Khufiya Review | This Spy Thriller Consistently Gives You Hope but Can’t Really Deliver

Khufiya from Vishal Bhardwaj, his second OTT release in a span of one week, is pretty eventful when you look at the script. It is something that I felt could have really looked enticing as a series, as it had some really peculiar characters and interesting interpersonal dynamics. Based on Escape to Nowhere by Amar Bhushan, Khufiya is one spy thriller that will give you hope at regular intervals but will never really hit that sweet spot.

Krishna Mehra, aka KM, is our central character, and she is a RAW agent. She worked in Bangladesh for RAW and had a relationship that was beyond the professional association. However, the diplomatic war caused a lot of pain for KM as she lost that link in Bangladesh. We see how KM’s investigation to find who really betrayed her from the agency goes and how that investigation catapulted into something big.

The empathetic nature of Krishna Mehra is the humanizing element of this movie. She is playing a character who is pretty much playing this leader/mentor figure to two women who are willing to associate with her out of necessity. Co-written by Rohan Nerula with Bhardwaj, the intent is to find a balance between a spy thriller and an emotional drama. In the movie’s second half, when you see what Wamiqa Gabbi’s character is prepared to do, you will be reminded of Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi. But the balance is not really captivating all the time, and either the spy act or the emotional angle of the story will overpower the script for a bit too long.

As Krishna Mehra, Tabu gets to play this character who is tough on the outside and has a lot going on inside, which makes her an atypical agent with sensitivity, and the actress was good in that role. In terms of scope to perform, it was actually Charlie Chopra Wamiqa Gabbi, who had got the best role in the movie as Charu. If you look at the film, Charu had a big journey, and Gabbi performed that character’s highs and rock bottoms very effectively. As the husband, Ali Fazal pulls off that character’s shady side believably. Azmeri Haque Badhon manages to have that charm and also was able to create a lingering pain through her character. Ashish Vidyarthi, Atul Kulkarni, Navnindra Behl, Alexx O’Nell, and Shataf Figar are the other names in the cast.

As I said in the beginning, the film had the scope to be a mini-series as we explore characters and find parallels in their stories. The equation between Krishna and her family, how Ravi’s mother became such a person, the backstory of Charu, etc., would have got some more space in the series format. In fact, there are many points in the film where you would anticipate the screen to fade into an end-of-episode credits to roll. The cinematography by Farhad Ahmed Dehlvi prefers to place Khufiya as a genre film, and you can see the movie having a very evident color pattern in most of the sequences. 

As a 157-minute-long film, a lot is happening in Khufiya, and it is wobbling between being emotional and pretty job-oriented. Somewhere, I felt this contrast in emotions was restricting the film from being a solid genre film. If you look at the way the mother-in-law character is acting materialistically in the film, you would really wish the movie to have an irreverent tone. With some quality performances and a fairly okay plot, Khufiya is a passable spy thriller with fewer surprises and more emotions.

Final Thoughts

Based on Escape to Nowhere by Amar Bhushan, Khufiya is one spy thriller that will give you hope at regular intervals but will never really hit that sweet spot.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.