Mukhbir review: One of the most compelling spy thrillers in recent times
What: Mukhbir - embellished with a solid star cast, Mukhbir is one of the most compelling spy thrillers in recent times
Ott web series Mukhbir synopsis
Mukhbir, helmed by Shivam Nair, takes us back to the 60s when the Indo Pak relations were severely tense and tumultuous, after the 1962 war. During this thick of times, our IB (Intelligence Bureau) was struggling with the loss of 'Assets' , the spies implanted in Pakistan. We are told that in the last 2 years, three of its agents were caught.
While the agency's deputy director, S K S Moorthy( Prakash Raj) is under tremendous pressure to recruit a capable Intel, further agonized by his cynical superior, Chief Ramkishore Negi (Adil Hussain).
A small time tyre thief, Kamran Baksh (Zain Khan Durrani) comes to his rescue. It is the tale of such unsung heroes who sacrificed their life for the country, who jumped into such deadly mission without much contemplation or jingoistic fervour.
Kamran is charmingly smart, has innocence oozing out of his face but his actions are unassumingly deceptive like a chameleon. The needy guy is the perfect candidate to fill Moorthy's requirement and is dispatched to the dangerous alleys of Pakistan in the guise of a lost and found guy who belonged to a family of restaurant runners that had got burnt in a fire accident.
Kamran's transformation into Harfan is deeply troublesome where danger and death lurk at each corner. Shivam and co-director Jayprad Desai build his journey with impeccable finesse, peppering it with intrigue and some nail-biting urgency. Mukhbir essentially keeps you riveted with its solid writing that is inspired from Malay Dhar's novel, 'Mission to Pakistan' and engrossing screenplay ( Arshad Syyed, Vaibhav Modi and Karan Oberoi) that competency balances the emotional heft with the potboiler moments.lt also boasts of production design (Ravi Srivastava) and some swoopy camerawork (Dimo Popov) that recreates the 60s era and it's ethos so intricately!
Essentially ticking all the check boxes in the character's arc, Zain Khan brings in an unmistakable vulnerability to Harfan. He has an infectious smile which he leverages to his benefit. Nair, who made Special Ops 1.5 and Naam Shabana earlier, surrounds him with a stellar cast that comprises Prakash Raj, Adil Hussain, Harsh Chhaya and Satyajeet Misra.
The actress brigade- Zoya Afroz and Barkha Bisht render sincere performances.
Unlike the meticulously made Raazi which humanized our enemies, Nair's universe of Pakistan surveillance reeks of antagonistic personnel’s, that constitutes a terrific actor like Dilip Dhankar playing Colonel Zaidi, Atul Kumar playing the slimy brigadier and Sushil Pandey as the devious Qasim. I was also pleasantly amazed to see a set of actors from the bygone DD Era, like Vijay Kashyap and Natasha Sinha!
I go with 4 stars out of 5 for Mukhbir. It is one of the detailed and deeply researched spy thrillers to have landed on the OTT in recent times.
Mukhbir is produced by Victor Tango Entertainment and steams on Zee5 from 11th November 2022.