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Series Review: Breathe
- Anish Mohanty           Let us know what you think about this article

Before Netflix could come up with its first original Indian show ('Sacred Games' directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and starring Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte is yet to stream on Netflix), Amazon Prime Video has already churned out two. While the first one 'Inside Edge' gave us a glimpse into the politics and deadly games involved in the increasingly commercialise world of cricket, the second show 'Breathe' is a crime thriller starring R Madhavan and Amit Sadh in lead roles. The show has been written and directed by Mayank Sharma and produced by Abundantia Entertainment.

Denzil Mascarenhas (R Madhavan) is a football coach who lives in Mumbai with his six year old son Josh (Atharva Vishwakarma) and mother (Neena Kulkarni). Josh is suffering from a disease which necessitates him going through a lung transplant. Josh's names features quite low on the list of the people who are entitled for an organ transplant. Denzil, a doting father, feels helpless as he sees his inching closer to death. Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh) is a police officer who has taken to alcohol to deal with the death of his daughter Shreya. Despite being a senior officer, he is not being able to focus completely on work and tries to lower the pain simmering in his heart owing to this personal loss. A series of incidents makes these two individuals cross paths with each other.

After watching all the ten episodes, one can confidently say that it is one of the better shows that any digital streaming platform, including go old YouTube, has churned out. The show has the sleekness one associates with American shows but also has a healthy (sometimes unhealthy) dose of filminess. By filminess, I am referring to the several creative liberties director Mayank Sharma, who has also written the show, takes. Perhaps, he was trying to bridge the gap between the traditional viewers in India who have been used to the content dished out by TV in the last several years and the ones who were glued to American shows because they did not have any other option. While trying to straddle between these two worlds Mayank has written a screenplay that is smart and clever but at times, urges you to drop your thinking cap and just take in the entertainment value provided by the proceedings without analysing the glitches with a magnifying glass. R Madhavan has played a variety of characters in his long career in the movies. As Denzil Mascarenhas, he had to appear humane but at the same time, he had to bring to the fore a father who could go to any length to secure the life of his child. He does a marvellous job at portraying the vulnerability of a father whose child is dying and the subtle ruthlessness and guilt of a criminal. Amit Sadh, with a dishevelled look and scars on his face, masterfully portrays the sharp but dealing-with-a-troubled-past cop. Though one would argue that Mayank hands him over ith some stereotype which makes the character similar to ones we have seen in a few films, the actor puts his heart into the character which makes it extremely relatable. Sapna Pabbi does not get as much screen time as the two leading men but in all the scenes she gets, the actress proves what a fine performer she is. She brings a sense of maturity and sensitivity to her character. Atharva Vishwakarma delivers an effortless and natural performance as Josh. One looks forward to see more of this bright little kid. Hrishikesh Joshi shines as Inspector Prakash. Neena Kulkarni is, as always, brilliant. "...aur is bachane wale instinct ko bachaye rakhne ke liye phir ek baar senior Inspector Kabir Sawant reporting", says Amit Sadh in the last scene of the last episode o this season. That gives us an inkling that the show might be back for another season. The way the first season has panned out to be, one certainly looks forward to what kind of idea Mayank and his team would explore in the second season.

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