Amit Sadh injects new life into the psychological crime thriller ‘Breathe: Into The Shadows’

The Bollywood actor tells City Times about latest web series, nepotism and more

Amit Sadh won hearts in his digital debut Breathe where he played Kabir Sawant, an alcoholic police officer battling his own inner demons while coming to terms with the death of his daughter. Now, in Season 2 of the web series, premiering on Amazon Prime Video on July 10, he reprises his role as Inspector Sawant, but in a different avatar. The new chapter titled Breathe: Into The Shadows, which revolves around a psychiatrist looking for his missing daughter, also marks the digital debut of Abhishek Bachchan and Nithya Menen.

Playing a multi-layered character can be challenging for an actor, but Sadh said the script of Breathe was beautifully written and the character so well-etched that he could not turn down the offer to play the alcoholic cop.

“It (script) was so very well written with so many layers and details, how could I say no? Breathe was a joy to work on and the team’s efforts in bringing the character to life made the experience great,” he told City Times.

In Season 2, Sadh’s character goes through a transformation and he is shown evolving as a responsible person and police officer.

“He (Inspector Sawant) has his ways of serving justice. He does everything in his power to ensure that he serves and protects the public, at all costs. Hopefully, it will serve as a lesson to all those police officers out there that you can be passionate about your job, yet serve people without abusing your power.”

Talking about the new cast in this chapter – Bachchan and Menen – Sadh said, “They’re both extremely talented actors. They’re great listeners, which is the key to a good ensemble performance. All of us took our jobs very seriously and I believe that’s what translated onto the screen.”

Sadh also plays a key role in the Vidya Balan-starrer Shakuntala Devi where he plays the legendary mathematician’s son-in-law.

“Vidya Balan is such a fantastic actor. I am a huge fan of hers and have always wanted to work with her in a movie. While we were working in the film, I told her, ‘This is the only time I am playing your son-in-law, next time, I want to play opposite you!'”

Sadh’s Bollywood journey has been a long and hard one. Starting with the TV show Kyun Hota Hai Pyarr (2002 ), he made his big-screen debut with Phoonk 2 (2010). However, he shot into the limelight with the buddy film Kai Po Che, in which he featured with the late Sushant Singh Rajput and Rajkummar Rao. “It has been a tough journey for me,” he admitted.

“But hard work and perseverance paid off in the end. I’ve always wanted to do this (acting) and I never let anything come in the way. It can be very disheartening in the beginning, because as actors, we face more rejection in a year than most people do in a lifetime. We also have financial challenges, we don’t even know where our next month’s rent is going to come from.”

The actor said that he did not allow stardom to go to his head. “I don’t even think about it. I’ll accept it as a by-product of what we do as actors. Being a star is not about being famous, successful or rich, it’s all about how inspirational and impactful your work has been and how it has affected other people’s lives. That’s what matters for me most.”

Nepotism is a hot topic in Bollywood these days, but Sadh has a solution to the issue. The audience can play a huge role in eradicating it, he feels.

“Nepotism exists in every industry. It is an issue in our industry and we need to deal with it. I think the audiences can play a huge role (in eradicating it). They need to give more power and attention to good performances rather than the actor who may perhaps be related to a star. Why should we watch a movie just because a particular star’s son or daughter is working in it?”

Sadh forewarns newcomers that the path to stardom is not easy. He gives his own example as an outsider in the industry while advising people wanting to take up acting.

“This is a lesson for anyone coming up the ranks as an actor. Focus on being the best. Study acting, read books, practice, collaborate with other artists and view them as collaborators, not competition. Experience life, live a full life and take in what’s around you. Get to know yourself better, explore who you are and why you are the way you are, go back in time and open those boxes that contain your past. Open the lid on those boxes so you can know yourself so well that you can lend parts of yourself to a character you are playing. Only then will you become such a good actor that no one will be able to ignore you. Believe me, there are many casting directors, directors, producers, studio heads that actually know how to spot talent, they’ll take you under their wings and give you the work you deserve. I am living proof of that.”

Box-office success does not necessarily translate to personal satisfaction, according to Sadh. While not all movies go on to become hits, the actor, however, has found a way to handle failure.

“Do good movies equate successful movies? Are merit and success equivalent? We have to remember that acting or any other form of expression started out as an expression of people’s appetite, and that’s what should be at the forefront, it is for me. When choosing projects, I make sure that I can fulfil the need of what it is that we are trying to express and if it can quench the thirst of the audience. Of course, I want to work in a hit film, but I firmly believe that box-office success doesn’t mean that something is fulfilling or good. We need to rethink what success is when it comes to art. It’s not always about the money a movie makes, it’s also about how it serves society.

Sadh says that it’s his work that keeps him going when the chips are down. “To be able to touch someone, to move someone, to inspire someone, to spark something in someone that brings about a positive change in society – this what keeps me going, and also knowing that the work I do has the power to do this.”

Having done so much work on TV, movies and web series, Sadh is in a position to say which medium will work best post-Covid-19. He feels OTT platforms will attract more audiences.

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