A Simple Murder
Cast: Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Priya Anand, Sushant Singh, Amit Sial, Ayaz Khan, Gopal Dutt
Director: Sachin Pathak
A man with a relatively bad luck that pushes him into sticky situation, makes a call that changes his life. What follows is a string of events woven out of betrayals, crime, greed and love. Sachin Pathak’s A Simple Murder is a show that I binge-watched overnight, and even if it was two episodes too long, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
A Simple Murder is a story with a plotline a little difficult to explain since so many things happen at the same time. It is essentially the story of Manish (Ayub), a man whose start-up refuses to start. His wife Richa (Anand) goes to work, and make sure her husband knows it. She is someone who loves the idea of having a lot of money, so much so that she wants a garland made out of Rs 2000 currency notes. There’s a constant bickering happening between the two as they struggle to make ends meet in their two-room apartment.
The show doesn’t dwell much on their struggles, and we quickly see who they will eventually be pitted against–an expert hitman, Santosh, played by Amit Sial. Santosh has no ounce of emotion when he is at work, as is apparent when he sends a little girl back to a burning house.
The story gets into motion when Manish goes into the wrong building and is mistaken for a hitman by Pandit Ji, an astrologer and spiritual adviser. He gives him the commission to commit an honour killing of a young girl who has run away with her lover. Manish is in too deep to reveal who he is now, especially when he has a sum of Rs 5 lakh on the table in front of him. This is when he makes the decision that is going to change his life.
The thing about A Simple Murder is that this is still not the ‘beginning of the story.’ It is probably the good and bad thing about the show. While we are constantly on the edge of the seat because something is about to happen, but by the penultimate episode most of these things feel irrelevant and a ploy to make the series too long. Too many people are cheating and betraying each other. That shouldn’t be the case for an episode that is only 30-minute long.
The show’s strength lies in its comedy, and it has been marketed as such. However, when the genre reads ‘dark comedy’ instead of ‘thriller’, the audience keeps expecting that dark comedy. If the show was marketed as a thriller instead, the humour would have come as a wonderful surprise. It has been written intelligently and characters like Himmat (Sushant Singh) only add to the humour. However, I would have liked it more if I didn’t know it beforehand.
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub is always a good actor, even in films where he didn’t have much to work with. In this show, it is evident that he was made to play the leading man. He switches from lovable to terrifying in such less time. In scenes when he is on the verge of a breakdown, it is difficult to look at anyone else. This is commendable because the show is bejewelled with seasoned performers, be it Amit Sial, Sushant Singh, Yashpal Sharma or Gopal Dutt.
Priya Anand’s Richa at first feels like someone who doesn’t capture your attention much, but that is probably intentional because she eventually ends up surprising you. It is nice to see her shades, because the show in itself is testosterone-laden. There are probably three female characters, all exceptional, but it is still show made from the male gaze.
A Simple Murder is a show that you would like, more often than not. It is a perfect show if you are looking for something that ends in a few hours. Mentally prepare yourself for some amount of violence. But since most of us are used to it by now, you are good to go.