Killer Soup by Abhishek Chaubey is a fascinating black comedy that succeeded really well in establishing its absurdity. When your main theme has to do something with the existence of a doppelganger, it is quite possible to get dragged into the criticism of being illogical. But somewhere, I felt the sort of treatment the series has got, with even the most tragic and dark of events having a comical tweak to its credit, Abhishek Chaubey and his team of writers succeeded in making something that is appealing till the end.
SPOILERS AHEAD! So, the story happens in this fictional town named Mainjur in Tamilnadu. Arvind Shetty and his brother Prabhakar Shetty are prominent names in that city. Prabhakar is married to Swathi, who used to be a nurse but now plans to open a restaurant. The disinterest of Prabhakar in her plans has resulted in Swathi having an extramarital affair with a guy named Umesh, who has a very close resemblance to Prabhakar. The plan of this couple to live a better life and how their planning goes is what we witness in Killer Soup.
As I said, the black comedy texture of the whole series, which Chaubey establishes in the very first scene itself is helping the series in making the viewer buy all the crazy imaginations in the story. One thing I liked about the writing is that it approaches the predicted plot points a bit more quickly than what we may assume as the audience. That style of making the audience think they have cracked what would happen in a later stage and breaking their prediction immediately helps the series sustain a curiosity around the whole thing. And the overall content is a mishmash of genres and characters. One is a determined female with no remorse. Then there is a guy who has practically lost his identity. There is a cop who is in a hallucinated frame of mind. The character pool is so diverse that it felt like they all belonged to different genres.
Konkana Sen Sharma, as Swathi, is very much the navigator of the story. Swathi’s desire to live a life on her terms and her planning that has zero guilt drives the story forward, and it is that lack of remorse that keeps it in the black comedy zone. It is a character that is acting like a sensitive person in front of everyone else, and Konkona manages to crack that right balance on the screen where both the audience and the characters on the screen would find Swathi believable.
Manoj Bajpayee, as both Prabhakar and Umesh, has this tricky role where he plays two characters under one outlook varying according to the character’s emotional state. As I mentioned in the beginning, it is a character that can make or break the entire series, as the believability of that character and performance can really deviate the debate about the writing to a different space. I would say Mr. Bajpayee successfully pulled off that role, which was the most slippery one in the whole lot.
Then comes Nassar as Inspector Hassan. Even though Hassan is driven by his hallucinations, that was the most real and vulnerable character in the story. There was no extreme wickedness or vulnerability associated with that character. But his reason for being relentless in a case that offered him less support was more emotional, and Nassar, with all his experience, makes that character very memorable.
The other cast members are also pretty impressive and, most importantly, memorable due to their uniqueness. Sayaji Shinde plays the role of the arrogant and abusive brother of Prabhu. Lal is there in a pivotal role as Lucas, who has a backstory that makes him the protector of Apeksha, played beautifully by Anula Navlekar. One of the most memorable faces from this series would easily be that of Anbuthasan, who plays the role of the overenthusiastic police officer Thupalli. Anbu was really good at portraying the two versions of that character we see on screen. Kani Kusruti, Vaishali Bisht, etc., are among the other actors in the series’ cast.
Abhishek Chaubey, who has previously explored the black comedy aspect in the Ishqiya films, this time uses the format to make it up close with characters. The femme fatale element is explored in a different way in this story, and the staging is also pretty unique. The visuals have this higher saturation in color whenever something odd happens, and even the lensing has that difference. Even though it has become a bit stereotypical these days, the backdrop of hilly areas of Idukki has an impact on setting the right mood for the story. The writing manages to balance the whole event among characters, and the issue of narrative lingering on to a particular track for too long was not really there in the case of Killer Soup. The way the series switches between Tamil, Hindi, and English by using the backdrop of the characters and the location was also pretty smart, and it looked organic.
Killer Soup is a black comedy crime drama with no dull patches. With many subplots only unfolding in flashes or in our heads, Killer Soup manages to be engaging from the beginning by reaching the predicted beat very quickly and making the audience curious about what will be the next hurdle in the way of its leading lady. With a bunch of peculiar, layered, and exciting characters, Killer Soup is a satisfying creation with a unique style.
With a bunch of peculiar, layered, and exciting characters, Killer Soup is a satisfying creation with a unique style.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended