Review: 'Killer Soup' is a deliciously dark, incredibly funny broth of subtext and acting brilliance

It might be divided, it might be convoluted, and even leave you perplexed, but it is as mind-bendingly original as it can get. Having had the chance to see all the eight episodes of Killer Soup beforehand, here's what I thought about it-

Killer Soup

Killer Soup

Welcome to the world of Abhishek Chaubey! The director of fine films like Ishqiya and Udta Punjab, among others, ventures into long-form storytelling with two of the finest actors alive - Manoj Bajpayee and Konkona Sensharma. It's fascinating to think that these stalwarts are working together for the first time, and it also seems imperative that a deranged, twisted, dark and just bonkers-sorta storyline would have sufficed for their first-ever on-screen collaboration. 

Chaubey, who comes from the school of Vishal Bhardwaj has always managed to have gentle nudges to the man in his projects while staying infinitely distinctive. You can see the man's passion for novels like Bhardwaj has had over the years. With Killer Soup, the stakes are barmier, and one thing that Chaubey promises is that you haven't seen anything like this ever before. 

It might be divided, it might be convoluted, and even leave you perplexed, but it is as mind-bendingly original as it can get. Having had the chance to see all the eight episodes of Killer Soup beforehand, here's what I thought about it-

Morality, Hilarity, Subtext and Easter Eggs


The very least that Killer Soup does is become a masterclass in planting references and easter eggs while being a hilariously debauched dark comedy. There's just so much here to uncover that a single review piece doesn't justify it, and maybe that's the genius of it. It's madness and cacophonous, but there's always an ornate method to the madness. What begins with a seemingly rich but troubled married couple trying to move forward in their lives with their own secrets turns into a death fest with one person dying after another. Sensharma's Swathi Shetty is at the helm of things here - as paya (trotter), soup cooking is her ultimate offering to each and everyone because she wants to open her own restaurant one day and is learning the art of cooking. However, her soup sucks in taste, and it lacks a peculiar ingredient that makes it 'killer', which is kept secret by her chef teacher.

This unravels the pool of subtext and symbolism here, as good plays such a key role visually and metaphorically. Robert Frost's famous poem, 'Miles To Go Before I Sleep'  becomes the riddle to uncovering these gobsmacking mysteries for first, ASI Thuppali (Anbuthasan) and then his senior and soon-to-be-retired Inspector Haasan (Nassar). Hell, there are hallucinations involved as well; I mean, why not, right?

While trotter soup acts as a constant in the most perilous of situations, a custard tart becomes the sweet escape for Prabhakar (Manoj Bajpayee) with Kirtima (Kani Kusruti), who makes it and is involved in an affair with him. Any more revelations would be spoilers, and I wouldn't want to spoil the deliciousness of this complex delicacy for you.

Be it the presence of the iconic song, 'Tu Hi Re' as a motif for Umesh Pillai (also Manoj Bajpayee) and Swathi's love story and further labeling 'Manisha Koirala' (who also gets a special thanking credit), be it references like 'Hotel California', calling a resort as 'Last Resort' and so much more - Killer Soup is a movie nerd's paradise just for how much you will able to untangle upon deconstructing each and every scene. thus making it even more interesting. If you've seen a general discourse in this piece so far in terms of its information, it is intentional and filled with easter eggs in itself.

Manoj Bajpayee's Comical Masterclass

Manoj Bajpayee's Comical Masterclass

What is it about Bajpayee and Sensharma that you can write that hasn't been said before with the sheer brilliance that they bring every time they are on-screen? I mean, with Bajpayee, the man is legitimately like a chameleon just with the range he has shown ranging from The Family Man to Gulmohar to Joram and now Killer Soup. I don't know about others, but I want Bajpayee to win every award possible for the comical genius he has portrayed here. The show is what it is in terms of being hilariously dark, mainly at the expense of Bajpayee, who lends a subtle cartoon-like naivete and stupidity to his performance throughout. He almost plays second fiddle to Sensharma, but in a way that he never goes out of focus.

Konkona Sensharma For The Win

Konkona Sensharma For The Win

Chaubey has inserted so much hilarity, and that too in such facinorous situations that you almost question yourself laughing while understanding the gravity of the situation. And then, of course, is the woman herself- Konkona Sen Sharma. This freaking legend probably gets the role of a lifetime when it comes to Hindi entertainment, as she is the door to this absurdity of Killer Soup and also your hook throughout. She continues to have you question your morality, almost never wondering if it's worth it. There are scenes where Sensharma commands with panache, gets vulnerable with genuineness, and scares you with the heights she will go to for a particular result. A given now that the woman is magnificent even though you already expected it. When legends like Bajpayee and Sensharma wow you despite the obvious expectation that they will shine in anything they do - that indicates their brilliance even more. Watch out for this one scene where it almost feels like her transforming, and it involves Lucas (Lal), a seemingly huge right-hand man to Arvind Shetty (Sayaji Shinde), who is Prabhakar's brother, a corrupt and uncouth businessman, trying to take his 'niece' Apeksha (Anula Navlekar) away. Sensharma's change of facial expressions is mesmerising.

A Few Problems


Killer Soup does have the quintessential problems that a web series faces, especially here in India. The length. Clocking eight episodes with an average of 45 minutes each, the long runtime isn't justified enough where an array of situations seem fillers just to stretch the matters to a wondrous extent. The incompetence of senior authorities in a police department is never quite given redemption, which makes things rather easy. The introduction of Prabhakar and Swathi's son, Sandy, is understandable but isn't given any substantial development and, hence, doesn't lend much to the overall outcome. It isn't that you aren't hooked, but it tests your grasp with slow burns that probably weren't needed as much. For a show that is so intricate and detailed with non-linear storytelling, the length could have been so much shorter.

The Verdict

The Verdict

Killer Soup revels in the detailing it possesses and presents rather than trying to make a point, and that's fine. Because it never stops being entertaining, gripping and absolutely bananas. Some of the finest talents include new finds (for the masses) like Anula Navlekar playing Apeksha aka Appu, Anbuthasan playing Thuppali, and others make Killer Soup a delicious broth to devour, but just like that secret ingredient in the show, it needs those doses of brilliance and a bit of deranged madness to make it spicy, tangy and a memorable experience. Don't put it in excess, or it might be the last time you drink/eat a soup.

Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)

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Konkona Sen Sharma Thumbnail

Konkona Sen Sharma

Manoj Bajpayee Thumbnail

Manoj Bajpayee

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Vishal Bhardwaj Thumbnail

Vishal Bhardwaj

Abhishek Chaubey Thumbnail

Abhishek Chaubey

Killer soup poster

Killer soup

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Comments (1)

I hope to see this movie soon

1 months ago

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