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However, Bollywood spy thriller “Khufiya” takes a moment to get going. The first 70 minutes of this Hindi language thriller covers 157 minutes and tells a story about an Indian, Pakistani spy network that is spying on and protecting against them. They mostly serve as introductions for the characters and their relationships with each other. Once established these characters settle into their prescribed roles. But you may be wondering how quickly 70 minutes can pass by or if what follows does necessitate such a long build up. Yes, in general.

“Khufiya” doesn’t venture far from the standard tropes of post-Graham Greene and post-John le Carré espionage fiction where the characters are not beyond their genre. Rather, director Vishal Bhardwaj (“Rangoon,” “Omkara”), who worked with Rohan Narula on adapting Amar Bhushan’s novel, suggests interconnections between people’s lives that are either forcibly concealed or surprisingly important to various Indian spies and their vast array of informants, allies and other double agents.

Four words: puns suck eggs! Then comes death by cutlery. Heena Rehman (Azmeri Haque), a volunteer spy for India’s foreign intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is killed by Saqlain Mirza (Shataf Figar), a Pakistan ambassador who inserts a fork in her neck in 2004. Just after describing her facial features through an unidentified voiceover narrator who points out where she has been marked at her throat leading to one of the clunkiest dramatic transitions this year; “In fact there was another mole in our lives.” The ensuing tale also seems like it was made for busy fathers with short attention spans.

Heena proposed helping the narrator Krishna Mehra (Tabu), RAW agent workaholic in 2001 while Mehra leads an investigation to expose whoever alerted Mirza of Heena in 2004. Indian bureaucrat Ravi Mohan (Ali Fazal) is suspected of selling classified documents, and his bubbly housewife, Charu (Wamiqa Gabbi), is presumed to be his courier. Mehra observes the Mohans from the inside and outside of their apartment. She seems to lose so much time watching Charu that it seems like Charu does nothing except run errands and sometimes dance as if no one is watching.

Mehra takes up shifts on guard after shifts on guard with Michael (Shashi Bhushan), Geeta his wife (Priyanka Setia). Mehra still ends up looking at Charu and her husband for such long periods and so focused that it ultimately puts off both Shashank her average but impassive husband( Atul Kulkarni)and Vikram her teenage son(Global actor).

How “Khufiya” appears to you relies on how much importance you give the turns and developments that serve as a bridge between one half of the story to another. We can conclude from this brief but very important middle episode, that film is more character-driven than plot-driven, which Bhardwaj’s fans might be prepared for already. Violence and betrayals are out of place and soapy here because all characters enact subsidiary roles in the darkened arena of power politics. Anyway, it should be known and it can only be guessed.

Bhardwaj subtly suggests his movie’s intelligence with Vikram’s performance in an early scene where he gives him a monologue as Brutus from “Julius Caesar.” “Khufiya” does not often engage in such bombast towards symbolism as key relationships like Mehra’s and Heena’s are carefully elided. While the latter part of the film has more personal implications for individual characters’ alliances or betrayals than anything else, it never loses sight of what kind of movie it set out to be.

Although ‘Khufiya’ is not really a deconstructionist piece about spy thriller, yet it certainly does re-awaken readers to the things that are frequently absent or understated in stories about spies who are often depicted as lonely cogs within larger organizations that could easily stop needing them at any time. It goes with their job when they do not take things personally. This respect for professionalism is demonstrated by Bhardwaj and his colleagues when they just hint at what some characters may either fail to say or refuse admitting to themselves yet.

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