Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie

Pushkar-Gayathri’s new production is cut from the same cloth as their first creation in the long format, Suzhal – The Vortex (2022). Beyond belonging to the same investigative thriller genre, it works with similar archetypes as well. The enigmatic teenager, a negligent parent, spiraling cops, etc. It also ensures of being rooted to a specific setting, so we get a sprawling mystery set in Kanyakumari this time, with a good dose of the dialect and scenic locales. For a production house, this is a good cornerstone to function with, since there’s so much character more brought about by rootedness, something that can even make up for the tiredness in a story.

That being said, there’s an obvious coldness that permeates this new series, something that I noticed in Suzhal as well. In spite of its focus on characters and the setting, the structure rings artificial, in a sense that it’s driven wholly by the mechanics of a plot and rarely by emotions. In Andrew Louis’s Vadhandhi, there seems to be a lot of cheating-the-audience going on by sheer will of the screenplay, as opposed to the same feeling like the natural course of an investigation emerging from organic character decisions. At times we’re made aware of whose perspective we’re getting a flashback from, but then there are also those that are not connected to any point-of-view, seeming like blatant edit/screenplay decisions.

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