Heena Rehman in ‘Khufiya’ Explained: What Was Operation Octopus?

The skilled Bangladeshi actress, Azmeri Haque Badhon, despite having a short role in the movie, did justice to the character of Heena Rehman. The able direction of Vishal Bhardwaj has significantly transformed her character from script to screen. Heena works for NSI in Bangladesh and wants to help the Indian R&AW agent, Krishna Mehra, attain success in her secret mission. Khufiya is a spy thriller, and with the progression of every event, it keeps the audience asking for something new. There are a lot of spy thrillers in Bollywood, such as Raazi, Madras Cafe , and others, but the several twists in Khufiya makes it stand out. 

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Spoilers Ahead


Why Did Heena Want To Join Hands With R&AW?

Heena had come to Krishna Mehra’s office and asked her to give her a chance to prove her loyalty to the R&AW. She claimed to have all the required information about Brigadier Mirza in Bangladesh and his connections with the ISI, or an anti-national group. Krishna is initially reluctant to believe her, but the tips about the forthcoming triple blasts in Dhaka, Chittagong, and Rajshahi that she gives Krishna comes in handy. On asking her why she wants to work with the Indian Government, she replies that she dislikes Mirza, as he was slowly turning Bangladesh into a country to be ruled under the clutches of ISI. She also tells Krishna that she needs money for the treatment of her father. After the information being provided by Heena turned out to be true, she was recruited as a part of the R&AW and was included in the operations being carried out against Mirza in Bangladesh.

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What Relationship Did Heena Have With Krishna?

A romantic relation between Heena and Krishna has been shown subtly in the film. During Heena’s tenure working for the R&AW, we see a bittersweet relationship building between the two women. We see that Krishna reaches Heena’s house when she fails to show up at the office, and Heena says that she thinks that someone must have been suspicious of her activities and could be following her. We get subtle hints that they both like each other, but our doubts get cleared when Heena kisses Krishna.

It is later revealed that Heena works for the ISI, and Krishna abandons her in Bangladesh to return to India. Heena comes to India to tell Krishna that she joined ISI just to give her all the information. She once again wants to prove her loyalty to India for the sake of Krishna, and in the process, she goes to Mirza’s party for diplomats, where she eventually plans to neutralize him but gets killed. On several occasions, we see Krishna blaming herself for the incident, as she thought that the mission given to Heena was a suicide mission. Krishna embarks on a mission to avenge the death of Heena and to expose Mirza and his connections with the ISI.

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What Was Operation Octopus?

Heena was called the ‘Octopus’ by the R&AW agents and was helping in fighting against the atrocities inflicted on Bangladesh by the joint efforts of ISI and Mirza. Heena had later joined hands with the ISI in order to attain more information about their next steps, which she revealed to Krishna.

Mirza initially thought of her as one of his core members, as she was a member of the ISI by then. She had gifted Mirza’s favorite perfume to him, which was actually a secret formula that had been created by experts of the R&AW with the intention of terminating him. Mirza, however, gets to know about the conspiracy that had been hatched against him through a secret informant and kills Heena by stabbing her with a fork in the neck. She had sacrificed her own life to prove her loyalty to her own country and express her love for Krishna.

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Who Leaked The Information About Heena Being A Spy To The CIA?

The information about Heena being a spy was leaked by an employee of R&AW, Rajiv Mohan. The secret agents found out that his lifestyle was not matching his salary and doubted his loyalty to India. They bugged his house and office with spy cameras and found out that he indeed had a role in selling out secret information to a third party. It turns out that he had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in America as a secret agent, providing them with all the information needed to safeguard Mirza and ISI. The interests of the CIA in safeguarding ISI were that they were seeking the Taliban, which ISI was helping them with. If the Indian government was messing with the ISI, then that meant that they were intruding on the affairs of the USA. We initially thought of his wife as an equal accomplice in his deeds, but it turns out later that his mother, Lalita, was the mastermind who had been helping him.

On being caught, he tells Charu that he has been helping the CIA for the benefit of his country. He stated that he wanted to fight against the Taliban to drive them out of Afghanistan for the benefit of India. The truth lies somewhere else, as we see him working for his monetary interests and not to serve his own country. We see him and his mother suffering under the burden of their deeds in America after fleeing India. His information to the CIA took the life of Heena, and Krishna makes that very clear to Rajiv Mohan’s wife Charu while she asks her about her love interests. The murder of Heena propels the mission to eliminate Mirza further, as Krishna makes sure that she avenges her lover’s murder.

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Final Thoughts

The film has no loopholes and makes a portrayal of well-rounded characters, one of which is Heena. We see a plethora of emotions and desperation in her character, which makes her get into the murky waters of being a spy, her financial conditions being one of the major factors. Her love and respect for Krishna ring right through the entire film. The very beginning of the film starts with a bloody end to the life of Heena, or “Octopus.” Her character is bold and does not fear being sent out on a suicide mission just so that she can prove herself to Krishna. Her unrelenting nature has also been depicted, where she never gives up no matter how difficult the situations get. She never gave up on her hope to attain a better relationship or to see a better tomorrow for her nation, rid of all the antisocials. Her indomitable spirit is what is passed on to Krishna, and she gets zealous to solve the mystery of the puppet and the puppeteer eventually.


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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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