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Director Mayank Sharma shares his various experiences of shooting the second season of Breathe: Into the Shadows

The series stars Abhishek Bachchan, Nithya Menen, Amit Sadh and Saiyami Kher in prominent roles.

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The second season of Breathe recently released on Amazon Prime Video and the audiences have loved the storyline, acting and all the layers of all the characters. Director Mayank Sharma shares the various scenarios about the series and you surely didn’t know this.

Sharing the feeling of how did the director feel when the show finally released on Amazon prime Video, the director says, “It was a mix of nervousness and excitement. The whole team along with Amazon Prime Video were overwhelmed with the response we had received for Breathe S01 from all over the world. That really inspired and pushed us to dive again into the world of Breathe and create another fascinating story, which eventually led to Breathe: Into the Shadows. Yes, pandemic was stressful for us but nothing more than what the entire world is experiencing. At the same time, just before the lockdown, we did manage to finish the post-production and deliver the show to Amazon. Due to pandemic we could not manage to dub the series in other languages and had to stream in Hindi along with other language subtitles. Hopefully we will stream the show in other languages soon. We were fortunate that we could showcase our series to the world in these trying times. Creating Breathe: Into the Shadows was an enriching journey of more than 2 years and it was finally hitting the marquee. I could not have asked for a better team of artists and crew, who went above and beyond. It will always be special.

that the city, the weather and the atmosphere created along with what the characters were going through.”

Divulging more details on how the collaboration between four writers worked so seamlessly for the series, director says, “I think the secret to running a writer’s room seamlessly, is to ensure that everyone in the team is open to collaborating and respects each other’s opinions. Since you are creating a season with a run time of more that 500 minutes, it also becomes very important that you get all the writers on the same page as far as the pitch of the story and character arcs are concerned, more so when the content is deeply layered and complex. This is only possible through extensive discussions. We invested a lot of time to develop the multiple character arcs and the beats of the episodes, this for me is the backbone of the series.

Once this is done, then getting into screenplay writing becomes more effective and it gives a lot of clarity, on the tone and the approach to everyone involved in the writer’s room. Yes, getting stuck on some scenes is given in the whole writing process. I clearly remember that initially the most discussions and long debates happened about how we could do justice to the complexities of the mental illness, which was a very important aspect of this story. We all in the writer’s room could get on one page only after we were through with the extensive research and after doing multiple rounds of one to one sessions with few psychiatrists and psychologists. I would really want to thank my writing team Bhavani, Vikram, Arshad, Sunil for writing this season along with me and embarking on this amazing journey.”

Shedding more light on the path as to why director Mayank Sharma chose Delhi for the series he says, “I always try to integrate the city as an important part of the narrative. In the new season, since we were creating a whole new world for Breathe: Into the Shadows, I was very sure that I wanted to set this story in Delhi. I have been always fascinated with the varied visual scape the city offers. Delhi has its own unique ethos and culture, which lends a unique flavor to the show. In this season, I also wanted to create an atmospheric tension through the narrative, hence we had decided to shoot this season in winters. The winters of Delhi lend the right visual mood board. The cold, gloomy weather, overcast sky, nights and early mornings with dense fog. As a director, I wanted audiences to get engulfed into the tension that the city, the weather and the atmosphere created along with what the characters were going through.”

Speaking about the experience of working with the big names of the industry Mayank Sharma expresses, “It has been an extremely rewarding and fruitful experience, working with all these exceptional talents with amazing body of work. Right from Maddy Sir to AB sir to Nithya to Saiyami and to Amit. First and foremost, they are all artists and once they are convinced with the story and your vision, then they become your collaborators in creating what you have envisioned. As an artist this medium gives them a wider range to perform and go in depth of their characters. They have 100% backed the story and put in their everything to bring this to fruition. I would be forever indebted to them for believing in me and breathing life into Breathe: Into the Shadows.”

How a character is dependent and independent of each other, a perspective that the Director shared i—,”As a writer-director, it is very important for me that I do not fall into the trap of slotting characters into “lead” and “supporting” characters. Without all of them the story is incomplete, the journey is incomplete and more than that the characters of Avinash, Abha and Kabir are incomplete. Once we are free from this bondage, it becomes easier to look at every character holistically and do justice to it. This has been my approach and I am so happy and overwhelmed to see audiences showering so much of love to each and every character of our show.”

Talking about the response the audiences have given about the series the director shares, “Within few hours of the launch of Breathe: Into the Shadows till now, the response from the audiences all over the world has been heartwarming and we are soaking in the accolades and it continues to grow. Right from the writing stage we were aware that show of this breadth required a longer running time, so we could do justice to all the sub-plots, characters, their backstories and overall story. It’s a fine balance between length and content. While many have appreciated the detailing and the depth of the writing and execution, it also comes with the cost of screen time. Yes I am taking notes of all the learning’s and would try my best to implement them in my future projects. My biggest take away has been that audiences are open to intelligent and thrilling content as long as the emotional core of the story is strong.”

Talking about the future projects Mayank Sharma concludes it by saying, “Well, the continued love response from the audiences is not letting my mind take a break and I am working on a couple of exciting stories, but it’s premature to divulge any details as of now.”

The series stars Abhishek Bachchan in the lead as he makes his digital debut, with talented actors like Nithya Menen and Amit Sadh and Saiyami Kher in prominent roles. The series is created and produced by Abundantia Entertainment and streams exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news.


Punit Malhotra on shooting Tiger Shroff’s song Unbelievable amidst restrictions

Student of Year 2 has developed the Unbelievable song video

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Tiger Shroff, who is all set to make his singing debut with the single ‘Unbelievable’, has been sharing his excitement by sharing pictures on his social media. As soon as he began working on the song in May, the actor called his Student of the Year 2 director Punit Malhotra, requesting him to develop the music video.

Malhotra says, “I wasn’t surprised when Tiger said he has sung a song; he has a lovely voice. I was kicking myself because I should have displayed his singing skills in Student of the Year 2,”

Excited to reunite with the leading man of his college caper after over a year, the director also feared shooting in the midst of the pandemic. “Initially, we were scared at the idea of going back to work. But once we did, it felt like a reunion of old friends. As the director, I was doubly vigilant and adopted safety measures over and above those stated by the government. Tiger Shroff was a source of support. His constant reassurance — ‘Punit, we will get by this’ — helped me”, he adds.

Armed with a crew of 40 members, the actor-director duo shot the music video over three days at a five-star hotel in Lower Parel. “Since the hotel was in a lockdown, it was the most sanitised place we could have shot at. We chose a theme that didn’t need a big team. At the same time, we ensured we did not compromise on the scale. We explored a tender romance between two hotel staff members,” shares Punit.

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news.

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10 Bollywood Actresses Who Would Make Ritu Phogat Proud

Here are 10 Bollywood actresses who know and practice martial arts.

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ONE Championship atomweight contender Ritu Phogat is one of the most prolific martial arts stars to come out of India. Nicknamed “The Indian Tigress,” Phogat is an Indian wrestling icon, and at just 26-years old, she has already accomplished more than most twice her age.

Of course, being born into a famed wrestling lineage certainly helps.

The 2016 biographical sports drama film, Dangal, was loosely based on the life of pehlwani amateur wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, the patriarch of the Phogat family and Ritu’s father. To this day, it is the highest-grossing Indian film of all time.

Suffice to say, Bollywood is a global phenomenon. Analysts peg Indian cinema to be a near $5 billion industry. Though it doesn’t come close to the $50 billion dollar per year film industry of the United States, Bollywood still enjoys immense popularity for its unique song and dance, hilarious action sequences, and distinct dramatic delivery.

Artistic talent remains the backbone of Bollywood, though, with actors and actresses sharing their various talents. On the other side of the spectrum, martial arts has also played a key role in the industry. Many Bollywood actresses, in particular, are well-versed in martial arts, just like Phogat.

Phogat would certainly be proud of the females on this list. Most of these women took up martial arts for movie roles, but later on continued training for the love of it. Here are 10 Bollywood actresses who know and practice martial arts.

1) Aishwarya Rai

Miss World 1994 winner, Aishwarya Rai, learned karate from Ramesh, a noted stunt master who ran a Japanese Shito-Ryu Karate School in India for over three decades. He taught Rai martial arts for a movie role, and she fell in love with it instantly.

2) Asin Thottumkal

Known as “Queen of Kollywood,” Asin Thottumkal is trained in the ancient Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu. She learned the discipline directly from the masters in Kerala. Like Rai, Asin took up martial arts for a movie role.

3) Deepika Padukone

One of the highest-paid actresses in India, Deepika Padukone took up Jiu-Jitsu for the film, Chandni Chowk To China, where she starred in dual roles of Indian-Chinese twin sisters. Her trainers co-starred with her in the film, including award-winning actor Akshay Kumar.

4) Genelia D’Souza

Actress and model Genelia D’Souza was also trained in ancient Indian martial arts. In the 2011 film Urumi, she portrayed the Muslim warrior princess Arackal Ayesha, a role which required her to learn horseback riding and how to use a sword, a short stick, and the fighting movements of Kalaripayattu.

5) Jacqueline Fernandez

2006 Miss Universe Sri Lanka pageant winner Jacqueline Fernandez is an actress, model, and dancer. Like Asin and D’Souza, she also trained in Kalaripayattu for a movie role. Given she’s also a known fitness junkie, it doesn’t come as a surprise that she would pick up martial arts at one point in her career.

6) Kangana Ranaut

After landing a starring role in the film, Krrish 2, actress and filmmaker Kangana Ranaut began training in martial arts, particularly in kickboxing.

7) Nargis Fakhri

American born Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri is famous for films like Madras Cafe, Main Tera Hero, and the Hollywood production, Spy. She was previously nominated for a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for her role in Rockstar. She currently trains in Muay Thai.

8) Priyanka Chopra

Internationally acclaimed actress Priyanka Chopra is one of the most gorgeous women alive. For her role in the film, Drona, Chopra studied Gatka, a style of stick fighting developed by the Sikhs of the Punjab region.

9) Shilpa Shetty

Businesswoman, model, and Indian actress Shilpa Shetty has been a longtime advocate of Yoga. But she is probably the most talented martial artist on this list. Shetty holds a black belt in Karate. She’s even passed on her passion for martial arts to her son Viaan, who recently won his first gold medal in the sport.

10) Madhuri Dixit

Actress, television personality, and musician Madhuri Dixit, is well-versed in martial arts, having trained in Shaolin Kung Fu, Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, and Shaolin Chin Na for the movie Gulaab Gang.

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news.

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Action director Parvez Shaikh shares some insights about Ananya Panday from Khaali Peeli set

Ananya has stunned the unit by her dare devil stunts

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Ananya Panday made headlines for giving two pheonomenal characters and films back to back. Keeping up the momentum, Ananya has now taken a step in the action genre with her upcoming Khaali Peeli which is the talk of the town recently for a phenomenal teaser and some groovy songs. Parvez Shaikh, action director of Khaali Peeli shares how Ananya stunned the entire unit with her action performance on camera without using a body double and much more.

Parvez, talking about the film says, “Khaali Peeli wasn’t an action film when we decided to make it but as we went further with the shoot, we decided to have some action sequences.”

Shedding light on Ananya’s performance the he further adds, “There was one particular action scene of Ananya which I thought that she won’t be able to do it as the scene started with a free run followed by a jump hitting the goon with a slingshot having a particular landing. If it would go wrong, there was a very high possibility of the shoulder breaking or having a neck fracture but she unexpectedly stunned everyone with the action that you saw in the trailer.”

Talking about the time when the entire unit of Khaali Peeli clapped for her, he says, “There’s also another action sequence in the climax which had to be done with the help of a harness and Ananya once again did the action with perfection and the entire unit clapped for her as the scene was an intense one where she had to fly and bang herself on the car and ensure that the glass of the car breaks and then fall down. Generally a body double does it but Ananya took it upon herself and did the scene perfectly.”

Speaking about his experience on collaborating with Ananya, the action director ends by saying, “This is my first time collaborating with Ananya Panday for action and we thought that she wouldn’t be able to do action we had designed for her. Ananya stunned us with her performance which was nothing less than a professional doing it. So, Ananya panday is actually good and aced her action sequences.”

The actress is leaving no stone unturned and is ensuring to try her hands on every genre and give in her all as she’s an enthusiast learner and a risk taker. Kudos to Ananya for going out of her way and surprising her fans every single time!

Ananya is currently shooting in Goa for her upcoming with Shakun Batra alongside Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi followed by her first ever PAN-India project alongside Vijay Deverokonda titled Fighter.

Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned to CineBLitz for updates on this front as well as other Bollywood news.

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