‘Killer Soup’ True Story, Explained: How Is It Different From Real-Life Incidents?


Writers often take inspiration from real-life incidents to weave a story around them, and Abhishek Chaubey’s Killer Soup is no different. The basic premise of the Netflix series has been adapted from a real incident that took place in Nagarkurnool, Telangana, in 2017, where a wife conspired to kill her husband, Sudhakar Reddy, so that she could spend the rest of her days with her lover. The real-life M Swathi Reddy, much like its fictionalized counterpart, Swathi Shetty, used to work as a nurse at a hospital and had been having an extramarital affair with a physiotherapist named B Rajesh. Sudhakar and Swathi had been married for three years and also had a kid, but most likely, Swathi wasn’t happy in her marriage, which was why she took such a grave step. In the series, the writers connected the missing links to give an organic motive to the character. It was revealed that Sudhakar’s fictionalized version, Prabhakar Shetty, didn’t value his wife’s ambitions, who wanted to open a restaurant of her own. Instead, the man had the audacity to flirt with every second woman he laid his eyes on, which motivated Swathi to get rid of Prabhakar so that she could use his money to fulfill her own dreams.

It can be speculated that Rajesh and Swathi might have been having an affair for some time but didn’t have the courage to pull off the murder, as the police would have caught them in no time. However, while watching the 2014 Tamil film Yevadu, the lovers got an idea about plastic surgery. While the film itself is quite over-the-top, it served its purpose, as plastic surgery was the most viable way to replace someone, but only if their physical attributes and other features were somewhat similar. According to Swathi’s statement given to the police, the lovers even consulted a plastic surgeon before committing the perfect crime.

As the lovers were certain of their success, they finally set the plan in motion and injected Sudhakar with anesthesia in order to turn the man unconscious. Later, Rajesh and Swathi used an iron rod and hit Sudhakar on the head in order to confirm the kill. A similar event took place in the Netflix series where Prabhakar raised his hands on his wife, and the lover, Umesh Pillai, hiding in the house, couldn’t hold back his anger and hit Prabhu so hard that he fell unconscious on the spot. However, in this case, Prabhu didn’t die, but Swathi and Umesh believed that they had killed the man and, therefore, tried to dispose of Prabhu’s body as quickly as possible.

In real life, the lovers took Sudhakar’s body to a forest and burned it there in order to cover up their tracks, which is something that we see in the Netflix series too. However, the real predicament for Rajesh and Swathi was hiding Sudhakar’s death so that Rajesh could take his place, and therefore, for the most tricky part of their plan, Swathi poured some acid on her lover’s face with the intention of disfiguring it so that Sudhakar’s relatives couldn’t tell the difference. We don’t know much about Rajesh’s physical attributes, but the two men in Swathi’s life must have had a similar bone structure, which was why their plan worked temporarily. However, in the Netflix series, the creators took some creative liberties and made Prabhu and Umesh look similar so that the latter could easily replace Swathi’s husband. The writers did take inspiration from the real-life incident and employed the use of acid to transform Umesh into Prabhu. Umesh had a squint in one of his eyes, and he poured some acid on it in order to hide his birth defects, but in the process, he burned himself completely, after which he was hospitalized.

As per the real-life events, Swathi informed Sudhakar’s parents and relatives that some unknown men had attacked her husband, because of which he was admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad. At the hospital, when doctors examined the burn victim, they quickly suggested plastic surgery, therefore giving a green signal to the lovers’ intricate plan. But even though Swathi had fooled Sudhakar’s close ones with her words, it was Rajesh’s actions that got her caught. As per the reports, Rajesh was a pure vegetarian, which was in complete contrast to Swathi’s deceased husband. When Sudhakar’s relatives served Rajesh some paya soup in the hospital for his speedy recovery, the man refused it, paving the way for a series of suspicions. The parents and relatives didn’t waste a moment and quickly informed the authorities, who arrested the wife and took her for interrogation, where Swathi, under immense police pressure, spilled all the beans. The police quickly put Swathi behind bars while her lover was arrested after getting the necessary treatment for his facial burns.

Abhishek Chaubey’s Killer Soup does make use of “paya soup” in a comical and satirical manner. The fictionalized Swathi loved to make paya soup for her husband, Prabhu, and wanted to excel in the dish, but neither Prabhu nor Umesh could stand the sight of Swathi’s dishes. However, call it fate or karma, as in the end, it was the same “paya soup” that got Swathi caught. Swathi’s chef mentor, Khansama, had arranged some wild mushrooms for Swathi’s special dish, which elevated its taste. And for the first time in life, Umesh loved Swathi’s dish and couldn’t control himself from chugging bowls of it. At this point in the series, the man already had doubts about his relationship with Swathi, and the mushroom-filled “paya soup” acted as a catalyst and took away his ability to think rationally. In an intoxicated state, Umesh took the mic and confessed all his crimes in front of the guests who had arrived to celebrate the opening of Swathi’s new restaurant. So, the creators of the Netflix series made use of real-life elements in their story, which, in the end, acted as poetic justice for the characters. In both real and reel life, it was the “paya soup” that got the lovers caught. That said, apart from the plot points mentioned in this article, all other events portrayed in Killer Soup are entirely fictional.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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