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Review: Suzhal - The Vortex (Web Series)

I am back yet again reviewing a web series. The star cast is the prime reason why I got dragged into this series and adding to it, this series is made in "namma" Tamil language and has garnered accolades from all over. 

Suzhal - The Vortex, is a Tamil language web series released on Amazon Prime in June 2022. This 8 episodes series is written by Pushkar-Gayatri duo. Yes, what you guessed is correct. They are the couple who created and directed the brilliant movie Vikram Vedha. Bramma G and Anucharan M have directed, 4 series each. The series has been dubbed in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, English and many other foreign languages like German, Japanese, Polish etc.

This crime thriller series has eminent performers like Parthiban, Kathir, Aishwarya Rajesh, Sriya Reddy along with Elango Kumaravel, Harish Uthaman, Santhana Bharathi, Nivedithaa Sathish, Prem Kumar, Latha Rao etc.   

The story is set up in a fictional town - Sambaloor in Tamil Nadu, which is a close-knit place, where everyone knows each other. Shanmugam (Parthiban) is an Union Leader at a cement factory. Along with the workers, he gets into a strike against Trilok Vadde (Harish Uthaman), the owner, demanding a pay hike. The factory is not performing well financially. Inspector Regina Thomas (Sriya Reddy) and Sub-Inspector Chakravarthy aka Sakkarai (Kathir) are brought in to handle the situation (of course for a price). The same night, the factory catches fire. In the morning, Shanmugam's family realizes his younger daughter Nila is missing and starts to search her. Meanwhile, Trilok pressurizes the Police to arrest Shanmugam, quoting the fire incident an arson.     

Shanmugam has a strained family life - his wife left him years ago and stays in an ashram, his elder daughter Nandini (Aishwarya Rajesh) left the town and stays alone in Coimbatore. Based on a CCTV footage, Sakkarai suspects Nila to be kidnapped. The kidnapping coincidentally happens on the first day of the 9 days festival of Mayana Kollai of the regional deity Angalaparameswari in Sambaloor. Regina's son Adhisayam is suspected to have stalked and kidnapped Nila. While audience delve in this thought, it is revealed that Nila and Adhisayam were in love and have eloped. The next unpredicted twist is that they both are found dead, that too murdered. Who murdered them? What is the motive? Is the factory fire incident and these murders inter-related? the answers to these questions forms the rest of the story.

The story telling is so intriguing and keeps the audience glued and guessing what follows next; though I felt it was dragging at few places. The festival back drop is used as a metaphor to narrate the story. The deity is believed to dig the grave to find the demon hiding and kill him to protect her devotees. On the last day of the festival, the deity kills the demon and goes on a procession on the chariot. That's when the real motive behind the murders and the killer is revealed. The complex relationships, the power play, the sentiments, the beliefs, the hidden secrets unveils in between. The background score by CS Sam is intense and helps to uplift and contain the suspense well. Cinematographer Mukeswaran needs a special mention. He brought life to the series, by handling every frame brilliantly and showing even the subtle details impactfully.  

The choice of actors is way too perfect. Kathir, who initially appears as a corrupt police officer, doesn't stop until he nabs the killer. The shades in his character is flawlessly elevated as the story progresses and has a strong screen presence. Sriya Reddy, with a bossy and powerful attitude, lived her character. Her body language, especially her eye work was so stunning, making her role as Regina stand out in her career. Parthiban and Aishwarya Rajesh, known for their performances, did their best, as always. I personally felt, they could have had more screen time. While story is the pillar of this series, definitely the characters Sakkarai and Regina stole the show.  

With a gripping story, unexpected turn of events, brilliant performances and beautiful picturization, Suzhal brings a sensitive social issue to life, making it a must watch. 

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