Mukhbir The Story of a Spy Review: Zain Khan Durrani, Adil Hussain and Prakash Raj’s series makes for a commendable watch with eclectic performances


Show: Mukhbir The Story of a Spy

Cast: Zain Khan Durrani, Zoya Afroz, Prakash Raj, Adil Hussain, Barkha Sengupta, Zoya Afroz, Harsh Chhaya, Satyadeep Mishra, Karan Oberoi

Director: Shivam Nair and Jayprad Desai

OTT: Zee5

Rating: 3 Moons

Spy dramas are always a compelling watch especially if well made. However, what makes them really hit home is the human stories that they bring with their protagonists irrespective of all the espionage drama attached with it. Zee5’s latest offering, Mukhbir The Story of a Spy brings forth the tale of one such agent who was instrumental during the 1965 Indo-Pak war and made his exemplary contribution without fighting the war. The series, set in the 1960s stars Zain Khan Durrani, Zoya Afroz, Prakash Raj, Adil Hussain, Barkha Sengupta, Zoya Afroz, Harsh Chhaya, Satyadeep Mishra, Karan Oberoi and others.

RECOMMENDED READ: Breathe Into The Shadows Season 2 Review: Abhishek Bachchan, Amit Sadh make an impressive return with their psychological thriller; Naveen Kasturia adds new spark

Adapted from the 2011 book Mission to Kashmir: An Intelligent Agent in Pakistan by Maloy Krishna Dhar, Mukhbir The Story of a Spy has Zain Khan Durrani in the lead and titular role as Kamran, a young, shrewd, no-strings-attached kind of guy who is basically a conman but turns his conning abilities to help the country. He has been working for KSK Murthy (Prakash Raj) as a small-time spy in the city without realizing that the senior man has some more elaborate plans for him. Soon, Kamran is asked to cross borders into Pakistan and relay intel to India, taking on the alias of Harfan.

Zain as Kamran/Harfan brings out the innocence of his character exceptionally well. Unlike Alia Bhatt’s Raazi his action are not based on politics and has no special reason to do what he does.  He is neither greedy nor patriotic and is not a well-trained spy; instead he brings a humane touch to his character by making mistakes and learning from them. Zain shines through in the series not only for his affable character and good looks but also for the charm that he brings forth. He also ensures not to go overboard with any of the emotions as he joins a Pakistani family in his new spy role.

The series has some stellar performers in Atul Kumar, Harsh Chhaya, Prakash Raj and Adil Hussain who give commendable and credible support to the show as they play senior bureaucrats on both sides of the border. Satyadeep Mishra excels in the climax while Veena Mehta who plays Harfan’s grandma is endearing.

Mukhbir’s strength lies in its screenplay with the story being the main hero. We don’t see the psyche of the people until the very end but shows a man put to the daring task which keeps the viewers on edge with the fast-paced narrative. Shivam Nair and Jayprad Desai’s direction is subtle, lucid and clear. They do not delve into the mental trauma of a spy until the climax but faithfully manages to depict the Delhi of the 60s with vintage cars and scooters and an interesting tale.

The show also gets brownie points in getting the tenacity of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s across. In one of the scenes which if shown on the big screen had elicited a lot of whistles and whoops he says, “Gentleman, Kashmir may be a dream for Pakistan but I want Lahore for real.” The series tells the extremely important principle of India that non-violence cannot be misinterpreted as cowardice as not many in the current generation are aware that India actually crossed the line-of-control to capture Lahore in September, 1965. 

Mukhbir has its flaws and appears larger-than-life at some points, yet it is worth a watch. gives Mukhbir The Story of a Spy, 3 Moons.