'It is very dark and serious': Abhishek Bachchan on 'Breathe: Into the Shadows 2'

The show, which also casts Amit Sadh, Saiyami Kher, and Naveen Kasturia, debuts November 9 on Amazon Prime Video

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Husain Rizvi

Published: Tue 8 Nov 2022, 8:26 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Nov 2022, 1:04 PM

If we revisit the ending of Breathe: Into the Shadows, we see 'J', the alter ego of Avinash Sabharwal, played by Abhishek Bachchan, completely taking control of Avinash's mind.

He's got his limp walk back as he drags himself onto a stage, possibly after conspiring with Shirley, played by Saiyami Kher, a breakout from a psychiatric facility as towards the end, she is seen holding a paper inscribed with C-16, J's codeword for help.

Prior to the cliffhanger in season two, Avinash is a psychiatrist, and his wife Abha is a chef. The two have a daughter named Siya who is kidnapped as soon as the season begins. Months pass and there's no progress but eventually the kidnapper reaches out to Avinash, presses him to commit murders in order to get his daughter back. But there's a catch, the murders must be done in a certain way. The couple, desperate to get back their daughter, go on a killing spree but are soon hunted by Amit Sadh's Kabir Sawant, the police inspector on the show. It is later revealed that Avinash's alter ego 'J' is the one who kidnaps Siya and his motive is to rid Avinash of all the adversaries he had made since childhood. Avinash, or J, is eventually caught and sent to a psychiatric facility.

It is time to unravel such mysteries again as we head deeper into the shadows in Breathe: Into the Shadows 2, out now on Amazon Prime Video.

And what can we expect from the series that only gets more thrilling with every season? "A lot of romance, scenic beauty songs, and great dance sequences," is something only Abhishek Bachchan would say, and he did when we caught up with him over Zoom ahead of the show. He was joined by director Mayank Sharma (he co-wrote season 2 alongside Arshad Syed, Vikram Tuli, Priya Saggi and Abhijeet Deshpande), and cast members Amit Sadh, Naveen Kasturia, and Saiyami Kher. The show also casts Nithya Menen, who plays Abha Sabharwal, Avinash's wife.

"Just trying to dial it up, trying to make it more watchable. Naveen added the comic relief to the whole thing, so it was a lot of fun. It was a challenge, because, how do you take a psychological thriller and make it into a comic musical. But I think Mayank did a good job," he adds.

That is just Abhishek being Abhishek. He's known for keeping his calm, for his witty remarks, savage replies, and, to some extent, some honest confessions.

Like that one time, the star confessed to being dropped from a few films after Drona (2008), and that it was very difficult to get cast. "But we live in hope and keep trying, hoping and working towards our goals. You have to get up everyday and fight for your place under the sun. Nothing in life comes easy," the actor had tweeted in September 2020, in response to a user's tweet.

Or that time he was part of a press conference in Dubai. Abhishek captained the star-studded football team comprising the likes of Ranbir Kapoor and Kartik Aaryan among others. They were in Dubai to play against Emirates United, a Dubai-based football team. Abhishek's sarcastic yet humorous remarks against the team made for a memorable press conference.

Coming back to Breathe 3, when Abhishek was done playing his humour card, he said in all seriousness, "It is not a comedy. It's a very dark, serious thing. And Naveen is playing the darkest of the lot."

And there's truth to that, as witnessed in the official teasers and trailers for season 3.

Watch the trailer below:

Naveen is famous for his TVF drama series, Pitchers and Aspirants. He is newly introduced to the show with his character Victor and "craziness is what keeps him alive." Victor, in the teaser, showcases maniacal traits, cue his alternate appearances, evil Joker-like laughter, and the need for mischief. From the official trailer, Naveen's Victor appears to press Avinash, or J, into committing more murders, all while he gets a kick out of it.

"I think for him, it was like he could do with his eyes shut," Abhishek said of Naveen's character portrayal. "He's got a, dare I say, cult fan following, especially in the web space and he's known for his comic timing. I'd like to believe that Mayank gave him something to do in this, which kind of helped him fit on his comic timing. This is not your regular comedy since it wasn't written as a comedy. But we've acted it as a comedy so the approach was a lot different for the actors."

And Saiyami, whose character Shirley only took prominence in the later half of season two, agrees with Abhishek on how Naveen adds the comic element, both on and off the screen. "I really liked Naveen's work and I hope to work with him in the future. Maybe in the next season of Breathe, we'll never know," she teases.

Chipping in, Amit said he has seen Naveen's work and that he's a very "talented" actor. "From my experience, even on the days when I wasn't filming, I think he is a very focused actor," he says. "Whenever I met him while shooting, it always looked like he was finding his character, asking questions to the director which, as an actor, is a great thing to do."

And Naveen, when he finally spoke, revealed how he gets a "big brother" type of vibe from Abhishek. "I became the comic element in the group because that's how my equation with Abhishek was," he says. "I grew up in a joint family and I have older brothers with whom I share a very similar relationship, they have a very similar sense of humour. So that's the kind of chemistry I had with Abhishek from my end, but honestly he's always been very warm and helpful. And, I think he also sensed that I was a little nervous. In fact, I was on most of the day, but as we went along, and as we shot, we actually enjoyed working together and I had a lot of fun shooting. I hope I get to work with them more in the future."

"Or seasons," Amit adds.

Amit, meanwhile, is the veteran of the show. He has played Kabir Sawant, a top notch officer of the law since season 1. He helped unravel the peculiar murders committed by R Madhavan's brilliantly portrayed Denzel Mascarenhas.

At the time, he was Mumbai-based and his personal relationship with one of the potential victims, Ria Ganguly, played by Sapna Pabbi, added a lot to how he played his profession; he was dealing with alcoholism caused due to the death of his daughter, and his estranged wife Ria who had moved on but he hadn't.

In season two, we see Kabir moving to Delhi, but not so much of his personal life. He's a focused, crime-solving inspector, who will make his return to the upcoming sequel, once again to stop and unravel more mysteries. "I can only hope that the character will be as exciting to the audiences as it was in the previous seasons," he says. "Breathe is a show with every character fighting for or saving someone, or from their own turmoil, darkness, and surviving to live. So without telling you too much about what will happen, I can definitely say that you'll find more anguish in Kabir Sawant, and more to Breathe."

Breathe 3 will explore further into the developing relationship between J and Shirley, while tackling the new crazy personality brought in by Victor. Safe to say Kabir Sawant will be having a busy and terrific time in the show.

And as Saiyami promises, there's going to be "lots of exciting stuff for this season."

Director Mayank Sharma on the challenges of bringing the script to life

"The script of season 3, the way it unfolds on screen was quite challenging to write, execute, and conceptualise. Everyday was a big challenge because it was a tough shoot, a demanding shoot, be it the material, the performances, the locations and settings. The idea was to make the season much more impactful, layered, and nuanced to surprise the audience. There are a lot of elements which they will not be expecting, and will make it much more cinematic as well. A lot of thrilling moments happened in the show as well as on the set."

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