Killer Soup review: The Indian version of 'The White Lotus' minus the social commentary!

Sakshi Sharma
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Killer Soup

Killer Soup

Killer Soup review: Konkona Sen Sharma and Manoj Bajpayee along with Abhishek Chaubey serve a delicious soup story, one that will make you laugh at the most horrific situations! 

If you have seen 'The White Lotus' or Raj and DK's 'Guns and Gulaabs', then you know what to expect from Killer Soup! It's a crazy ride where after a point you forget about where it started and where it's going, you are just in it for the journey. Expecting logic out of the narrative and conscience out of the characters is not what is expected. The only thing that you have to do is believe in the fictional world built here with all the weird things that are happening. And this is all made easier to buy into as the series is cooked up deliciously by Abhishek Chaubey and his team! 

In the fictional land of Mainjur is where the Shetty's, an influential business family, live. Prabhakar Shetty (Manoj Bajpayee) is a failed entrepreneur trying to revamp himself by pitching a new idea of a luxury hotel to his elder brother, Arvind Shetty (Sayaji Shinde) who is also a corrupt businessman, and Prabhakar has scammed Arvind in the past over a whopping 31 crores. Parbhu's wife, Swathi (Konkona Sen Sharma) is an aspiring restauranteur who is learning to perfect the recipe for mutton papaya soup. She is also having an affair with Prabhu's squint-eye lookalike, Umesh, who also happens to be his masseur and he's in love with Swathi. 

Apeksha (Anula Navelkar), Arvind's daughter has no interest in joining her father's business of 'Rising Sun' and wants to be an artist and study in France. Hassan (Nassar) is tired and on the verge of retiring as a police officer. But he gets all energised after his encounter with the poetry-reading, eager and young police officer ASI Thupalli (Anbuthasan). All of these characters find themselves in a "soup" when two people die haphazardly! Many more characters, lies, deceit, and secrets start to spill out when everyone gets involved in a crazy maze of a mess and people start dying left, right, and center.

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As the trailer also suggested, the series is losely based on a true story. It borrows the idea from a news headline about how Mrs. Reddy, along with her lover, ended up killing her husband. The series follows the trajectory of "what if" they weren't caught but not in a linear and mysterious storytelling fashion. In fact, the 8-episode series with 45-minute-long episodes asks you not to take it seriously at all. It's like how a person tripping on acid will be witnessing a story unfold that's full of too many narrative threads, characters, murders, and the investigation around it. 

Here murders are also not murders, rather just weird accidents being witnessed. Aspiration or dreams exist with a complete disregard of the obvious, to suspend all belief in logic; a terrible cook wants a restaurant, a mediocre artist wants to study art in France, and a wanted criminal turned masseur wants to run away to Thailand. Every tension is driven to a bursting point and suddenly a blast takes place but instead of it being horrifying, it's a comedy that will make you laugh uncontrollably. Like a reformative face job with acid ends up burning the side of the face or a police officer in search of a network reaches suicide point after figuring out everything. As if you know that every plan, blackmail, and everything that's being cooked will not work out but it is staged in a way as if the series is asking you to laugh at the lameness of it all. 

It is a neo-noir thriller that's carefully crafted where a camera goes in extreme close-ups to make you focus on the details, editing lets the sounds of the previous scene flow into the next giving a new flavor to that scene, colors like bright red or yellow pop out or the location is staged as a character in itself. It is also a dark comedy where fireflies and poetry lead to a murder scene and clues, a drunk police officer investigates with the help of the ghost of his colleague, and criminals are not born but are first-timers who plan as they go about it. It is a survival tale as invisible people desperately seek to be seen as well as a pulpy novel that follows the themes of Shakespearean literature but in a pulp fiction style. Easter eggs like 'Manisha Koirala', 'Tu Hi Re', Nina Simone's 'Sinnerman', 'Phantom Thread's deadly mushrooms' and so many more just heighten the fun.

Abhishek Chaubey knows how to create 'soup storytelling' where all these ingredients come together to give you an experience. And his trusted team of ensemble cast helps him deliver it in the best way possible which is a necessity for such stories. Manoj Bajpayee's use of his body language brings out the tragedy in comedy while Konkona Sen Sharma steals the show with her performance of the struggle of a woman to stand up for herself, who is always cheated on, ridiculed, and dejected. Her facial expressions shift from being a bichari to a determined woman to a bichari again in just a split second! 

Exaggeration and overreach, with the way every character speaks or behaves, are deliberate here. It tells you that no character here wants to be responsible for their actions or their consequences as they are all busy giving a performance of a lifetime, just like all of us IRL. The series ends with 'life is....a tale, told by an idiot, full of sounds and fury, signifying nothing.' making a commentary that just like how cinema is just for entertainment these days, so is life. 

Killer Soup is currently streaming on Netflix

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