If I keep watching such mentally disturbing shows, I will someday either lose my mind or to save my sanity, completely give up on reviewing web shows.
Breathe: Into the Shadows is a disaster. It’s a poorly written and sluggishly directed show. The first episode was not just interesting but also gripping. It almost gives an ‘edge-of-the-seat thriller’ feel but unfortunately, right from the second episode the grip loosened and with every passing episode, the fresh layer of the paint started falling off and all we could see was cracks in the wall. If you know what I mean. For a web show or a film to be excellent, you cannot just package it well. No matter how well you paint the walls but if the wall is broken inside, it will eventually fall off.
As the show progresses, you feel like the writers forgot the story midway and then had to complete the story anyhow to meet the deadline. They hence simply completed the story with absolutely no logic and no attention to detail.
If you have read my previous reviews, you know I don’t like to reveal the story but this one is an exception. I might have to tell more than I would like to. Reason? If I don’t speak about the story, I won’t be able to tell you what’s wrong with Breathe: Into the Shadows.
So the basic story goes like this:
Avinash Sabharwal (Abhishek Bachchan), due to a traumatic childhood, has developed a split personality disorder. Ever since childhood, he has lived two lives – one of Avinash (the good guy) and the other of J (the bad guy). J, as the show wants us to believe, plays the role of Avinash’s ‘PROTECTOR.’
The problem starts here:
J, who plays the role of protector, has kidnapped Avinash’s daughter along with Gayatri and has locked them in a room in a sealed property where there is less to no human activity. J contacts Avinash after 9 months and asks him to murder Pritpal Singh if he wants his daughter to be safe. The key here and in all the murders that are assigned to Avinash later is, he has to first evoke the said emotions in the victim. For example, anger for Pritpal Singh, lust for Natasha Garewal (the second victim), and fear for Angad Pandit (the third victim).
Now, my point is, when Avinash was asked to kill the victims by evoking different emotions, why was he murdering them himself? And if the main purpose was always murder, why was he asked to bring out extreme emotions in them? While Avinash did all that was told to him, there was no one to watch whether the victims were actually experiencing the said emotions to the extreme.
The weirdest thing was Avinash has a 6-year old daughter which means he has been married for at least 7 years. His was a love-marriage which means the couple knows each other for more than 7 years. Let’s assume they have been together for 8 years, but let’s not speak for that extra one year as we have no right calculation of it. In 7 years of togetherness, Abha Sabharwal, Avinash’s wife never noticed his disorder? Giving makers the benefit of doubt. Let’s say when the couple met and also, in the earlier years of marriage, Avinash was absolutely fine. He didn’t allow J to take over. Still, when the symptoms started returning, not even a single person noticed that something is off about this man? Come on, I mean, it’s a mental disorder, that too, multiple personality disorder. How can anyone be in control of a mental disorder as grave as a split personality disorder?
Not to forget, Avinash is a psychiatrist. How can a boy who has a serious mental disorder since childhood become a psychiatrist? Did he never come across a psychiatrist in his entire career who noticed his disorder? How can a guy with a serious ‘mental disorder’ not just be a psychiatrist but has been working closely with the CBI all these years to understand the psychology of criminals? While profiling criminals, especially the ones with troubled past, his split never popped his ugly head into Dr Avinash’s life?
The pieces just don’t fit in, no matter how hard you try.
If J is since childhood protecting Avinash, why would he kidnap Avinash’s daughter, Siya? If he is mentally sick, how did he consciously take care of Siya’s diabetes? In an almost 10-hour long show, all of your questions remain unanswered.
Another mistake which I think should not go unnoticed especially when the show speaks about mind and mind games when you lock someone in a small room with not even a single window for more than 9 months, it will certainly start affecting a person’s mental health and sanity. An adult might take better care of his/her mental state even when locked for such a long time, but the same cannot be said for a child.
A 6-year-old kid who is also diabetic cannot stay away from the parents, locked in a room with no human interaction for over 9 months and still look happy. The child looked perfectly fine all the time. When a mentally sick person kidnaps you, he is in no control of his own mind, how can he keep other people healthy and safe?
Abhishek Bachchan’s split personalities were also shown doing a day-night shift. While Avinash did a day shift, doing all his chores normally, J would take over at night. What does he do at night? Sometimes, he remained normal and murdered people as per J’s instructions while at other times, he would become J, providing essentials to Gayatri and Siya; go out with Shirley, basically, do whatever pleased him.
Also, the kidnapper whenever sent Siya’s footage to Avinash and Abha, it was well-edited. Seriously? The kidnapper took the CCTV footage and edited it for the child’s parents? And yes, how can I forget? Twice he sent across a “tablet” for the couple to watch the footage. WOW!
There are many such loopholes in the show. The scattered pieces of the puzzle never come together to complete the picture.
As I watched the show, it constantly reminded me of two other films – Aparichit and Room. Aparichit was also based on split personality disorder where the protagonist takes references from Garuda Purana; in Breathe: Into the Shadows, J’s killings narrates the story of Ravan. Please, don’t ask me how. Watch at your own risk. If you find any connection, please explain it to me as well.
Speaking of the performances, only 3 people’s performances are worth mentioning: Amit Sadh, Hrishikesh Joshi, and Shrikanth Verma. I wonder why the makers sideline Amit Sadh in this season. It won’t be wrong to say that he had absolutely nothing to do in Breathe: Into the Shadows. But whenever he came on the screen, my heart went out to him. He is still not getting the roles of his calibre, the roles he deserves. Though he has a full-fledged role in Barot House, the show was a complete disaster. Maybe our industry has nothing to offer talented actors. They have also wasted Saiyami Kher in the show. The girl deserves to be seen in roles longer than what she bagged in Special Ops and Breathe Season 2. Speaking of Amit Sadh, the industry should stop giving him all these serious, troubled guy roles now. Filmmakers’ perception of him is very restricted. I hope we all get to see him do more ‘happy’ roles.
Coming to Abhishek Bachchan, Breathe: Into the Shadows changed my perception of him. Though this web series would only give haters another chance to say that he can’t act, I believe otherwise. He is not getting the right projects or should I say, the right Director. He was fantastic in Yuva which only means that the guy can act. Having said that, in the show, no performances than that of the ones mentioned above were up to the mark.
I truly believe that if the writers would have twisted the story a little and restricted it to mind games or the functioning of the human mind like making the victims kill themselves by evoking extreme emotions in them, then it would have been a great watch. The show should have played with the viewers’ minds. It should have intrigued yet intimated the audience at the same time. The show should have evoked all the emotions the victims were going through in the audience, only then it would have struck a chord.
To cut the long story short, Breathe: Into the Shadows isn’t worth your time.
Where to Watch? Amazon Prime Video