul and Seema Biswas as Dr. Indu are first rate. Himika Bose as Rahila and Chakori Dwivedi have their moments to shine too and both of them are really good here.
Mantra Mugdh as Neeraj is outstanding despite a limited screen time. Hrishikesh Joshi as Prakash and Shrikant Verma as Jaiprakash feed off one another really well although their roles were a touch underwritten as compared to the first season. Naveen Kasturia as Victor delivers a stunning performance wherein he could so easily have gone overboard. His chilling presence was intimidating and he got the pulse of his character in a pitch perfect manner! Saiyami Kher as Shirley looks pretty and does a good job here. Sameer Kevin Roy as Dr. Siddharth is pretty good too.
Nithya Menen as Abha has a complex character here to begin with and we all know what a great actor she is! Absolutely brilliant and well restrained right throughout! Amit Sadh as Kabir is outstanding in a powerful performance as the no-nonsense cop. But it is Abhishek Bachchan that does prove his mettle once again(not that he needs to any more, we do know what a brilliant actor he already is). As Avinash and particularly his alter ego J, he is soft, firm and intimidating all at the same time. His glances and sheer presence would send an instant shiver down your spine. The man is well on his path to greatness and I really wish to watch him often onscreen in such meaty roles!
Despite a few limitations, The second season of Breathe Into The Shadows is one of the most exciting seasons of the year! Available on Amazon Prime.