The recently released Tamil web series Suzhal: The Vortex, created by husband-wife duo Pushkar-Gayatri, is making waves as the dark crime thriller has won applause from audiences, critics and celebrities such as Dhanush, Priyanka Chopra, SS Rajamouli, Anurag Kashyap and Lokesh Kanagaraj to name a few.
In an exclusive chat with TSWT India, Pushkar and Gayatri revealed how they merged the dark and mystical elements of the Mayana Kollai festival with their storytelling, and how the very idea for the show came about. Talking about how the show started, Gayatri said, “We started writing it as a feature film in 2014-15. It was initially an idea for a movie, but very soon we realized that we needed to explore the characters and the world a lot more in this movie. One, we need more screen time.”
She continued, “With features, you only have two hours and you’re limited to your protagonist, antagonist, and a few other characters, so we thought that was better for long storytelling, so we we put it aside, and that OTT time wasn’t big in India. Luckily for us, Amazon came and they approached us, and we said, “oh yeah, we have something” and that’s that’s when we started working hard on it.
“The idea was always that crime would be a component through which we learn about this city and the people and various aspects of those people, and how the perspective of someone looking at a person can lead to judgment, which could to be completely wrong. So those were the ideas that we started with and an investigative crime story was introduced which will drive the story forward through which we can explore those characters,” Pushkar added.
Sharing how they came up with the idea to put the story around the Mayana Kollai festival, Pushkar said, “Having said that, the big moment was when we found out about this festival and realized that the festival metaphor fits perfectly with the basic idea. Once that happened, everything started to fall into place. The characters and the story could take shape, and the movement of each episode blended with what was happening with the festival.
READ | Vikram Veda Directors Pushkar-Gayatri Open Up About Southern Remakes, Talent Crossroads in Indian Cinema | Exclusive
Although the entire series is created and written by Pushkar and Gayatri, the directing responsibilities are carried out by Bramma G. and Anucharan Murugaiyan.
Talking about why they didn’t choose to direct all eight episodes themselves, Gayatri told TSWT, “We were very attached to the script after spending so much time writing every word of it. Our idea was to to direct it, but at that point in time we had a commitment so we couldn’t get started right away.Then the creatives at Amazon Prime told us the script was solid, why not look at outside directors.
She continued: “First it was like letting go of your baby, we really love Anu and Bramma’s work, their films, their processing of emotions, their drama pitch. We met them and we We sure are, they read the script and for them too it was like, as Bramma so aptly put it, ‘Take another person’s child and grow it up.’ difficult and this is the way to go for long-form content, we need more collaborators.”
After Suzhal, Pushkar and Gayatri are awaiting the release of their first Bollywood film Vikram Vedha starring Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan. Slated to release on September 30, it is the official remake of their own Tamil blockbuster of the same name which starred R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead.