Khufiya: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Is Charu able to reunite with her son? Does KM avenge her lover?
Khufiya: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Five years after having directed a film that compared warring siblings to India and Pakistan (Pataakha, 2018), Vishal Bhardwaj returned to the director’s chair. Having delivered an Agatha Christie adaptation in Charlie Chopra and the Mystery of Solang Valley earlier in the year, Bhardwaj turned his attention to more contemporary Indian fiction for his next.

Khufiya drew from the Amar Bhushan novel Escape to Nowhere (2012), which itself was inspired by true events. Bhardwaj co-wrote the film with Rohan Narula, and co-produced it with Rekha Bhardwaj for Netflix. The production reunited him with Tabu, who had played key roles in Maqbool (2004) and Haider (2014), and the film co-starred Wamiqa Gabbi, Ali Fazal, Ashish Vidyarthi, Navnindra Bahl, Atul Kulkarni, Azmeri Haque Badhon, and Shataf Figar.

The Mole

The year is 2004. The peace process that has commenced in the corridors of Delhi makes no difference to the spooks of Lodhi Road, who remain as vigilant as ever for attempts to destabilise the subcontinent. One such trigger could be the ascent of the Bangladesh Army officer Brigadier Saqlain Mirza (Figar), but the assassin (Badhon) sent by the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is killed by Mirza, who wisens up to the designs of external forces.

In Delhi, Krishna Mehra (Tabu), or KM, is devastated: The operation has collapsed and she has lost her lover (the assassin) too. In walks her colleague Jeev (Vidyarthi) with the news that there appears to be a mole in their organisation. He tasks KM with locating the leak and she quickly zooms in on her primary suspect: Captain Ravi Mohan, formerly of the Indian Army and now permanently with the R&AW, whose lifestyle far outstrips the pay he is on.

Ravi lives with his elderly mother (Bahl), wife Charu (Gabbi) and son Kunal. While KM and her crew initially suspect that Charu is Ravi’s accomplice in selling state secrets, it quickly becomes clear that it is his mother, desperate for money and a luxurious life, who has encouraged him to walk this path, as well as his ideological belief that the Americans, to whom he passes information, will rid South Asia of the Taliban. 

Amidst setting up a trap to get the Mohans, KM is also battling a tumultuous personal life: She has yet to come to terms with her lover’s death, and is struggling to build a relationship with her son. Oddly, the one person who does seem to understand her is her ex-husband Shashank (Kulkarni): He urges her to be truthful to their son and to herself, to unburden her mind of all that it has been carting around over the years.

The Operation(s)

The Mohans are placed under constant surveillance lest they get wise to the counterintelligence operation mounted against them. They are watched at all hours from a nearby Mother Dairy, and there are surveillance devices in and around the house, as well as in Ravi’s office.

But Ravi, a professional spook who has concealed his treachery for a while now, gets wise to what’s happening after coming upon one of the cameras. KM and team attempt to move in while the CIA also send in their rescuers. In the chaos that unfolds, Charu learns of her husband’s deception and refuses to let him take their son with him. It is then that Ravi’s mother shoots Charu, thus allowing the three of them to get away before KM can arrive on the scene.

Upon her recovery, Charu learns that Ravi, his mother, and Kunal are now in the US, where they are being sheltered by the CIA. She pleads with KM to be injected into their lives so she can be with her son, a relationship KM wishes she too shared with her teenager. She convinces her bosses that this is the one way in which to get back at the CIA and after a training module, Charu enters the US as part of the coterie of a spiritual guru (Rahul Ram) her mother-in-law often sought out. Her ploy works, and the guru, who is doing this otherwise unsavoury task because his money is frozen by the Government of India, convinces Charu’s suspicious mother-in-law to take her back.

Ravi is initially upset, given he’s been hung out to dry by the CIA and the family barely have enough to scrape by, but Charu is deemed clean by his handlers and so the couple recommence their family life. Ravi, though, is still suspicious, and plants cameras around the house to keep an eye on Charu, who learns of his intentions through the devices she has placed in various parts of the house herself. Over time, her performance convinces Ravi that she is on the level and not out to get back at him.

The Twist

Unlike a lot of espionage films, the twist here is KM suddenly appearing to have a chat with Ravi. She convinces him to turn on the Americans, who are now courting Brigadier Mirza. Her motive is two-fold: One, she can bring Ravi back to India, thus closing the chapter on his treachery and marking a win for the R&AW, and two, she can avenge her lover’s death at Mirza’s hands.

Mirza subsequently arrives at the Mohans’ for a meal, the idea being that he will consume a curry laced with poison and die. The plan backfires when he smells a rat, and in the scuffle that follows, he kills Ravi’s mother (thus becoming, momentarily, a hero). An incensed Ravi then knocks Mirza out with a bloody blow but is stopped from killing him by KM, who lays a trap for his CIA contact to walk into. After some negotiating, which involves getting the contact to admit to being a spy for the CIA on camera, it is agreed that the contact will help get rid of Mirza’s body, staging the scene as an accident, and also ensure Ravi’s smooth passage to India.

The film ends with Jeev meeting a dishevelled but happy Ravi who has been brought to India by a cargo ship, and KM and Charu talking about their children elsewhere. At Charu’s urging, KM makes a stab at making amends with her son, starting with the truth her ex-husband urged her to reveal to him earlier.

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