A Simple Murder is a dark-comedy TV series directed by Sachin Pathak, written by Prateek Payodhi and Akhilesh Jaiswal and stars Priya Anand, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Amit Sial and Sushant Singh.
A Simple Murder features voiceover from Vijay Raaz which is so annoying that it makes no sense. For voiceovers, you’d expect them to be consistent and have some relation to the story – atleast for it to explain something or add something to the narrative. Raaz’s voiceover comes and goes without rhyme or reason and it usually sounds extremely pretentious for you to take it seriously.
The series follows Manish, a man intending to get into the startup business but has been unlucky for five years. He and his wife live in a dilapidated flat with rats. She’s the sole bread-winner of the house and has completely given up on the relationship. Due to a twist of fate, he is assigned to murder someone, but what follows is an endless labyrinth of a comedy-of-errors situation. Will Manish be able to get out of this alive?
A Simple Murder’s premise is basic and is honestly a bag of clichés. Which can be fun, not gonna lie. Silly murder mysteries are great entertainers; however, this series is a little confused as to whether it wants to be silly or serious. The tone shifts constantly and the background music does not help in that regard. It feels like a comedy from the background score, but the overall tone shifts between absurd and deep thoughts about love and life.
The series also tries to get the social commentary angle into the picture, with love jihad becoming the focal points… until it’s not. Something as serious and pressing is taken in a very light and dismissive tone, although it’s not funny. The characters, too, feel like caricatures of people we have seen before many times.
This includes a fool of a protagonist who unwittingly gets into dangerous situations, Sushant Singh and Amit Sial as two bumbling hitmen and it’s kinda embarrassing to watch them make a fool out of themselves. We also have the cliched “idiot cop” which is done to death and simply is not funny anymore. Priya Anand plays the wife whose role is a bit confusing and does not really pick out what she wants to achieve.
With only seven episodes, A Simple Murder feels so dragged out, especially the last few episodes. The pace and the tone just don’t work in favour of the subject matter and the narrative, which, thus, suffers. More often than not you’ll wish the series was shorter. It’s a shame because it has some fantastic talent, especially Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. It’s always a treat to see him on-screen and seeing him play the lead is great. However, the end product is probably not that fruitful. The other cast members, too, regulars in TV shows and movies, do what they can with what they are given but it does not work in anyone’s favour.
Summing up: A Simple Murder
A Simple Murder’s storyline is cliched, and something you’ll be able to figure out not too deep into the runtime. The dark comedy series could’ve benefitted from a tighter and a more well-rounded screenplay and characters who actually have some substance. Its lack of proper pacing and tone are things that gravely affect the overall engagement of the audience with the plot. It’s not to say that the series does not bring out light chuckles here and there, but it’s too less, and the runtime too long.
The series relies heavily on the suspension of disbelief. However, it tries to drive the point home too aggressively and loses its path along the way. It’s a funny one-time watch, but anymore more might bring in a few groans.
A Simple Murder is streaming on SonyLIV.
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