With the advent of Netflix and Amazon, a huge space opened up for web series in the country. Amazonâ€™s latest offering Breathe, is definitely a step in the right direction, but leaves much to be desired.
R Madhavan plays Danny Mascarenhas, a football coach and the doting father of a six-year-old Josh, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disorder. Josh is fourth on the donor list and has been given just six months to live. Danny struggles as he sees his child in pain, and decides to take a rather drastic step - which is revealed in the trailer. Since there are three organ recipients ahead of Josh, is it really that hard to guess what Danny decides to?
Meanwhile, we see Kabir Sawant played by Amit Sadh, a cop who has lost his child and is divorcing his wife. Kabir is the cop everyone is wary of because he's an emotional mess - he drowns in guilt over the death of his child, and also struggles to come to terms with the fact that his wife has made her peace with it.
All this, until he puts together some clues about the deaths with some (not) world-class deduction skills.
While Breathe tries to be a breath of fresh air, itâ€™s riddled with cliches and bad writing. In the first episode where Danny gets to know that Josh doesnâ€™t have very long to live, he just happens to overhear a doctor telling another man in the same hospital that his father his brain dead. Danny decides that the best course of action would be to go and give a speech to the family about how they should donate their fatherâ€™s organs. The family asks him to leave and one of them mentions that they are Hindus, and in Hinduism, the belief is that the soul doesnâ€™t rest in peace if the body is cut up. Danny, a devout Christian, just happens to know a verse from the Bhagavad Gita that he recites to the family. In other scenes, every time Danny decides to kill someone he leaves behind the cross he wears, he talks to the grave of his wife and so on.
Episodes 1 to 3 build up slowly, and if thereâ€™s one thing the series gets right, itâ€™s Dannyâ€™s struggle with murdering people. Nevertheless, there are too many coincidences in Breathe, and Danny doesnâ€™t have the most top-notch planning, especially when he plans his crimes.
In terms of performances, Amit excels as the guy drowning his sorrows in alcohol, but is let down by the mediocre writing. Amitâ€™s scenes with his subordinate Prakash Kamble (played by Hrishikesh Joshi) deserves a mention. Prakash is utterly delightful as the middle-class dad and sub-inspector, and remains etched in your memory. Madhavan keeps you hooked as the football coach-turned-murderer dad, and it will be interesting to see how his character evolves over the upcoming episodes.
Despite its shortcomings, Breathe is worth an afternoon of binge-watching. It is let down by its writing, but is kept afloat by its performances.
You can watch the trailer here:
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.