The 2024 Hindi Netflix production happens to be Abhishek Chaubey’s black comedy crime thriller series Killer Soup, which, along with starring some extremely credible actors, also comes with an interesting premise. Current housewife and aspiring chef Swathi Shetty finds herself in a terrible fix when her husband finds out about her illicit love affair with boyfriend Umesh Pillai. In the heat of the moment, the very expected happens, and Swathi seems to find a solution in the fact that both men have similar facial features. Some more characters and their branching problems and solutions pan out the extent of Killer Soup, making it a fairly enjoyable watch.
Plot Summary: What is Netflix’s Series about?
Set in the city of Mainjur, Killer Soup begins with introductions to the Shetty household, which comprises a seemingly loving couple, Swathi and Prabhakar. As the man of the family, Prabhakar, or Prabhu, as he is endearingly called, wakes up on this particular morning, Swathi carefully cooks up trotter soup for his breakfast. But it is soon learned that preparing the same dish has been a regular practice of Swathi, and the reason for it is revealed, too. Although a housewife at present, Swathi Shetty intends to become a chef and run her own restaurant in Mainjur, for cooking is definitely her favorite hobby. She has even been secretly going over to the shady part of town to receive culinary training from a woman mysteriously known only as Khansama. Swathi has also been requesting Prabhu to give her some money to start her own business, but the husband is not very trusting of this plan. He does not hesitate to remind his wife about how she was just a lowly nurse who had been rescued from a life of mediocrity by him.
In fact, there are some other troubles for Prabhu, too, for he has been keeping a secret from his elder brother, Arvind. The Shetty family, primarily Arvind, runs an influential and powerful business named Rising Sun, the main operation of which is a successful drug trade. But the younger brother, Prabhu, has not been able to build any successful career, and at present, he wants to launch a construction business for a luxury resort, which he has aptly named Last Resort. Prabhu wants Arvind to invest in his project, and therefore, he arranges for a lavish party on the occasion of his elder brother’s birthday. However, Prabhu has already stolen an exorbitant amount of money from the Rising Sun business, and only Swathi knows about it so far. Despite the tight-knit secret, Prabhu Shetty has been on the receiving end of a blackmail plan, as he has been receiving threats about the matter.
Prabhu has hired a private detective, Kiran Nadar, to find out who the blackmailer is, and the man’s search has incidentally led him to track his client’s wife, Swathi. It is soon revealed that Swathi has been having an extra-marital affair with a masseur named Umesh Pillai, and Nadar manages to photograph the two together. But Swathi manages to find out about it and snatches the camera away right before Nadar gets killed in a freak road accident. She headed back home and called Umesh to the place in a panic-stricken manner, believing that Prabhu would spend the night away. However, Prabhu’s night with Arvind is ruined when the brother refuses to invest anything in the Last Resort project, and so he returns home early.
Naturally, as the plot would suggest, Prabhu finds out about the affair that his wife is involved in and physically assaults her. In the spur of the moment, Umesh strikes Prabhu in order to save Swathi, and he unknowingly kills the man. Swathi and Umesh therefore find themselves in a horrible fix, until the woman spots an uncanny resemblance between the two men and decides to place Umesh in her life, replacing her dead husband.
How do multiple characters start blackmailing each other?
The theme of blackmail gradually starts to appear in layers in Killer Soup, as multiple characters threaten each other with secret information that they manage to get hold of somehow. To begin with, the perpetrator blackmailing Prabhakar about the money he had stolen from Arvind was the only individual who got in close proximity to both the Shetty brothers on a regular basis. Prabhu and Arvind often visited a local massage center in order to release stress, and the place was incidentally run by Umesh Pillai himself. Umesh could naturally overhear the brothers’ conversations, and although he pretended to not know Hindi, this was just a part of his cover. In reality, Umesh was from Odisha and had moved to Mainjur only to escape a false police case filed against him due to gambling debts.
Thus, when Swathi told Umesh about how Prabhu had stolen money from Arvind, the masseur started to blackmail his lover’s husband. This is a surprise for Swathi, too, and Umesh keeps claiming that he had done it only so that he could steal money from the Shetty family and run away with his beloved, with whom he wanted to start a new life somewhere else. But it is also most probable that Umesh wanted to gamble with part of the money, for he was still regularly visiting gambling dens in Mainjur, having even gathered debt in his name. When Prabhu dies, and Umesh has to take his position, pretending to be the younger Shetty brother, he tells Arvind about the blackmail but lies about the reason, stating that the masseur had found out about Rising Sun’s involvement in drugs.
While Umesh, posing to be Prabhu, manages to control this situation, a second difficulty arises when he and Swathi start getting blackmailed by a new entity. It seems clear that this perpetrator has also suddenly learned of the missing funds from the Rising Sun business, and it ultimately turns out to be Arvind’s daughter, Apeksha. The young woman, who always wanted to pursue an arts degree abroad, had been forced by her father to join the family business and look after the accounts. Although Apeksha was given only a menial job to do, her curiosity took over, and she finally found out how her uncle, Prabhakar, had been stealing money from the business. Therefore, Apeksha starts to blackmail the couple, with the intention of gathering enough money for her to escape Mainjur by herself and settle abroad.
Things turn around when Swathi figures out Apeksha’s plans, and the young woman immediately changes her plan, roping in her aunt and uncle (as she believes Umesh to be) in it. She convinces the couple to use her as blackmail against Arvind, and Umesh tells his brother that his daughter has been kidnapped by goons. Arvind hands him the ransom money, but he goes over to his brother’s house to clear his doubts and finds out about the plan against him. An argument follows, in which Apeksha unwillingly shoots her father, and incidentally, a woman named Kirtima records this entire scene on her mobile phone. Kirtima was an accountant for the Last Resort project, and she had been involved in an illicit affair with her boss, Prabhakar Shetty. When Umesh makes the switch, Kirtima tries to seduce him again, believing him to be Prabhu, and when things do not work her way, she starts to blackmail Swathi, threatening to take the video to the police unless she lets Prabhu be with her.
On the other side, Arvind’s most trusted henchman and supposed brother-in-law, Charles Lucas, finds the photographs of Swathi and Umesh, and he desires to use this for blackmail as well. However, Lucas does not do so only because Apeksha’s safety is on the line, as Swathi threatens to tell the woman about some secret that she knows. Lucas agrees to work for Swathi and help her solve the whole problem only so that Apeksha is kept safe and in the dark about a secret from her past.
What is the secret behind Apeksha’s birth?
It had been common knowledge in the Shetty family that Apeksha’s mother, meaning Arvind’s wife, had passed away during childbirth. The woman has always been told that her father had done everything he could in order to save her mother, but this has seemingly been a lie. During the climactic family argument, Arvind states that he had actually been very neglectful towards his wife, leaving her alone in Mainjur during her childbirth while he was away on business. However, this statement is challenged by Swathi, who claims to have overheard arguments between the couple that seem to suggest that Arvind might have either killed his own wife or had intentionally done nothing to prevent her death.
After his marriage, Arvind found out that his wife was not who she had been claimed to be, for the woman had a very intense love affair, and she had also gotten pregnant from this affair. Going by the hints in Killer Soup, Charles Lucas is not the maternal uncle of Apeksha, but he is most probably the woman’s father. Lucas and Arvind’s wife had been lovers, which the businessman found out about after his marriage, but he had decided to raise the child, Apeksha, as his own daughter. Therefore, Lucas was not the brother of the wife, but he was actually the helpless ex-lover, with whom she had gotten pregnant. Only in order to stay close to his daughter, Apeksha, Lucas pretends to be her maternal uncle. It is not entirely clear as to whether Arvind knew who Apeksha’s biological father was. Dialogues, in which Arvind reminds Lucas that he is not the father and in which Lucas warns Arvind to not physically harm Apeksha, can suggest both possibilities. It is also very possible that Lucas had presented himself to Arvind as the brother of his wife, while he and his lover had planned this entire thing, so that they could stay close even after her marriage with the businessman.
Why does Inspector Hassan keep seeing Thupalli’s ghost?
Throughout most of the duration of Killer Soup, the senior police inspector, Hassan, keeps seeing the ghost of his slain younger colleague, Assistant Sub-Inspector Thupalli. It was Thupalli who started the investigation into the mysterious death of Kiran Nadar, and he was on the way to finding important clues, too, when the young man fell to his death while trying to catch Swathi. Hassan had been very close to the junior policeman, seeing a great future as a detective in him, and the loss affected the man tremendously. Thus, when Hassan starts his own investigation into the matter, he keeps seeing Thupalli wearing the same rain jacket as the one he was last wearing, with water dripping from his body since he had drowned in the river.
Interestingly, whenever Thupalli appears in front of Hassan, the latter finds very important clues regarding the case, and a book of poetry he found in Thupalli’s room also helps him in the process. The hardworking Thupalli had been studying in order to crack higher positions in the police service, and a textbook of English poetry came to Hassan’s aid. As he sees Thupalli stare at him and recite symbolic lines of poetry, the senior inspector progresses in the case, first finding the incinerated corpse and then also finding a link with the Rising Sun business of the Shetty family. It is Hassan’s own conscience and detective instincts that keep appearing in the form of Thupalli, in a very indirect form of respect for the younger colleague, who, Hassan knows for sure, would have solved the case. Towards the end of the series, Hassan even finds the photographs of Swathi and Umesh, which would be crucial in solving the case, but the photos get destroyed because Lucas had intentionally put glue on them. Hassan is tremendously frustrated at this final turn, as he is unable to catch the perpetrators even now.
What happens to Swathi and Umesh?
During Killer Soup’s ending, the police get their hands on the DNA report, which ascertains that the buried body was not of Umesh Pillai. During his investigation through the outskirts of the city, Hassan also came across the shop from where Swathi had bought the acid that she used to maim Umesh’s face. From the shopkeeper, Hassan finds out about the couple and finally figures out that Swathi Shetty has been going around with Umesh Pillai, buying the strongest acid available in the market. In order to confront and catch the woman, Hassan and his loyal constable Asha go over to Swathi’s house, where a grand inauguration of her restaurant is being held.
However, things go from bad to worse at this event when Umesh accidentally consumes an excess of grinded wild mushrooms that Khansama had used in the soup preparation. As a result, the man gets into a semi-drugged state and reveals the truth about his identity in public. But before the police can take any action, Umesh coughs up blood profusely as a result of the mushroom, which is fatal if consumed in large quantities. While Hassan and the other police officers present at the party rush in to help Umesh and put him inside a car, Swathi makes use of the distraction in order to escape the place.
Swathi goes over to the nearest cliffside, and before Hassan can reach her and arrest the woman, she jumps off, killing herself. Umesh is also seen missing from the police car before the ending scenes of Killer Soup show him and Swathi reuniting on a bus going away from Mainjur. But this bus is not just for departure from the city but from reality too, for this is certainly the realm of the dead, where the two lovers are finally reunited. Umesh must have crawled out of the car in his dying moments, but he will definitely meet his end very soon. As the two lovers finally set out on their dream of a new life together, the only other individual seen in this eerily empty world happens to be ASI Thupalli, making it clear that this is definitely the imaginary realm of the dead.