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Spy review: Nikhil Siddhartha’s thriller is a preposterous blend of espionage, patriotism and action

It’s hard to choose what’s worse - the story or the storytelling

Spy review: Nikhil Siddhartha’s thriller is a preposterous blend of espionage, patriotism and action

Last Updated: 12.34 PM, Jun 29, 2023



Subhash Vardhan, a RAW officer, on a mission to kill a much-feared terrorist Qadir, loses his life under mysterious circumstances. Jay, Subhash’s sibling, follows his brother’s footsteps and is entrusted with the responsibility to nab the mastermind behind a terrorist attack in the country. What connects Qadir to Jay and the conspiracy behind Netaji’s death?


Spy does the unthinkable in an espionage thriller - blending Indo-Pak tensions, a possible Indo-China war, redemption, romance, and pre-Independence era conspiracy with a dose of science. It’s an unintentionally funny action thriller where you hear a ‘Happy Days’ number and Pushpa’s Oo...Ontava as you enter Nepal and Jordan and the lookalike of a terrorist asks for a burger when trapped by RAW officers.

The characters are constantly on the move. The director doesn’t have a film that progresses quickly but compensates for it by shifting his story from one location to the other - from Sri Lanka to Jordan to Nepal - and filling it with chases to create a sense of urgency, make it look like a pacy, eventful narrative. The protagonist has a sidekick who fires more punchlines than the bullets from his gun.

A senior RAW officer, played by a hammy Makarand Deshpande, behaves more like a PT teacher who’s lost his job in a school and is made to parrot loud jingoistic dialogues about his love for the nation. The terrorist feels like an obnoxious theatre actor with the body language of a streetside goon. The film keeps raising the stakes, distracts the viewer with its bombastic dialogues, with no clarity in what it wants to suggest.

The execution is all over the place, the director remains clueless about building momentum in the storytelling and has a laughable understanding of the universe that constitutes spies, bureaucracy and reduces national security to a joke. Agreed, it’s a mainstream film but there’s no conviction in the typical ‘mass’ moments either and you hardly root for the pivotal characters or their motives.

Spy keeps firing blank shots, banks big on the ‘nationalism’ wave, heavily inspired by Uri - The Surgical Strike and The Taskhent Files and tries to integrate it with the mystery clouding Netaji’s death. The ideation is poor and it isn’t made at a scale where the mumbo jumbo around spies, missions and larger-than-life sequences feel believable.

Nikhil Siddhartha may have been consistent with his script selection for a major part of his career but his expressions look repetitive film after film and it’s high time he reinvents himself as a performer. Abhinav Gomatam’s satirical character is an extension of his role from Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi, albeit with a different profession. Ishwarya Menon, Sanya Thakur have little to contribute to the story.

Makarand Deshpande, Suresh, Sachin Khedekar, Jisshu Sengupta are cast in poorly written, caricaturish roles that are an insult to their vast body of work. Nitiin Mehta is forgettable as the dreaded antagonist. Rana Daggubati’s special appearance adds no value to the film and his loud sermons about patriotism are an insult to the senses. Vishal Chandrasekhar, Sricharan Pakala’s potential is wasted for a lost cause. The VFX is shockingly below par for a so-called pan Indian film.


After MS Rajashekhar Reddy (Macherla Niyojakavargam), another debut film of an editor-turned-director Garry Bh bites the dust. Spy is a ridiculous, aimless thriller that has nothing going for it.


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