A Simple Murder Review: Dark Humour Rules in Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub-Priya Anand’s Web Series With Terrific Turns

There is a rat in Manish’s kitchen, so what is he going to do? Well, nothing at first, till it all blows up in his face quite literally. Manish (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) is a non-starter who conjures up a failed start-up idea. He’s impatient, money-hungry, social-climbing wife Richa (Priya Anand) has given up on his schemes and promises of a bed of money, finding comfort in the company of her sleazy boss Rahul (Ayaz Khan).

A voiceover (Vijay Raaz) reminds us of the importance of coincidence and how a twist of fate can upturn a story. Such a quirk lands Manish in the wrong place where a case of mistaken identity results in him being commissioned a hit job. Writers Akhilesh Jaiswal and Prateek Payodhi explore what happens when an unqualified person, desperate to rescue a deteriorating marriage, takes on a seemingly simple murder. 

In a parallel track, Priya (Tejasvi Singh) and Usmaan (Ankur Pandey), a young couple, are on the run from a conservative politician father and an honor threat killing. A third story follows Santosh (Amit Sial), a retiring assassin, and his paramour. Manish’s mentor, a gun-for-hire (Sushant Singh), becomes the former’s style icon and reluctant partner, and Pandit (Yashpal Sharma) runs a slick and successful human extermination business. If these characters have anything in common, it is infidelity, greed, lack of integrity, and self-interest. 

Writing and scene influences skirt the borders of comic crime dramas such as Knives Out and Mr and Mrs Smith. The animated opening credits establish the Pink Panther-ish rhythm, with Karsh Kale’s music underscoring the frenzy. The actors do the rest. Sial and Singh are in their elements and get wonderful scenes to play off each other. Sharma’s Pandit is a smartly written and crackling character. Ayyub is the rope, conveying Manish’s conflicts, glee, and rite of passage, as his actions move the plot along. The rat also puts in a fine performance in this spirited caper.

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