Breathe: Into The Shadows Review: Intriguing, thought-provoking and emotional psychological drama.

I think that this lockdown is full of irony. Roads are free but none can travel, air is pure, but mask is mandatory... Imagine Bangalore without traffic, Mumbai without its Local train, and Delhi without pollution! The biggest irony is that the man who taught us to take precautions against the virus (The Big B) is now battling against it in Nanavathi Hospital, and his son, who acted in a series called Breathe, now has a difficulty in breathing!

Meet Avinash Sabharwal (AB), a brilliant psychiatrist, who has a very good patient base. He is occasionally contacted by Delhi Crime Branch too, for various case related favors. His wife Abha (Nitya Meenon), is a professional chef, who takes cooking as an art. Siya, their six year old princess, means the world for them. A born diabetic, she needs to be administered with Insulin shots 4 times a day. Nevertheless, it is a prefect happy family setting in Delhi. Tragedy strikes the Sabharwals when their daughter goes missing at a friend's birthday party. A massive hunt begins for her and goes on for months together, without reaching any logical conclusion. One fine day, a courier arrives at the Sabharwals home, sent from an anonymous masked kidnapper. In the video (played on an iPad that is bundled in a courier!)they see their Siya, alive and healthy, under the care of another kidnapped nursing student. The kidnapper doesn't demand money, rather asks them to kill a particular Pritpal Singh, who appears to be nothing but an innocent shop-keeper. The kidnapper not only demands a kill, but also in a certain fashion, that would play with the victim's emotions. Needless to say, Avi completes the task and the next courier describes their next target. What does Avi and Abha do? Will they go ahead with another kill? Or will they surrender to the police and reveal everything? Who is the kidnapper? Why are his ways different? Amidst all this chaos, let us welcome our super-intuitive rugged cop, Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh), who is just released from Nashik Jail, after serving a six-months sentence. Now, he is being transferred to Delhi Crime Branch, even as the Sabharwals eye on their second kill. Why was Kabir in jail? Who is this wheel-chair beauty Meghana (Played by Plabita)? What has Kabir got to do with Meghana's condition? What is the role of Shirley (Siyami Kher) in this whole story? To find out the answers, binge it right away on Amazon Prime Video.

Hmm.... I think that the timing of release of Breathe: Into The Shadows (BITS) is impeccable. In times, when debates about nepotism are raging in Bollywood (triggered by the untimely suicide of Sushanth Singh Rajput), Breathe comes to the rescue of AB. You can almost hear him shouting "Hey! I am here not just because of my father! I am here coz I too have got some talent..." He nails his performance, and at the end of the watching the series, I am sure you would exclaim "Well! we under-estimated him!". His expressions, voice modulations, the intensity of that glare... Uff! you got to see this at least for AB. (Talking about the intense glare, Trivia says that in a certain sequence, NItya Meenon shrieked out in horror just by looking at AB giving her a glare!). Nitya Meenon was rightly cast as an honest(!) and emotional mother and she aces her role. Amit Sadh once again, does a very good job on-screen. It feels good to see him sans his alcohol bottle and sober most the time. My favorite character in this series is Plabita (Playing Meghana)! She looks adorable on screen and her smile is contagious! She injects some cheer and positivity into this otherwise dark drama. The little cute girl who played Siya looks adorable! No doubt that parents get ready to do murders, for such a cute child! All other supporting cast did a fine job... including Siyami Kher (for once, looking glamorous!)

Coming to technical departments, the BGM is quite sublime and makes its presence felt during some intense moments. The theme music itself has a tense feel and is used in the series to a great effect. The series is visually appealing. The series is shot mostly in Delhi, Nainitaal, Rajasthan and Mumbai (e.g: Avi's house exterior shots were shot in Delhi but interiors were from a house in Mumbai, similarly few other shots). Nainitaal was captured beautifully and every frame looks rich. The color tone was rightly set to fit the mood. Art department did a fine job, by recreating Nainitaal and Delhi, back in late 90's. The dialogues were penned well and the use of cuss words was minimal.

Now that this is being treated un-officially as Breathe Season 2, we understand the viewers have their questions to pose. We have pre-empted these questions are here are the answers. You don't need to watch Breathe (Starring Madhavan) in-order to understand this series. It can be watched as a stand-alone series. However, if you are interested in knowing another past of Kabir Sawant, go ahead and watch Breathe too...Except for his character, BITS(Breathe: Into The Shadows) has nothing in common with Breathe with regards to the story. I am little disappointed that there is no mention of Josh at all in this series. That would have added some continuity quotient.

Coming to comparisons, BITS aces over Breathe in many aspects. BITS has many more plot characters and twists than Breathe and the character arcs in BITS are well developed. Both are well written, but BITS is more elaborately written and is finely executed. What I like in both of them similarly is that, there is no drag of any sorts in the opening episodes of both the series. They are right on money from the word go! However, Breathe had a repetitive pattern of find, follow and kill, where as BITS does an improvisation on it: Find, Follow and kill with the feel while filming it. Breathe follows a Christian model for sins, and in BITS, it is our ancient villan Ravan's philosophy that comes to the fore.

With that note, I would recommend you all to watch this completely binge-worthy series, streaming on Amazon prime. Even as you see AB acing his cards of acting, breathe into the shadows of your mask and hear your breath exclaim "This world is full of irony!"

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