Amazon Prime Web Series Breathe Review

Breathe : Fresh Air  

Amazon Prime tried to beat Netflix in India by launching their Web Series 'Breathe' with 2 well known actors R.Madhavan and Amit Sadh.  The hurry to launch and complete it shows up in a lot of places, it feels like if the creators had more time to develop characters , think through the situations and so on they would have made a better series. Alas time is the factor we all fight. 

So the protagonist Daniel Mascerehanas (R Madhavan) is running out of time for his kid Josh who is suffering from a congenital abnormality. Josh needs a lung transplant and has only 6 months to live. 

The series casts a good perspective on the issue of organ transplants. Firstly the lack of donors and secondly the long waiting time. Not to mention the flourishing illegal trade. 

The plot is straightforward. Josh is 4th on the waiting list for lung donors and there is no way that waiting list will improve in 6 months. So Daniel takes the list of potential donors and then starts killing them one by one. 

On the other side of the law is Kabir Sawant played by Amit Sadh, an alcohol swigging cop who cannot get over the loss of his kid when she accidentally plays with his loaded gun and kills herself. He has great instincts and that ensures survival in his department. The best part of the series is his sidekick, Kamble ( Hrishikesh Joshi) who keeps benchmarking his sexual 'machinery'  , loves food  and looks very much a sincere yet frustrated cop. Another sub plot involving a corrupt cop Malvankar from Baramati is also interesting in the first episode .  Even the head of departments look very real.

While these kind of characters are real, the urbane Kabir doesnt seem that much a part of the Mumbai police system .Kabirs wife Ria ( a beautiful Sapna Pabbi) is planning to divorce him but her arty elite background sticks out as a sore thumb in this setup.

What is interesting about Breathe is the setup. Its a good plot overall - a father desperate to save his son ' The only rule about saving your family is that there are no rules'. While not entirely new, this kind of subject matter in the light of the organ issue has weight. And since the crimes are intelligently committed by an ordinary guy gaining most of the knowledge from Google searches ( a la Wednesday), it makes for an interesting chase/ whodunit /sleuthing to catch him.Then is the moral angle , what is right , what is wrong. Daniel will do anything for his son, Kabir lost his daughter due to an unfortunate accident.

Hence the series has a watchability. Its sufficiently engaging as a chase, the plot has good pace. It has many characters who have good small screen presence.

The biggest flaw in the series is that we hardly feel for Daniel, Josh and his mother. Ideally the family should have been the emotional core that drives the plot. However there are very few scenes with Daniel and Josh. We dont feel the pain of raising a kid with some abnormalities. This is when you have Madhavan , an intelligent actor who can portray pain and sensitivity well. Similarly Josh's grandmother is played by Neena Kulkarni , an emotional genius. Even she is wasted. Also when Daniel starts killing , his transformation is too fast except for the 1st murder where he tries to kills an asthmatic patient. Similarly the styling of Madhavan with his pullovers seems very out of place for a city of Mumbai. And what is most glaring is that this is the city of Mumbai where everyone's sixth sense is so strong but Daniel is never found out. He enters apartments and disconnects electric circuits with ease.  Towards the end of the series, Daniel becomes a professional killer with unlimited resources.

The series could have been much more, and could have set up a benchmark. It had all the ingredients. A good plot, good characters , good setting, great actors. It is not able to do justice to the donor issue well. Works well as a chase but not a fully rounded series. But we should not forget its a brave attempt and its the beginning of the web series genre. Its definitely fresh air.