It was in 2017 that a couple decided to write and direct one of the most complex, yet interesting thrillers. The storytelling needed absolute perfection in its execution. The final product that hit the big screens impressed audiences and critics alike and was immediately declared a success. The film that brought together Vijay Sethupathi and R Madhavan 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 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 screenwriter Pushkar said, “It’s an investigative thriller, based on a missing girl. You get the idea of how a crime affects the fabric of a small town. It’s the reaction to what happened, and how it sends ripples through the people there. We wanted the greatest emotion, which you experience in a theater, to translate to the screen. Usually on web shows, people think of a small business, but it’s not one of them. It was mounted on a grand scale. We publish in over 30 languages and in 240 countries.
He further added that as creators, they look at it in a different way. “The way we define it is like a plot and a heart. So there’s the plot, which will keep you intrigued, and then there’s the characters and the character arc, which will keep you emotionally invested in the show,” he explains. Ask them about the show’s writing experience, and Gayathri says, “Writing doesn’t come so easily to us. We are still struggling on how to write features. So when we kind of figured that out, we thought okay, let’s dive into the long writing. So, it was very exciting and difficult at the same time.
Gayathri goes on to reveal that the duo started working on the script a long time ago. “We started working on the story in 2014-2015. This time we thought of it as a feature. So as the story started to develop, we realized it had legs and it needed to be a longer story. In two hours, we can’t contain all the characters and the arc. At that time, we didn’t have any OTT platforms in India, so we thought they would come someday then. It took us a long time to write it, almost a year and a half. It’s also because we’re a bit slow and lazy,” she laughs, while Pushkar points out that “it’s not the norm, we shouldn’t take so long! (Laughs)”.
OTT has given audiences a plethora of options when it comes to content. And that has only made it even harder for a storyteller or writer to live up to global standards. Accepting this fact and the challenge that comes with it, Pushkar says, “It is crucial to define what we are setting out to do. We studied in film schools abroad. We came back to India saying that we would only make films in our hometown. Our first three films, we didn’t even cross the Madras (Chennai) border. We strongly believe in an Indian form of storytelling. Somehow we shouldn’t copy another country’s way of telling stories. There is an Indian storytelling philosophy that we should stick to. In trying to be universal, we should not homogenize to the point that our stories are exactly the same as an American, European, Korean or Japanese story.
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