Getting rid of a clingy ex is as difficult as removing chewing gum from the sole of your shoe, once it’s stuck it requires you to get your hands dirty. Amazon PrimeVideo’s new web series Pushpavalli is the story of a stalker who is obsessed with a boy like a crazy ex-girlfriend but in fact, she never even dated the guy.
Created by Sumukhi Suresh, the show stars her as the lead character Pushpavalli and she has been named very aptly. In a scene where she is asked what her name means, she replies with a bit of hesitation, a creeper. A creeper she is, but she manages to hide it well on the surface.
The show will remind you of the Rachel Bloom led Crazy Ex-Girlfriend where she moves cities to be with a boy she once dated during summer camp. Here, Pushpavalli moves from Bhopal to Bengaluru because she has a crush on a boy and believes that he probably likes her too. She doesn’t just move cities but finds a job on the same street as him to be closer to him. Nikhil, the object of her affection, played by Manish Anand, is oblivious to her obsessive ways in the beginning but as it starts getting increasingly creepy, his worry for himself and his family makes you concerned for his safety.
Pushpavalli is a flawed woman who is desperately hunting for motivation in life. In her 20s, she doesn’t have a career she plans for. Her mother’s constant concern for her marriage and weight is a daily reminder that she is lacking in various departments. Pushpavalli is also a compulsive liar but the show doesn’t even try to defend her. You see her struggling to come up with lies that make people believe in her innocence but it’s very evident that she is headed for doom. Pushpavalli’s meltdown makes you understand her point of view but don’t garner sympathy from the audience.
Pushpavalli is lonely, self-involved and extremely manipulative which makes her the unorthodox leading lady and the anti-hero who will eventually implode.
One thing that impresses you about the show is its apt casting. From the landlady, played by the really talented ex-RJ Shraddha to the frustrated boss Pankaj, played by Naveen Richard, the ensemble cast keeps you entertained. The girls in the PG are well cast as well and special mention to the devious twins whose morbid ideas make you laugh.
Creator Sumukhi Suresh utilises the 8 episodes in covering up various social taboos as well but they are not implanted as social agendas which is quite refreshing. Issues like menstruation, harassment, body image issues are made a part of the tale organically and aren’t highlighted outside of the story which is a rare feat.
Debbie Rao, who has directed the series, shifts the tone between comedy and drama, as and when required. The show can’t be called brilliant but it is engaging enough that one can finish the 8 episodes in one sitting. The Indian web series is a dynamic space right now and utilising it to tell stories that aren’t necessarily heroic is refreshing.