In the span of a week, Vishal Bhardwaj has treated us with two of his creations.
The first was Charlie Chopra, which released on SonyLiv recently.
And the latest is Khufiya, a spy thriller, now streaming on Netflix.
Similar to his previous outings, Khufiya is also an adaptation of a novel.
Moreover, the Hindi language movie caters to the suspense genre.
With a duration of over two and a half hours, Khufiya, starring some prominent Bollywood actors, presents itself as the perfect film to binge upon.
But does it deliver? Here is my review.
An Indian spy’s unexpected death leads to shocking revelations of a mole within India’s premier intelligence unit.
To avenge the crime, a hardened agent leads the charge against the traitor.
Helmed by Vishal Bhardwaj, Khufiya stars Tabu (Krishna Mehra), Ali Fazal (Ravi Mohan), Wamiqa Gabbi (Charu), Ashish Vidyarthi (Jeev), Atul Kulkarni (Shashank), and others.
The movie is based on Amar Bhushan’s Novel, Escape to Nowhere.
What Works for Khufiya?
A spy, a murder, and a mole. Mostly, we are used to seeing Indian agencies send their agents to infiltrate terror groups and gain vital information to prevent untoward incidents in the country.
Khufiya flips the table. It brings a fresh narrative of a double agent inside India’s own intelligence agency.
Obviously, the idea is not original and has been drawn from a novel.
Still, the intrigue of this backdrop works beautifully on the screen.
As a result, you are exposed to a thrilling first half with suspense and mystery.
At a point, I thought why didn’t Khufiya look for a theatrical release (I found the reason later on).
It felt really stimulating and fulfilling in the initial hour.
The movie’s screenplay gives way to buildups that carry an enigmatic outlook.
Since the storyline is intricate, the infusion of flashbacks, dark ambiance, and music allow for a wholesome screenplay.
There are a few songs in Khufiya, all composed by Vishal Bhardwaj, including Mat Aana, Mann Na Rangaave, Bujhee Bujhee, Tanhaai Hai, and Naa Hosh Chaley.
The one that truly stood out for me was Mat Aana, sung by Rekha Bhardwaj.
Her soulful vocals, combined with poignant lyrics and a touch of melancholy, create a heart-wrenching musical experience.
How are the Performances?
Tabu effortlessly embodies the essence of Tabu, showcasing once again that there’s no such thing as a subpar Tabu performance.
Regardless of the role she undertakes, she infuses it with a magnetic charm that leaves you enamored with the character.
In Khufiya, where she portrays an Intelligence agent, her skills are on full display.
Bhardwaj has entrusted her with the movie’s leadership, making her the queen who has to take care of her queendom.
Her presence exudes authority, effortlessly commanding the screen.
Ali Fazal plays Ravi Mohan in Khufiya and astounds the audience with his stylishly hatched act. His superb dialogue delivery positively overshadows other brilliant aspects of Ali’s performance.
Wamiqa Gabbi fully evolves in the second half of Khufiya. Coming on the heels of Charlie Chopra, with the same director, she completely transforms in comparison.
The only similarity I could notice was her hairstyle in the second half with that of Charlie’s. Don’t tell me one of these movies had to accommodate the same due to the other’s technicalities?
Her expressions and volatility are the standout traits of Gabbi’s outing.
Ashish Vidyarthi doesn’t get much screen time but his adept skills give you pleasure in every frame.
What Doesn’t Work for Khufiya?
Unfortunately, when you are eagerly waiting for all the hopes of adrenaline rush to materialize, Khufiya falls flat.
The tension and buildups of the first half wane from the surface in the second.
Pace, screenplay, the intrigue, all factors see a downward spiral.
I feel they could have introduced a different angle rather than going for the obvious.
It simply didn’t leave much on the plate to work with.
The story feels empty and gets restricted to a set of individuals. The scope of the idea doesn’t seem as big as it did initially.
There are no loopholes in the first half of the movie as such.
Maybe, it gave way to high expectations, eventually leading to a dismal experience.
Stream or Skip?
Khufiya is watchable but not in its entirety. You are bound to experience a setback in the film’s later stages. So, decide accordingly.