Suzhal: The Vortex
Onto the final release of the weekend(and still there are a couple of releases left, the weekend was THAT eventful) and I finished watching the Tamil series Suzhal – The Vortex. Now when it comes to films, the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada Industries are ruling the roosts currently. But somehow its success has not yet translated into a breakthrough webseries which would pave way for the others in times to come. One of the reasons could be is the plethora of content which is already present across the OTT platforms. And it might also be a mindset issue from the viewer’s perspective on watching content with English subtitles(in case the Hindi dub isn’t available).
So when Amazon Prime decided to back a Tamil series, it left me a little perplexed. But on digging deeper I found out that Suzhal – The Vortex is helmed by Pushkar-Gayatri who are the writers of Vikram Vedha(the Tamil and the Hindi one), and suddenly the series had caught my attention. To top it, some top celebrities like Anurag Kashyap and SS Rajamouli had tweeted about the show and I was sold then. With that I finished watching Suzhal – The Vortex on Amazon Prime, is it worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Suzhal – The Vortex is a mind bending murder mystery set in a mysterious town. The story is layered and absolutely mind boggling. Trust the writers Pushkar-Gayatri to serve you a high quality and nail biting murder mystery. Standing at 8 episodes of roughly 45 minutes each, the screenplay is just perfect for a murder mystery. The screenplay opens with the introduction of the characters with an interesting conflict which gave me an impression of the German series Dark on Netflix. By then I hadn’t watched it trailer and so I was kind of confused as to what to expect from the series.
The screenplay is just so layered that each layer is peeled off bit by bit leading to that much more curiousity and anticipation. What starts of as a kidnapping drama soon transforms itself into a full blown murder mystery out of nowhere! And the events leading upto it are so interesting that they will keep you firmly glued to your seats. With various twists and turns especially a mandatory twist at the end of each episode, this drama will surely engross you.
Another aspect of the screenplay which was refreshing was the use of mythology set against the backdrop of this murder mystery. The entire drama unfolds during an 8 day festival with roughly one episode forming a day of the festival. And the parallels drawn between the case and mythology is outstanding. The screenplay is meticulous in playing with the minds of the audience. It does give references of a cult which is followed along with a social issue which is very relevant in today’s time(also briefly touching upon homosexuality) amidst the mystery behind two seemingly unrelated events.
The writing is so sharp that it becomes next to impossible in guessing the murderer. If I were to play a little game with you here then the murderer is present on the series poster(go figure). I was able to predict the murderer by the final episode but this again is only because I have been consuming a lot of content. There are clues spread across the narrative which seamingly form a big part of the jigsaw puzzle. And the manner of the big reveal with the use of fog is just brilliant, this is the best murder mystery that I have watched in ages in terms of the setup and execution! In other words, the screenplay is quite brilliant!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cerebral and you need to pay attention to them to not miss out on any detailing. The music and BGM are excellent and add to the mood of the drama with a touch of mythology. The cinematography and editing are the two unsung heroes. The latter is extremely crisp and the former captures some breathtaking frames which made me regret watching the series on the Big Screen. Director Bramma has done an outstanding job in constructing a world and adding his own elements to the script. If there are any budding directors and writers reading this, than simply study the manner in which the world of intrigue and mystery was constructed here. The direction deserves distinction marks!
The performances are just brilliant. Soundarya as Malar has her moments to shine. Fedrick John as Adhisayam is affable and Gopika Ramesh as Nila looks cute and they make for a great couple. There is an entire episode dedicated to them which helps us invest in their story. And so you really feel for the two brilliant actors here! Nivedhithaa Sathish as Lakshmi is first rate and a gentle foil to the protagonist. Latha Rao as Selvi, Prem Kumar as Vadivel, Arun Pandiyan E as Muthu and Indumathy Manikandan as Devi are exceptional. Kumaravel as Guna continues his good form from Vikram. Harish Uthaman as Trilok is a character which will keep you guessing and it was expertly portrayed by him. Parthiban Radhakrishnan as Shanmugam has to bottle up a lot of pain and he is a solid performer who puts up a solid act. Shriya Reddy as Regina is a character which has a brilliant character arc and she is outright brilliant here, you feel for her character too at times. Aishwarya Rajesh as Nandini(dubbed beautifully in Hindi by Priya Raina who made her look so real) is such a good performer. She had so many emotions to play with particularly towards the backend of the series and she did a phenomenal job. Kathir as Sakkarai has a magnetic presence onscreen and he delivers a very sincere and endearing performance. All other performers are top notch as well!
Suzhal The Vortex is a mind boggling murder mystery which will keep you guessing right till the very end. A start of perhaps high quality webseries from down South! Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Highly Highly Recommended!