Despite having a main character with a split personality and carrying the entire series, Abhishek A. Bachchan falls short of making an impression.
As he tries to finish what he started, J's (Abhishek A. Bachchan) existence and ideas come back, forcing Avinash (Bachchan) to face his merging dual identity. Victor (Naveen Kasturia), though, is his new crime-fighting companion this time around. In the last act of this crazy drama, Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh) must now fight the hardest battle of his life to defend a society that has been taken advantage of.
When I watched Breathe: Into the Shadows Season 1, it hooked me on it, not for the content but maybe for the legacy, and also because it was pandemic. The big revelation that comes in the fifth episode of 12 episodes is that Abhishek Bachchan himself is the kidnapper named J, which has minimal shock value. The first season ends on a note that the Raavan killer is finally revealed to the world and taken to an asylum. However, it dropped a major hint that J is overpowering Dr. Avinash Sabharwal minute-by-minute.
In the second season, three years have passed, and it's shown that after two years of being in asylum, J has silenced himself, but Avinash doesn't want to risk anything. In the third year, his family visits him, and that marks the return of J. With that, the template of killing the rest of the six people who sinned and made Avinash suffer in some way returns.
However, this time, we are introduced to a new accomplice named Victor (Naveen Kasturia), who helps J in his mission and keeps Avinash hanging by a loose thread. Thus, this season is all about these two characters and how they kill everyone one by one. In the first season, the whole planning leading up to the murders of the "sinners" took a lot of time, and in 12 episodes, we saw the killings of four people.
But in the new season, murdering the rest of the six people seemed to be like a cakewalk, as it happened one after the other like a smooth plan. It just shows the matter of convenience how easily these murders are planned and executed. Even the little speed in getting the story ahead fails to work as well as in the first season; even this one remains superficial.
Mayank Sharma, who has directed the second season, teamed up with the writers, Vikram Tuli, Arshad Syed, Priya Saggi, and Abhijeet Deshpande. Despite that, there's no uplift in the screenplay, and the narrative is totally predictable. The first season, which featured R. Madhavan, brought full justice to his character for his wrongdoings, even though the emotional appeal was there. Here too, Breathe: Into The Shadows starts with J harassing Avinash, the father, to kill people, as he has kidnapped his daughter Siya (Ivana Kaur) until then.
But here everyone is free, even Abha (Nithya Menen) and Siya. There's also a scene where Zakir Hussain's character tells her that they are the safest family in Delhi because the kidnapper on the loose will never harm them.
Once again, I am sure the screenplay looked great on paper, as it does look interesting. To a point, despite the thriller genre, I believed it would follow that path. However, this season turned out to be more in the drama genre than anything else. Even when Avinash vanishes and J comes into the picture, the people around are not at all surprised, and they also change their tone towards him accordingly.
This time, the season deals with different subplots about corrupt cops and politicians to keep the story going. But it just doesn't work and shows how it became a part in a non-organic way. Similarly with the characters, Saiyami Kher as Shirley, a sex worker who was introduced in the first season, brings nothing new to the table this time too. Half the time, she is away from the screen and completely forgotten.
Even Nithya Menen has little to offer this time; there could have been more, and her character could have been better on many levels. As mentioned earlier, the screenplay failed to show better character growth along with the storyline this time.
Abhishek Bachchan, as both Avinash and J have gotten better in this season, just doesn't show any expressions in a few instances, leaving us confused. There's one scene where Abha comes and tells Avinash that she was stripped down while frisking at the police station and doesn't show any anger or even express it upon hearing about it.
Even Amit Sadh as Kabir Sawant has been zeroed down to somewhat what Abhishek's character in Dhoom says: "Chor ko sirf chori karte hue pakda ja sakta hai; na uske pehle, na uske baad." Here we know who the criminal is but not his victims, and yet no one does anything about it. Unfortunately, despite the calibre, Sadh's character felt wasted.
The star of this season is hands down Naveen Kasturia in a never-seen-before avatar. He makes things interesting just by being there, and he seems to take sadistic pleasure in talking about murders. The actor has the best character arc, even with an interesting storyline that we have seen before, but the makers made it quite intriguing. Kasturia shines among all the stars and is indeed a great and surprising addition to this show, which at one point in time becomes dry as dust.
As the episodes progressed, all I wanted to know was what "C-16" was, and I wanted them to get done with it. I won't deny it, but it haunted me after the first season, and the only reason I looked forward to the new season was to know about this code.
Well, that's the only reason I wanted Breathe: Into the Shadows Season 2, and the storyline has nothing to do with it.
Abhishek A. Bachchan, who is the star of the whole series, fails to make an impression, even though he is seen as both Avinash and J. The actor's character arc is more seen as a matter of convenience than as having a thrilling aspect.