Khufiya Movie Review: Tabu and Ashish Vidyarthi steal the show in Vishal Bhardwaj’s espionage thriller

Vishal Bhardwaj's Khufiya can now be watched on Netlfix.

Himesh Mankad
Written by Himesh Mankad , Journalist
Published on Oct 05, 2023 | 12:31 PM IST | 497.2K
Tabu
Tabu and Ashish Vidyarthi deliver stand out performances in Khufiya (Credit:: Netflix)
Key Highlight
  • Khufiya is a well made espionage thriller by Vishal Bhardwaj.
  • Tabu and Ashish Vidyarthi steal the show in Vishal Bhardwaj's film
  • Khufiya is now streaming on Netflix

Name: Khufiya

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Cast: Tabu,Ali Fazal,Atul Kulkarni,Ashish Vidyarthi,Wamiqa Gabbi

Writer: Vishal Bhardwaj

Rating: 3.5

Where to watch: Netflix

Vishal Bhardwaj adapts Amar Bhushan’s best-selling novel, Escape To Nowhere, into a feature film for Netflix titled Khufiya. It stars Tabu, Ali Fazal, Wamiqa Gabbi, and Ashish Vidyarthi in key roles. Does the film live up to the expectations? Let’s find out.


Plot of Khufiya:

Khufiya is actually a multi-layered story wherein all the sub-plots come together to bring in a conclusion in the finale. The film is essentially centered around Krishna Mehra (Tabu), an operative at the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), who is assigned to track down a mole in the agency selling India’s defense secrets to the CIA. How does she approach the mission? What are the dynamics of R&AW and CIA? Who is the mole? All this and a lot more unfold in Khufiya.


What works for Khufiya? 

Vishal Bhardwaj tick-marks all the boxes that a director needs to, to bring strong source material to the screen. He packages the tale without divulging much from the core conflicts, gets credible set of actors on board, and brings in the scale by shooting at real locations. Khufiya works at multiple levels, the most important being on the script front. The film holds your attention from start to finish and makes you root for the journey of the characters. While the core plot is simplistic, focusing on a mission, there are multiple facets and backstories that bring intrigue to the proceedings.
The story moves at a fast pace, right from the Dhaka sequence to the entire episode of finding out the mole to bugging his house, and the interval block to find the real player – you are halfway through in no time. The climax is also nail-biting. The casting is perfect and kudos to the ones who got Ashish Vidyarthi to play the part of Viraj Surve.

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What doesn’t work for Khufiya?

While the early portions of Khufiya are gripping and move at a fast pace, the proceedings slow down during the US portions in the second half, which could have been taken care of on the edit table. There are some logical loopholes taking the characters, that might irk a section of Vishal Bhardwaj's audience, but the filmmaker has certainly taken the route of suspension of disbelief in the scenario. 
While the background score is solid, the music is underwhelming. There is a track involving a religious guru, which though well integrated in the plot, is not clearly defined. The story leaves you with some questions about taking the convenient path in the screenplay. 

 

Watch the Khufiya trailer


Performances in Khufiya

There’s Tabu in Hindi Films and then there is Tabu in Vishal Bhardwaj’s world. The actress plays the complex part of Krishna Mehra to perfection and delivers a memorable performance. Right from the opening scene till the end, she gets into the T of her part and displays varied emotions. There are sequences where she just lets her eyes emote and you have to watch it to believe it. Ali Fazal plays a character with grey shades and does well. He takes a little time to get the pitch right, but peaks with his performance as the story progresses. Wamiqa Gabbi gets a meaty role, with layered sub-tracks and she excels with flying color. Watch out for her split personality transition. Ashish Vidyarthi’s casting as a head of operations is a masterstroke. He has the aura of being the leader and brings in all the elements of grace and dignity to make his part look believable. Bangladeshi actress Azmeri Haque Badhon makes a stellar debut playing the part of an undercover asset to Krishna Mehra. Atul Kulkarni, Navnindra Behl, and Shataf Figar among others do well in their brief part.

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Final Verdict of Khufiya

Khufiya is a well-made espionage, which comes across as an interesting and entertaining film from Vishal Bhardwaj. There are some loopholes with the character graphs and slow pace in the US portions, however, Khufiya warrants a watch for the edge-of-the-seat moments coupled with strong performances by Tabu, Ashish Vidyarthi, Ali Fazal, and Wamiqa Gabbi among others.

ALSO READ: Khufiya star Tabu reveals barrier to women in comedy roles

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