Lahore Confidential review: Subterfuge meets romance in ZEE5’s spy thriller
Cast: Karishma Tanna, Richa Chadha and Arunoday Singh
Director: Kunal Kohli
Producer: Jar Pictures
Writer: Vibha Singh
DOP: Karthik Ganesh
Creator: S Hussain Zaidi
Action Director: Sunil Rodrigues
Casting by: Mukesh Chhabra
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
There is something innately exciting about spy thrillers, especially those touching upon Indo-Pak espionage, that make you want to figure out what’s going on behind the surface even as you get immersed in thrills that the main plot has to offer.
ZEE5’s latest release Lahore Confidential will take you into the world of spies; RAW agents on secret missions and cross border espionage as you get absorbed in this saga of love, deceit and subterfuge.
Set in modern-day Lahore, the film opens with a birthday party gone awry with gunshots and a killing. The attack is shown through the lens of a little boy, who sees his father being killed on his Ammi’s birthday.
Lahore Confidential is a contemporary love story of two spies, who are torn between their love for each other and a strong sense of patriotism.
Ananya (played by Richa Chadha) is a smart and subversive city girl with a passion for Urdu literature and a dream to write a book on poetry one day. She is packed off to Pakistan as a media attaché in the Indian High Commission in Lahore, but is completely oblivious to the fact that she is part of an important intelligence mission for her country.
There, she is introduced to Rauf Ahmed Kazmi aka James Spencer (played by Arunoday Singh). Rauf and Ananya bond over shayari, and Urdu literature but this is not a normal love story.
Soon, we realize that Rauf is none other than that little boy in the opening scene, who sees his father die before his eyes. “Mujhe kisi kaum se nafrat nahi hai. Mujhe nafrat hai is khooni khel se,” he says, as he goes about killing those who kill others.
Rauf and Ananya’s intimate love story only create additions to the multiple layers of deception. It is a world that forces you to live multiple identities, and your personal desires can, somewhere, clash with your duty towards saving your nation and its honour. Ananya is caught up in the machinations of her agency and her strong adoration for Rauf.
The narrative shows female spies in a completely new light, as we meet Ananya and Yukti (played by Karishma Tanna), who are modern Indian women living life on their own terms in a foreign country. They hold strong even as they see their colleagues being kidnapped and trapped in extremist plots on both sides.
The subtle sub-plot that runs with Ananya’s mother is the quintessential story of every young Indian woman. You may have a successful career, but your life is defined by your marriage, which has to happen at the ‘right’ age.
At just a little over an hour, the turn of events is swift, leaving us with little time to pause, or feel a dull moment. The actors - Richa Chadha and Arunoday Singh – play their part with elan and their on-screen chemistry is absolutely sizzling. Tanna, too, is convincing as a firebrand agent, who lives life quite on her own terms and won’t mind ‘getting a quick fuck, for a cover’.
The cinematography is great and the city of Lahore is recreated before us in a picturesque way with all its glory and shair-o-shayari. The Punjabi folk music adds more flavour to the old school romance, as we are left with melodies to hum!
Watch Lahore Confidential on ZEE5 now!