Suzhal – The Vortex: There is an Indian Storytelling Ethos that we Should Stick With, says Pushkar-Gayathri

 Vijay Sethupathi and R Madhavan-starrer Vikram Vedha made Pushkar Gayathri a household name in the film industry

It was in 2017 that a couple decided to write and direct one of the most complex, yet an interesting thriller story. The narration needed absolute perfection at its execution. The end product that hit the big screens impressed the audiences and critics alike and was immediately declared a hit. The film that brought Vijay Sethupathi and R Madhavan together on screen — Vikram Vedha — was one of the first films that made Pushkar-Gayathri a household name in the film industry. Fast forward to 2022, the duo are back with yet another intriguing story titled Suzhal – The Vortex on Amazon Prime Video.

The series is directed by Bramma and Anucharan, and has Kathir, Aishwarya Rajesh, Sriya Reddy and R Parthiban in key roles. Speaking about the 8-episode series, creator and writer Pushkar, says, “It is an investigative thriller, based on a girl gone missing. You have the idea of how a crime affects the fabric of a small town. It is the reaction to what has happened, and how it sends ripples through people over there. We wanted the larger bigger emotion, which you experience in a theatre, to translate on screen. Generally, web shows, people think small venture, but this is not one of them. This has been mounted on a large scale. We are releasing in 30 plus languages and in 240 countries.”

He further added that they, as creators, look at it in a different way. “The way we define it is as plot and heart. So, there is the plot that will keep you intrigued, and then there are characters and character arc, which will keep you emotionally invested in the series,” he elucidates. Ask them about the experience writing the series, and Gayathri says, “Writing doesn’t come so easy to us. We are still struggling on how to write features. So, when we kind of got the hold of that, we thought okay lets plunge into long-form writing. So, it has been very exciting and difficult at the same time.”

Gayathri goes on the reveal that the duo initially started working on the script long back. “We started working on the story in 2014-2015. That time we were thinking of it as a feature. So, as the story started developing, we realized that this has legs, and this needs to be a longer story. Within two hours we cannot contain all the characters and the arc. That time we didn’t have OTT platforms in India, so we thought they will come one day that time we will do that. It took us a long to write —almost a year and a half. That is also because we are little slow and lazy,” she laughs, as Pushkar points out that “it’s not the norm, we shouldn’t take that long! (laughs)”.

OTT has given the audiences a plethora of options when it comes to content. And this has only made the job of a storyteller or a writer even more difficult to meet global standards. Accepting this fact and the challenge that comes with it, Pushkar says, “Defining what is it we are setting out to do is crucial. We studied in film schools abroad. We came back to India saying we will make films in our hometown only. Our first three films, we didn’t even cross the border of Madras (Chennai). We strongly believe in an Indian form of storytelling. Somewhere, we shouldn’t be aping some other country’s way of telling stories. There is an Indian storytelling ethos that we should stick with. In the process of trying to be universal, we shouldn’t become so homogenized that our stories are just the same as an American, European Korean or a Japanese story.”

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