Creating a Web Series: Critical Filmmaking Lessons from ‘Breathe’

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Currently, web series is the brand new property on the digital world. Every website or an app have their own web series content. What started off in India quite a long back with very few content creating media houses like TVF & dice media, is now the base of the entire digital market! In the west, just like Hollywood, there’s an equally strong industry out there for the content creation for web/tv series. But what about us? I’d say it’s just the beginning around the corner here. Hence, there aren’t a lot of web series from which we could bring in comparisons. But, there sure is a starter for us in the form of the newly released Breathe!

Breathe is one of the very first web series in india that has garnered this much attention. It’s solely due to its star cast & the upscale in the budget of web series here. Has breathe finally fulfilled our long thirst for a ‘Great Indian web Series’?  Has it made a benchmark out there for other content creators to level up their standards in the digital market? Read more to find out.

The motive is perfectly set!

Breathe is a story of a father who goes to any extent to save his son. By any extent, he doesn’t hesitate from killing too. From the trailers, breathe promises to be a crime thriller where Madhavan plays the killer (not a spoiler, from the trailer). For a film or a web series with the killer as the prime protagonist, it’s very important that the motive of the protagonist is justified and acceptable. Breathe does this  quite effortlessly. The motive behind the killing is set right in. Probably, for people that haven’t been exposed to content outside India, travelling with a killer might take in time to settle. Other wise, one would want to travel with this killer for more time when the world is set in.

An establishment would’ve been more useful!

Normally, in a web series,there is a prolonged establishment of the characters before the core plot unravels itself. In breathe, I personally felt the establishment could’ve been a little more convincing. The path that leads Danny to turn into a killer would’ve been a little more justified if we had more connection with him. It just happens so quickly that some sections of audience might simply question it “why”. Of course, there’s a reason behind it and all.Just that,  a little more connectability would’ve increased the impact. All I am saying is, just like how Walter White’s transformation into Heisenberg was rejoiced, with breathe, it doesn’t create that kind of a feel at all.

Cliched Characters and no Arcs in them!

Even though breathe tries to be a game changer for web series in India, the characters are the same ones that we’ve been watching for a long time now. A father killing for son. A drunkard inspector trying to cope up with his life after the death of his daughter and many similar ones. There are a lot many films that we’ve watched with such characters and are tired now! Probably, the treatment to these characters could’ve been different. But no, breathe goes the cliched way.

The character arc as mentioned in sf’s previous article, is one of the most necessary aspects in a series like breathe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sense a bit of character arc in breathe. From Danny to killer as I told earlier, could’ve given us a greater impact if it was weaved on steadily. Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh-inspector) who plays a drunkard cop also lacked our investment in him. This is simply because, the arc wasn’t created steadily. His transformation towards the end could’ve also been a big deal to us if it was improvised from the beginning.

Lack of Investment=Question the Motive!

Let us consider the motive of the killer in breathe. He kills people to save the life of his son. But who does he kill? He kills innocent lives. This kind of a motive would be easily questioned by a lot many people. Take Dexter where the protagonist is again a seasoned serial killer. Who does he kill but? He kills other seasoned serial killers! In breathe, there are high chances of the motive being misunderstood because of some of the flaws that the makers failed to avoid so like the ones mentioned above.

Logical Errors also!

Talking about logic, there are a lot of logical loopholes in breathe. When films are being trashed for their nonsensical logical loopholes, web series requires far more detailing than in a film. One cannot afford to have such blatant loopholes. Of course, there might be tv series with many logical flaws, but not so blatant on the screen for sure. This is because, the targeted audience are all mostly in the A/B sections who look in for reasoning. Also, in a web series, one has more time to be observant and hence it clearly appears to the eyes!

Apart from these, breathe however doesn’t completely fail to engage us. It has the perfect ending even though predictable, that most of us would want to see on the screen with a story like this. It does to a certain extent set the standards of a web series in our country. Do watch it as it’s just the start to this world here. More to come, more to enjoy!


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