R Madhavan, who was last seen in hit Tamil film Vikram Vedha, is back to entertain his fans. But this time on the small screen, as a Catholic football coach Danny Mascarenhas. Madhavan stars in Amazon’s new web series Breathe, written and directed by Mayank Sharma.
The pilot (first episode) sets things in motion as pilots are usually supposed to do. The first shot shows us a young girl tying herself up and claiming in front of the camera that her suicide has nothing to do with her parents. The woman twitches, and struggles, until her body finally stops moving, and as soon as that happens, we see the silhouette of a man (who is built like Danny) give a sidelong glance to the dead female and then leave the room.
Amit Sadh (of Kai Po Che fame) plays a disturbed, depressed and an alcoholic cop, Kabir Sawant. Of course, Kabir has his reasons for resorting to heavy drinking to get through life. He has lost his daughter and his wife doesn’t live with him any longer. Kabir is young but unhappy. As far as the first episode is concerned, Kabir doesn’t do much except prove that he is intelligent and constantly drunk. Intelligent because he knows when he is being lied to by his subordinate.
We are introduced to Maddy’s character as an excited father celebrating the birthday of his six-year-old son. We soon learn that Dannny’s son Josh might meet his end soon as his lungs are rapidly decaying. Josh needs an organ donor, but he has been waiting for a year, and no one seems to be willing enough to step up and do the job. Madhavan is convincing as a father who is trying his best to keep his dying son happy. He is frustrated and grief-stricken. But he is also determined. Towards the end of the pilot, we get to know that Danny is set on a dangerous path, to find and (maybe) kill people who can help his son with the organ donation.
The episode is almost 40-minute-long, but the minutes fly by quickly, which is a good sign for the series. Breathe is, as the trailer had promised, not boring, and we get to see a brand new avatar of Maddy in action. All good. However, there is one scene which sticks out like a little thorn, that of Danny reciting the Bhagawad Gita in Sanskrit to a family in the hospital. Danny might know the Gita in Sanskrit, he might even remember the lines. But reciting Gita in an Indian hospital to a Hindu family to ‘win’ them over? Hindi cinema cliché. Which could have been easily avoided.
Breathe has potential to go big, to move and excite simultaneously. At least the first episode suggests the idea. Fingers crossed.