Review: ‘Spy’ (2023), starring Nikhil Siddharth, Iswarya Menon, Aryan Rajesh, Abhinav Gomatam, Sanya Thakur and Nitin Mehta

July 12, 2023

by Carla Hay

Nikhil Siddharth in “Spy” (Photo courtesy of Red Cinemas)

“Spy” (2023)

Directed by Garry BH

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in various parts of Asia, the action film “Spy” features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with a few white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A spy tries to find out who killed his brother while he hunts down a terrorist.

Culture Audience: “Spy” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching incoherent and silly action movies.

Nitin Mehta in “Spy” (Photo courtesy of Red Cinemas)

“Spy” is a jumbled mess with sloppy editing, a moronic plot, and mindless violence. There’s no originality in this time-wasting film about a spy hunting down a terrorist. There are too many other movies that have the same plot but are much more interesting to watch than “Spy,” whose title is also very unoriginal.

Directed by Garry BH and written by Anirudh Krishna Murthy, “Spy” is supposed to look like a globe-trotting adventure. The movie’s story takes place in Jordan, Israel, India, and Pakistan. All of these different location don’t add anythng substantial to the story. They just serve as backdrops to the generic chase scenes and shootouts in this dreadful action flick.

In “Spy,” most of the main characters are from India. Vijay “Jai” Vardhan (played by Nikhil Siddharth) is an obnoxious Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent who is tasked with finding an elusive terrorist named Khadir Khan (played by Nitin Mehta), who is also an arms dealer. There’s also some nonsense about Vijay trying to find a connection betwen Khadir and secrets of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, an Indian nationalist who rose to prominence in the 1940s.

“Spy” is nothing but a checklist of stereotypes. Does the dashing “hero” have a less-dashng sidekick? Check. Vijay’s sidekick is co-worker/best friend Kamal (played by Abhinav Gomatam), who doesn’t do much that’s substantial.

Does the “hero” have a personal tragedy and is seeking revenge for it? Check. Vijay’s brother Subhash Vardhan (played by Aryan Rajesh) was also a R&AW agent, and he was killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend Khadir. There’s a muddled part of the movie that mentions Subhash was credited with capturing Khadir, but Khadir really escaped.

Does the “hero” have a pretty love interest? Double check. He’s got two: Vijay meets Ashiwaraya (played by Iswarya Menon) in a bar. He breaks a bottle over the head of another guy who tries to talk to her. It’s obvious that something is off about Ashiwaraya because she thinks this type of bullying violence is flattering.

Vijay’s other love interest is Saraswati (played by Sanya Thakur), who is one of his colleagues. “Spy” has old-fashioned stereotypes of women. Ashiwaraya is supposed to be the seductive, “bad girl” type. Saraswati is supposed to be the dependable “good girl” type.

Vijay promises his father (played by Tanikella Bharani) that he will find the murderer of Subhash. The movie goes from fight scene to fight scene with no style or charisma. The same can be said of the bland acting performances from the cast. “Spy” will be quickly forgotten by viewers because there’s not much about the movie that’s worth remembering.

Red Cinemas released “Spy” in select U.S. cinemas on June 28, 2023, and in India on June 29, 2023.

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