Breathe review: While Madhavan is wasted in this poorly written show, Amit Sadh makes it worth a watch
In a scene in Amazon Prime Video Original Breathe, Danny Mascarenes (R. Madhavan), a single dad, is at a hospital and has been told that his six-year-old son, Josh, is fourth on a waiting list for organ donation and has only a few months to live. Danny walks out in a daze and hears a doctor tell a man that his father is brain dead. (Such coincidental moments keep happening in this series).
Danny immediately begs the family to donate the father’s organs away. Outraged, the family gives a ridiculous reply. We are Hindus, they tell him. The person’s soul will not be at rest if the body is all cut up. Danny, the Christian, shoots back with a Sanskrit quote from Bhagwad Gita, as the family walks away.
This is just the smallest of several clichéd, stereotyped, melodramatic and filmy moments in Breathe. There is not much that you have not seen before: Danny crossing his heart in front of a Jesus cross every time he leaves home; his mother (Nina Kulkarni) spelling out the obvious pain; his child’s ‘last’ birthday party; Danny talking to his wife’s grave and so on. The cliches are not just limited to Danny’s character.
His nemesis, Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh), Senior Inspector, has an equally predictable character and life story. His wife has left him over a incident involving a child. He drowns his unresolved guilt and sorrow in scotch and takes a sip from hipflask just before an action scene or a dramatic moment. His sincerity towards his job, to the extent of beating up a corrupt assistant, gets him the title of “Pandu f@#@s Pandu” in a YouTube video; probably the only funny line in the series.
Predictability is the only constant in this show: as organ donors start dying, you get to see who kills them and the killer’s elaborate plans involving flower pots and helmets. The victims are shown to be as easy to kill as playing snakes and ladder (Josh’s favourite game). There is a lady doctor who happens to be somebody’s girlfriend and who happens to give vital information related to the plot. A victim’s relative happens to drop a clue to the cop, who of course happens to have a connection eventually with the killer.
However, despite its predictability, Breathe does gain some interest. The real fun begins after you manage to have the patience for the first three, slow, 40 minutes episodes.
After Amazon Prime’s first Indian original, Inside Edge, the trilingual thriller, Breathe is a big disappointment.
With fabulous shows like The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and Sneaky Pete among many, Amazon Prime Originals has earned a reputation of showcasing high quality, good drama. Inside Edge did not quite keep up with the international fare, yet it was a cut above most Indian television series and definitely worth a watch. It’s rather unfortunate that 2018’s first Prime original fails to match the Indian debut, leave alone the worldwide favourites.
Produced by Abunduntia Entertainment, the makers of some fine movies like Baby and Airlift, this 8-part thriller was promising because of its lead cast like Madhavan and Amit Sadh. Madhavan has always been an engaging actor whose sincerity shows in his versatile choices; be it as the ruthless cop in Tamil thriller, Vikram Vedha or as the immensely endearing and confused husband in Tanu Weds Manu Returns. It's even more interesting, therefore, to see him going into darker areas in Breathe as the father who may go to unimaginable lengths to save his dying son’s life.
Amit Sadh, who got noticed in the first season of Big Boss and eventually made an impact in films like Kai Po Che and Sultan, has evolved immensely in his presence and performance. In Breathe, Sadh is captivating as the intense though clichéd miserable cop drowning his personal sorrows in alcohol, almost a replica of Anil Kapoor’s character in 24 season 2. His interactions with his assistant, sub inspector, Prakash Kamble (Hrishikesh Joshi) are the only scenes which lifts the series a notch.
Nina Kulkarni, who is the finest actress in Marathi theatre and cinema, has been wasted in a stereotyped role. Sapna Pabbi as Kabir’s wife looks pretty and Shriswara as Madhavan’s doctor girlfriend is adequate in her role.
Let down entirely by its amateurish writing and direction, Breathe is just about watchable, thanks to Amit Sadh.
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Updated Date: Jan 26, 2018 12:38:44 IST