The screenwriter duo, Gayatri and Pushkar, have managed to deliver a thriller like no other once again. “Suzhal: The Vortex” has been the talk of the town. The duo has already delivered a masterpiece like “Vikram Vedha” and is now on the verge of creating a Hindi remake of it. They have further flaunted their flawless writing skills in an action thriller series for Amazon Prime. Filmmakers Bramma G and Anucharan Murugaiyan directed the series. “Suzhal: The Vortex” tries to connect a dot between mythology and the crimes that happen in the real world.
What Happened To Nila?
The first episode of “Suzhal: The Vortex,” Season 1, starts with a scene where a young girl is chased by a monk. There is a glimpse of a footstep covered in blood. Now, the story jumps to a protest at a cement factory in a small town named Sambaloor. This is the place where the story is set. The workers of the factory protested against the owner of the cement factory named Vadde Cement Factory. The Managing Director, Mr. Trilok Vadde, came to talk to the workers, but he was being disrespectful. Then the union leader, Shanmugam, threatened him in front of the police that if their demands were not met, he would set the factory on fire. Later that night, two incidents took place in that small town. First, the factory was on fire, and then Shanmugam’s younger daughter went missing. Although people came to know about Nila’s (Shanmugam’s younger daughter) disappearance in the morning, since she was found nowhere, police started to investigate it. During this period, the elder daughter of Shanmugam, Nandini, came to inquire about what happened to Nila. Inspector Sakkarai started looking at the CCTV footage of that night and found out that Nila was kidnapped in front of a bus stop.
What Is Angalamman?
Inspector Sakkarai informs Regina about the kidnapping. Sakkarai went to visit the coaching center. There he learned about Nila being followed by someone outside the town. These incidents were all taking place during a festival named Mayana Kollai. A stage drama named Angalamman was going on in Mayana Kollai. The play talked about a demon who grabbed a child. Now, the story of the drama is similar to what was actually happening in the town. In the drama, the demon kidnaps a little girl, just as Nila was being abducted by someone. The drama also tells us about a god named Pavadairiyan who is in search of the demon. Similarly, in Sambaloor, inspector Sakkarai is looking for the kidnapper who can be symbolically referred to as a demon. But, Pavadairayan failed to find the demon so he seeks the help of the goddess Angalamman. Here, the goddess is compared with Nandini, the elder sister of Nila. With the help of Angalamman, Pavadairayan found the demon, and later the goddess killed him. This drama played a crucial part in the story. The layers started getting dense as Malar, the only friend Nila had, revealed that Adhisayam was the stalker.
Are Adhisayam and Nila Dead?
While Shanmugam gathered his colleagues to attack Regina’s house, Nandini came along with Adhisayam’s friends from Munnar. She revealed that the couple eloped because they were in love. All the rumors about Adhisayam being a stalker and kidnapping Nila were now stopped. Adhisayam left his phone with some voice notes that described how close he and Nila were. These notes revealed that they were afraid to express their love as their parents couldn’t stand each other’s sight for a minute. It left them with no choice but to leave the city for their own benefit. But, later, as the Goddess’s old statue was immersed in the water, the bodies of Adhisayam and Nila were found. The lovers never left the town; instead, they were killed. Every fact until now has started to look like a big lie.
Who Was Guna? Is He Dead?
As the story progresses, more unlikely events start to take place. The postmortem said that Nila was raped on multiple occasions and was pregnant with a child. The DNA report suggested that the child was not Adhisayam’s. Sakkarai suspected Trilok Vadde of being “too friendly” with the girls of his Kho-Kho team. But, later, he came to know that Trilok Vadde was gay. So, the confusion starts to raise a lot of questions except for the answers until, finally, Sakkarai finds out about Guna, the uncle of Nandini and Nila. Guna was the culprit who sexually abused both of them when they were children. Nila wanted to kill him with the help of Adhisayam, but things went south and they were killed in the process by Guna. Guna confessed his crimes to Nandini and tried to kill her too when Sakkarai interfered. Later, Nandini killed Guna. Just like in the folktale when Goddess Angalamman, with the help of Pavadairiyan, killed the demon after bringing him out of the grave.
‘Suzhal: The Vortex’ Season 1: Ending Explained – What Took Nandini So Long To Take Action Against Guna?
When Nandini was hit with one of her trauma episodes, Dr. Sanghamitra came to visit her as she was her consultant in Coimbatore. She revealed that Nandini had some repressed emotions and had involuntarily locked away many feelings from her childhood in her subconscious mind. Dr. Sanghamithra also mentioned that these feelings tend to become apparent in stressful situations or if they are triggered by something. While using his old phone, Sakkarai found a photo of Nandini dancing in Mayana Kollai. This picture was forgotten in her conscious mind but somehow triggered her subconscious. Now, right after she heard about Nila being sexually abused, two incidents hit her strongly in the mind.
First, the picture triggered her childhood; now this news of her sister being abused sexually escalated her memories of that time. Nandini was sexually abused too. But she suppressed the bad memories of her childhood. She moved on with her life. But, for a longer period, she did not forget any of that; she was just mute. This explains the trauma Nandini was facing.
Now, to answer the question, what took her so long to act against Guna? Well, there is a thing in psychology called the defense mechanism. This is a process when a victim’s mind tends to employ techniques that would distance them from the trauma. Nandini never knew much about her dance in Mayana Kollai. She even forgot about her sleepwalking in the past. These are all part of her defense mechanism. Her subconscious constructed some lapses in her memory so that she could forget about most of her childhood. This is why she completely forgot about what Guna did to her when she was a child. Dr. Sanghamithra predicted the reason for Nandini’s sleepwalk. It was only because these memories would come up in stressful situations.
When Nandini asked about the solution for all these, Dr. Sanghamithra suggested that she needs to face her traumatic past and confront it in order save herself from a mental breakdown. Nandini knew exactly what she had to face in the past and somehow all her memories were in sync. She knew that what happened to her sister had already happened to her when she was a child. She also linked the gaps in her memory and found out who was behind all these sexual abuses. It was Guna, their only uncle. At the beginning of it all, Nandini stopped coping with her repressed trauma and started hiding behind what happened to Nila. Now, Nandini opened her mind and knew who was at fault. Her gaps synced in between and revealed the face of the demon. Angalamman will now bring the demon out of the grave and kill him for the sake of humanity.
What Impact Does The Series Leave On The Audience?
Folklore has the saying that Lord Shiva cut off one of the heads of Lord Bramha to put an end to creation. The Goddess Angalamman, the consort of Shiva, danced with him on the cremation ground to bring back life. Now, if we look at the story precisely, Nandini, the goddess, went to the cremation ground to kill the demon. When the demon was killed, Nandini wanted Sakkarai to let everyone know about what happened. The reason being no one should be terrified of such abuses. Every victim should come up and tell everyone who did what to them. This is sort of creating a better life for the sexually abused in the town. The story even talks about our way of looking at things.
At one point, Sakkarai thought that Trilok Vadde was touching the little girls in the wrong way. Without giving the man a chance to explain, he presumed that he was a pervert. This is a slap to our understanding. From our perspective, we judge someone at random. This is not right at all. Judging someone may not be a crime, but taking actions based on that judgment can be harmful at times. “Suzhal: The Vortex” also talks about the unimportant pride that resides within us. How? Well, in a scene, Dr. Sanghamithra compared the situation of a goat who is about to be slaughtered to that of a sexually abused child. The children tend to believe that this is somehow all their fault, and thus they involuntarily lock these feelings away from their close ones. Often times, it was the close ones who sexually abused them.
This story also talks about the sentiments of the parents that put a lot of pressure on their children. Just like, “Our land, our people.” Trilok Vadde explained how this is an illusion to his father. His father thought he was helping the villagers by providing them with work. But in a rather bigger picture, he was just another capitalist who sucked the blood out of the poor for his own benefit. The pride of the family led to the death of Nila. She feared being accused if she told the truth about her uncle. These are the little things that can create a huge mess at times. We need to open up to our children and let them talk about all sorts of problems they are facing. Keeping an open mind about everything gives birth to the possibility of a better future.
What Didn’t Work?
The treatment of the overall series could have been way better. With a series that has 8 episodes and each of them is almost 45 minutes long, you expect it to cover all aspects. Like, the geography of the place where the story is plotted is lost in the narrative. Even so, the staged drama, which can be persuasive at times, can seem a bit forced. Nevertheless, Shanmugum’s character started well but was somehow left unattended in the middle of it. Also, it felt like the creators were in a rush to wrap up the story. The episodes could have gone much further with plots describing the people of the town, the backstories of the lead characters, and how they evolved after the cement factory was established but it didn’t.
The performance of the actors was nothing out of the ordinary. When R. Parthiban is playing a character, you already know that there will be some scenes that will stun you. But here, he seemed less committed to the character he was playing. He is known for dedicating his soul to the character, but that was not the case. Even Aishwarya Rajesh lacked conviction as a lead character in the story. Kathir was satisfying, but the main attraction was Palani Murugan. His performance, whatever little it was, stood out among the rest of the actors. Shreya Reddy tried hard, but all she did was pretend all along.
Will There Be A ‘Suzhal: The Vortex’ Season 2?
Maybe. There is nothing much left in this story to carry on with. Although a plot can be established based on the disappearance of Ammani, sister of Eashwaran. In the very first scene of episode 1, it was Ammani who was running away from a monk (a Tantrik precisely). Her disappearance is still unsolved, so it could be a good storyline for the next season. Nandini and Sakkarai could also end up being a couple if there is a second season of “Suzhal: The Vortex.” There has not been any update regarding this from the makers.
“Suzhal: The Vortex” is streaming on Amazon Prime. Do give it a watch.