Killer Soup: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Did Swathi and Umesh get away with it? Was Hassan able to solve the case satisfactorily?
Killer Soup: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Having made four features (Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya, Udta Punjab, and Sonchiriya) and two short films (“Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa” from Ray and “Madhyantar” from Ankahi Kahaniya) in fourteen years, Abhishek Chaubey tackled the new beast in town – streaming shows – after a brief hiatus of three years. Netflix’s Killer Soup, originally titled Soup, features a zany plot and an eclectic star cast. The show revolves around Swathi Shetty (Konkona Sen Sharma), a former nurse who fancies her skills in the kitchen, whipping up a soupy plot to replace her husband Prabhakar (Manoj Bajpayee) with her lover Umesh (also Bajpayee), the clincher being that Prabhakar and Umesh look pretty much the same aside from the latter’s squint. Except that with folks like Prabhakar’s older brother Arvind (Shinde) and an assortment of other characters, the swap isn’t as easy to pull off as she thought.

The Setup

Swathi Shetty is a woman who left nursing for the dangerous waters of being a chef. She wrongly believes she is a gifted cook. Her husband Prabhakar is her guinea pig, and an otherwise dislikeable man who at least doesn’t whine about his wife’s cooking. Instead, gazing warily at the paya soup before him, he praises how it looks before tucking in.

Chaubey bakes tension into the scene with the back-and-forth between the characters: Prabhakar snaps at Swathi about her suggestions in the business world, in which he is an old but incapable hand. Soon, he feigns an illness and disposes of the assumedly terrible paya. Swathi sees this later and smashes a plate, furious and insulted at the slight, one for which Prabhakar will pay quite dearly.

Soon we find Prabhakar in a salon getting a massage and trying to hoodwink his older brother Arvind into funding yet another business scheme he has cooked up. The man tending to Prabhakar is Umesh who, unbeknownst to the client, is his wife’s lover. But Swathi and Umesh themselves are unaware of the private detective (Bucks) Prabhakar has hired to keep tabs on her. Soon after the PI has snapped some photographs of Swathi in a locality she shouldn’t be in, he is killed in a truck accident, and Swathi makes off with his camera.

Back at the Shetty home, Prabhakar catches Swathi and Umesh together, and is killed in the scuffle that ensues, leaving the lovers in dire straits but also in a state of euphoria.

The Meat on the Bones

A police investigation is mounted into the PI’s death, and a determined officer Thupalli (Thasan) tries to get in touch with Prabhakar since his was the last call logged on the PI’s phone. A panicking Swathi decides to pass Umesh off as Prabhakar, scarring his face with cleaning acid to remove the significant discrepancies in their appearances.

Thupalli keeps digging and ultimately discovers that the woman the PI was tailing was in the area under the alias Manisha Koirala, and the phone number she used belongs to Umesh. Evidence found at the PI’s house suggests that Prabhakar had hired him because he was being blackmailed, and Thupalli starts to suspect the masseur. He runs this theory by his superior Hassan (Nasser), and the latter confirms to Swathi that her husband was being blackmailed by Umesh.

She rushes over to Umesh’s house, intent on ridding the premises of every shred of evidence that connects the two of them, but Thupalli happens to drop by just then. It just so happens, in the way it somehow always does in these shows, that he dies before he can arrest her, tumbling off a place known as Suicide Point. It is one of the key moments of the show; somewhere one feels that Chaubey has pushed one button too many, that the absurdity of the whole plot is not holding up anymore.

We then learn that Prabhakar’s niece (Arvind’s daughter) Apeksha (Anula Navlekar) — who is saddled with the job of looking after her father’s company — discovers that Prabhakar had been embezzling millions from the company. Rather than report the matter to her father, Apeksha decides to buy her way to freedom from Arvind’s clutches by blackmailing her uncle and aunt.

Thus far the “Umesh is Prabhakar” ploy has Arvind fooled, but once Apeksha’s identity as the blackmailer is discovered by Swathi, there are more people to fool. She decides to team up with her dead husband’s niece, and Umesh is packed off to Arvind with a tall tale of blackmail and a request for financial assistance.

Hassan is disturbed by Thupalli’s death and decides to look into the matter. The senior man begins to experience hallucinations featuring the deceased — another example of the show’s excesses and desire to throw everything into a single pot. 

Arvind has gotten wise to the blackmail plot after his bodyguard (Lal) uncovers evidence linking Swathi and Umesh. He calls the whole group together but before he can do any real damage, Apeksha shoots and kills him.

Digging Up the Bones

Hassan comes across Prabhakar’s body, which Umesh and Swathi had buried. He suspects, obviously, that the body is Umesh’s, but orders a DNA test nonetheless. Like Thupalli, Hassan also discovers the Manisha Koirala alias and tries to get in touch with Arvind, but the latter dies before the two can meet. Hassan does, however, discover that Swathi and Umesh once worked together at a hospital, which is where they first became acquainted with one another.

Everything appears to be coming together for Swathi: Arvind is dead, and Apeksha, who has inherited her father’s wealth, has decided to help her aunt set up the restaurant she always dreamt of. But she starts getting blackmailed again, this time by Kirtima (Kusruti), who worked for Prabhakar and was in love with him. Kirtima happens to possess incriminating evidence against Swathi, and asks her to divorce Prabhakar if she wants the matter closed. Fate, however, has other plans, as it perennially appears to in Killer Soup: Kirtima falls to her death in an echo of Thupalli’s passing, but the spree of murders and accidental deaths starts to get to Umesh, whose conscience has been rattled persistently and is now on the verge of letting everything out.

Hassan finally comes across the photographs of Swathi and Umesh, but presumes that the disguised Umesh is Prabhakar, who disfigured himself with acid on Swathi’s prompting. He even locates the offending bottle of acid but things just don’t appear to add up.

The Final Twist(s)

It appears that the chequered flag is nigh for Swathi and Umesh, as she goes out of her way to divert the investigation towards the dead Kirtima. Moreover, Swathi has found the one ingredient that she believes will make the soup she has spent episodes tweaking perfect: Wild mushrooms.

The penultimate twist in Killer Soup appears in the form of a DNA analysis, which tells Hassan that the body is not Umesh’s at all. Moreover, the acid bottle is traced to a local store, and Hassan heads to Swathi’s newly-inaugurated restaurant to close the book on the case. Alas, there he finds Umesh, high on Swathi’s mushroom-infused concoction, spilling the beans and bones of Swathi’s crimes. Before she can be arrested, though, Umesh dies as a result of consuming the mushrooms.

Towards the end of Killer Soup, Hassan pursues Swathi while Umesh is rushed to the hospital by the police. Realising that she has no possible way out of the soup of her own making, Swathi commits suicide, just as Umesh also vanishes from the vehicle in which he was being taken to the hospital. The show then cuts to a dreamy sequence of Swathi boarding a bus inside which Umesh is waiting for her, with Thupalli riding atop, thus framing it as a depiction of life after death rather than yet another twist in an already fairly knotty tale about a murder cover-up.

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