Khufiya movie review & film summary (2023)

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Mehra takes shifts watching the Mohans, working with fellow spies like Michael (Shashi Bhushan) and his wife Geeta (Priyanka Setia). Mehra still winds up staring at Charu and her husband so often and so intently that it winds up alienating both her teenage son Vikram (Meet Vohra), an aspiring stage actor, and her stolid but otherwise unremarkable husband Shashank (Atul Kulkarni).

Time passes, but not much happens for about 70 minutes. After that, Mehra’s assignment changes focus and inevitably becomes more personal. Without revealing too much, let’s just say that Mehra and Charu’s relationship takes on greater significance during the back half of “Khufiya,” which adds retrospective weight and successive importance to her and Charu’s actions. A new surveillance operation begins, emphasizing previously incidental side characters, like Ravi’s mom, Lalita (Navnindra Behl), and her spiritual adviser, Yaara ji (Rahul Ram).

Your reaction to “Khufiya” depends largely on how much significance you put on the developments and twists that build a transition from one half of the plot to the next. This brief but crucial middle section of the movie adds greater emphasis to the character-driven nature of this drama, a shift that Bhardwaj’s fans will probably already be anticipating. We only know so much about these characters and how they relate to each other because they could break out of their routines at any time. Violence and betrayals are jarring and sudsy here because everybody acts out supporting roles on the shadowy stage of statecraft. It’s the little people who can and eventually do surprise you anyway.

Bhardwaj hints at his movie’s lightly worn intelligence in an early scene, where Vikram performs a brief soliloquy as Brutus in “Julius Caesar.” That ostentatious flirting with symbolic meaning doesn’t happen often in “Khufiya” since key relationships, like the bond between Mehra and Heena, are carefully and deliberately elided. There are more heavy personal implications to the various characters’ alliances and betrayals during the movie’s back half, but never so many that the movie stops being exactly the kind of movie it always presented itself as.


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