Cast: Kathir, Shreya Reddy, Aishwarya Rajesh, Partibhan Radhakrishnan, Harish Uthaman, Gopika Ramesh, and ensemble.
Creator: Pushkar & Gayatri.
Director: Bramma G & Anucharan Murugaiyan.
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video.
Language: Tamil (with subtitles).
Runtime: 8 Episodes Around 50 Minutes Each.
Suzhal – The Vortex Review: What’s It About:
In the fictional town of Sembaloor, somewhere 8 hours away from Munnar lives a community that worships Goddess Angalamman. Together they celebrate a visually stunning festival called Mayanna Kollai and it is in these 10 days that a story unfolds. Someone is kidnapped and the rest get on board to find them. There is corruption, power hunger and a lot of suspense that makes for a good watch.
Suzhal – The Vortex Review: What Works:
Stories marinated in a landscape so unknown are ones that manage to intrigue a viewer and make them sit for a longer time. In a specific cinematic language, a few filmmakers try to emphasize the world and in turn highlight their characters. Yes, I am referring to God Lijo Jose Pellissery and his technique of using chaos, food, and landscape to tell a story. Add Pushkar and Gayatri to the list because they have just given Tamil cinema one of its most brilliantly made, visually scintillating products of all times.
Suzhal: The Vortex is about a community that exists in a land that is touched by modernism, but still busy obsessing over their faith which is borderline fanaticism. Created by Pushkar and Gayatri, it is metaphoric storytelling that manages to be the pillar in a show that runs for 8 long episodes. Think of the filmmaker duo as a chemical scientist who knows the perfect formula to make a certain potion. There is a bit of everything for everyone who watches the show.
Pushkar and Gayatri (Vikram Vedha) write Suzhal: The Vortex as a letter to a village that is fast approaching doom, but labelling it as the wrath of their Goddess. The metaphors are always flying around as you watch the show. The biggest being the story of the deity, and the story of the show walking hand in hand. Credit to the filmmaker duo and their sensibilities, at one point they merge the folklore with the real life so well, that you are confused if you already knew the story since the first episode. It is a story about a demon who hides in graves and a Goddess who digs the Earth to find him. Witness this yourself actually.
That brings me to the suspense part of it. The writing and Bramma G & Anucharan Murugaiyan’s direction manages to create a conversation between the viewer and the show. Every time the viewer makes a guess, the show rewards them with something more than their expectations. You can literally sit and ask questions, and the writing with the direction answers them all. When we critics talk about indulgent, inclusive, and interactive writing, this is what we mean. Every twist has a meaning and thrills added to it.
There is corruption, greed, hunger for power, deaths, and emotional turmoil, but everthing has a poetry to it. Even the most traumatic scenes progress with a rhythm and it isn’t specifically heard but sometimes just felt. Sam C.S is phenomenal as he creates a score that adds more irk to the already dark setup. Sit through the scenes where the team takes you through the streets of their fictional town as they celebrate their festival. There is horror and faith that walks hand in hand and you can feel it in your bones. Imagine a fictional material doing that to you!
Add to it the breathtaking cinematography by DOP Mukeswaran (Super Deluxe). This man creates visuals straight out of some dreams. Every frame is an allegory, every movement alive, the camera is the real winner. Look at the stories he creates with his frames. A group of monkeys sits above the men in power fighting with each other. A young couple goes on a date in a graveyard, but it all looks poetic. The frame manages to merge the folklore and real story as the reel and real (Kathir) characters stand face to face. I can sit and decode each frame of this show, the visuals are that amazing.
Suzhal – The Vortex Review: Star Performance:
Somebody give Kathir all the awards already! The guy not for once let’s his guard down and keeps performing with the same enthusiasm with which he begins. His character is that of any man you meet, but that is actually a victory to pull it off. He is relatable and you can think of someone like him around you. But he also makes sure he has all your attention when he is on the screen.
Aishwarya Rajesh knows what the world expects from her at this point and she even knows how to deliver it. There is an ease with which she plays her parts and even the most uncomfortable ones.
Shreya Reddy has a new fan in me. Her personality, even her gaze beams ultimate power and there is no way you can think of her as an actor and not a police officer. She brings the moral conflict into the show and takes the depth of the story notches higher.
Suzhal – The Vortex Review: What Doesn’t Work:
It makes me feel so good to write this that I haven’t found anything bad about the show worth enough to mention it here. Pushkar, Gayatri, and the whole team, you won!
Suzhal – The Vortex Review: Last Words:
This is a classic example of prolific filmmakers coming together and creating a product that is about a niche but has the potential to appeal to the masses. You cannot miss a show that is a treat in every sense. Packed with entertainment, metaphors, and thrills like no other, this Amazon Prime Video offering is a once-in-a-year opportunity to satisfy your Cinematic senses. Go for it right now.
Bobby Deol is back with his popular show. Read our Aashram Season 3 Review here.