The duo of Pushkar-Ghayathri, screenwriter and film director have built a reputable reputation with the success of Vikram Vida. The duo is also in the process of reproducing the film in Hindi with Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan in the lead roles. Their foray into the web series with Suzhal: The Vortex genre carries the burden of living up to their reputation. Unfortunately, the series falls short in this respect.
The eight-part series was written by Pushkar-Gayathri, with directors Brahma Ji and Anushran Murugian sharing directing responsibility. The shortcomings of this series are shared by all of them.
Suzhal may seem like a huge leap by Tamil soap standards, but by global standards, the show’s creators have barely scratched the surface, with many public moments in the show.
Suzhal is located in the background of a small town. The story begins on an eventful night. A fire destroyed the city’s only factory, which became the city’s identity, a teenage girl was lost and the Mayanakolay festival began. By the end of the streak, we hadn’t gone as far as we had in the opening. Yes, some of our questions have been answered, but we don’t dive into a story to find out who did it. Where’s the fun in that?
We know there is no such thing as true magic. We know that when a man pulls a rabbit out of a hat, it is not due to magical powers. We realize it’s part of the script – it’s a play, a hoax. But every time the magician pulls a rabbit out, we rejoice and applaud, knowing full well that we have lied to him. What is the movie or series? Nothing but 24 lies per second. So where’s the bunny, fireworks, or other dummy tricks plunging us into a whirlpool of narrative? And let’s not forget that this is also an exploratory work. At the end of each illusion, we must find something new about the human psyche and perhaps even learn new information about ourselves.
At Suzhal, we get the storytellers in a hurry to get to the finish line. This is it. The narration moves as if it were put into a jacket. We can see this series produced by a group of storytellers, who were afraid of making a mistake and perhaps under pressure to connect a passable series with an episode lasting an average of 40 minutes. That’s all in this series. It is neither innovative nor immersive. It’s just a straight shot to the finish line.
Applying the same techniques to writing for a series as writing for a movie is a huge mistake. The web series is an entirely different beast and requires a different approach to dealing with it on all fronts.
For example, we know nothing about the fictional industrial city of Suzal. We do not fully understand its geography or fully appreciate its sinister history and turbulent population. Same with Mayanakollai Festival. The ceremonies and ceremonies of the local deity reflect the crimes of the missing girl and everything that happens around her. Except for repeating the narrative, the festival of local legend serves no greater purpose. It is simply part of the narration because it provides a vivid visual background to a colorless narration. I’m afraid the exhibitors did not show the festival, which appears to be pre-Vedic, in a correct social, cultural and traditional context. In particular, when Mayanakollai is drawn as a metaphor for the series. They leave festival practices hanging in the air, leaving audience bias and judgment to understand.
There’s also not a single performance that stands out, which is pretty scandalous considering it has such proven talents in the cast. The main disappointment comes from R. Parthiban. He is uncommitted to his character and puts very little effort into making us feel the pain of a father whose daughter has gone missing. The disappointment with the story increases as the father discovers more horrific things have happened to his teenage daughter. His acting lacks spirit and conviction. The writing is sometimes so weak, that it undermines the effectiveness of the scene despite the best efforts of actors like Aishwarya Rajesh and Sriya Reddy.
Many play the role of a young cop who behaves less like a cop and more like a gossip fan. His character is seen as a savior but he is too stupid for her. Except for taking advantage of the power that stems from his stature as a policeman, he has no redeeming qualities to be a hero. Some homework on how the policeman behaved during the investigation would have saved a lot of embarrassment for many. He’s not even ready to lose a beard for the role of policeman.
Suzhal streaming on Amazon Prime Video.