Suzhal The Vortex creators Pushkar-Gayatri reveal how they came up with the mystery thriller

The recently released Tamil web series Suzhal: The Vortex, created by the husband-wife duo of Pushkar-Gayatri, is the talk of the town as the dark, crime thriller has been garnering applause from the audience, critics, and celebrities such as Dhanush, Priyanka Chopra, SS Rajamouli, Anurag Kashyap, and Lokesh Kanagaraj to name a few.

In an exclusive conversation with DNA India, Pushkar and Gayatri revealed how they merged the dark, mystique elements of the Mayana Kollai festival with their narrative, and how the whole idea of the show came up. Talking about how the show began, Gayatri said, “We started writing it as a feature in 2014-15. It was initially a film idea, but quite soon we realised that we need to explore the characters and the world a lot more in this one, we need more screen time.”

She continued, “With features, you just have two hours and you are restricted to your protagonist, the antagonist, and a couple of other characters, so we thought it is better for long-form storytelling, so we put it aside, and that time OTT was not big in India. Lucky for us, Amazon came and they approached us, and we said, ‘oh yeah, we do have something’ and that’s when we started working full fresh on it.”

“The idea was always that the crime would be an element through which we discover this town and people and various aspects of these people, and how somebody’s perspective of looking at a person can lead to a judgement, which might be completely wrong. So those were the ideas we started with and an investigative crime story was brought in, which will keep the story moving forward through which we can explore these characters’, added Pushkar.

Sharing how they came up with the idea of setting the story around the Mayana Kollai festival, Pushkar said, “Having said that, the big moment was when we discovered this festival and realised that the metaphor of the festival fits in perfectly with the base idea we had. Once that happened, everything started falling into place. Characters and the story could shape, and each episode’s movement got married to what is happening with the festival.”

READ | Vikram Vedha directors Pushkar-Gayatri open up on South remakes, talent crossover in Indian cinema | Exclusive

Though the entire series is created and written by Pushkar and Gayatri, the directorial responsibilities are handled by Bramma G. and Anucharan Murugaiyan. 

Talking about why they didn’t choose to direct the eight episodes themselves, Gayatri told DNA, “We were quite very attached to the script after spending so much time writing every word of it. Our idea was to direct it, but at that point in time, we had a commitment so we couldn’t start immediately. Then, Amazon Prime creatives told us the script is solid, why not look at outside directors.”

She continued, “First it was like letting go of your baby kind of thing, we really like Anu and Bramma’s work, their films, their treatment of emotions, their pitching of drama. We met them and we hit if off, they read the script and for them also it was like, as Bramma put it really well, ‘Taking another person’s child and growing it’. That is even more challenging and difficult and that is the way forward 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. Scheduled to release on September 30, it is the official remake of their own Tamil blockbuster of the same name that starred R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi in the leads. 

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