‘Kaala’ Recap And Ending Explained: Who Betrayed Ritwik’s Team?

Bejoy Nambiar’s Kaala has a fantastic premise. The show majorly focuses on money laundering and the stories of people carrying out this illegal business. It also follows a bunch of law enforcement authorities who try to hunt down these criminals in an attempt to bring them to justice. To everyone’s surprise, there was a connection between the investigating team and Naman Arya, the tycoon who was suspected of carrying out a massive reverse hawala racket. This formed the crux of the plot of the show, which was set in Kolkata, Siliguri, and other towns on the India-Bangladesh border. So, without without wasting any other moment, let’s get into the detailed recap of Kaala.


Spoilers Ahead

Why is Ritwik behind Naman Arya?

Ritwik’s arc in Kaala begins with a joint rescue operation involving the CBI and the IB to save him. Ritwik was located by his informant, and the joint team made sure the operation was a success. Unfortunately, his partner, Soma, was found dead. Ritwik thinks they were both abducted for sniffing around a big consignment of black money that will be shipped off to Bangladesh. Ritwik was an honest IB officer in Kolkata, and he would stop at nothing to get hold of the dirty money.


Ritwik and Soma had come close to evidence that could be the smoking gun that could help them nab business tycoon Naman Arya. Ritwik knew there was more black money involved, and it needed to be nipped in the bud. Two ambulances carrying black money were captured by the IB Kolkata team. To avoid getting lost in paperwork, Ritwik approaches the CM to fast-track the process to release the evidence to the IB. The CM asks Ritwik to arrest Naman Arya for attempting to bribe her, but within days of the arrest, it was established that the CM had no intention to help the IB. It implies that the CM and her party were buying time to strike a fair deal with Naman Arya, which proved that the CM was corrupt.

What happened to Subhendu Mukherjee?

Subhendu Mukherjee, in the year 1988, was part of a discreet army operation that took place on the Indo-Bangladesh border tunnel. The tunnel was being used to transport drugs and black money. ‘Operation Ricochet’ was planned to close this path. Their mission was a success, but Subhendu’s attempt to save a man stuck inside the tunnel went in vain.


In retaliation, three rogue BDF officers eliminated everyone from the operation except Subhendu. The blame for the mission’s failure is pinned on Subhendu and his boss, Colonel Himmat. While Subhendu was deemed a traitor and deserter, his boss was court-martialed. Fueled by revenge, Subhendu went to great lengths to locate these corrupt BDF officers. He neutralizes two of them, but after killing the second target, he accidentally injures the man’s mistress and daughter. Subhendu moved them to Siliguri and raised the girl, Aaloka Bagchi, as his own. Subhendu’s kind-heartedness outgrew his hatred when he began taking care of the injured woman and her daughter.

Subhendu was never able to clear his name, which displays the inefficiency of the bureaucracy. But thirty years later, he became Ritwik’s informant. Subhendu’s absence fueled speculation about him, which worsened his reputation.


Does Ritwik find anything concrete in Siliguri?

After Naman Arya’s arrest, Ritwik received a key to a locker at a bank in Siliguri. His team headed there to investigate, only to realize the account belonged to Adilnath Bagchi, Ritwik’s informant. He left behind evidence that would reveal Naman Arya’s illegal transactions. A photograph of Adilnath Bagchi with a young Ritwik and his mother was also procured. It did not take much time for him to connect the dots and find out that Adilnath Bagchi was Subhendu Mukherjee, his father, and he was no more.

The IB Kolkata team also included Sithara, who was Ritwik’s girlfriend. The Siliguri trip opened up Pandora’s box, as he learned of another informant who provided intel to Subhendu through a unique software developed by three young engineers, Wilson Costa, Chiranjeev Sahay, and Tabassum Haider (Wichita). They agreed to cooperate, and thus began a thorough investigation into his father’s informant and how Naman Arya was connected to Subhendu Mukherjee. Ritwik is in a state of shock, and he has no time to process it because of the pressure of the Naman Arya investigation. He learns that Subhendu was murdered in broad daylight by two assassins. The postmortem revealed the presence of a poison that induced a heart attack.


Who is Shakthi Arya?

Shakthi Arya was born Balwir Bir Rana, who served in the Indian army and later joined the BDF on the India-Bangladesh border in the 1980s. He soon became accustomed to the corrupt practices happening around him. He meets Hussain, a smuggler, and the two soon fall in love. Balwant’s world came crashing down when army officers in ‘Operation Ricochet’ killed Hussain. Balwant Bir Rana and his fellow BDF colleagues and business partners submitted false allegations against Subhendu.

Balwant continued with his smuggling ventures long after leaving the army, with the same business partners. He eventually sold his portion of the business, moved to London with his son Naman, and transitioned into a woman named Shakthi Arya. She started another venture that helped her clientele swindle all kinds of money. Balwant was a pushover, while Shakthi Arya was a woman of her own. She was proud of her struggles and never allowed anyone to question her decisions. It was apparent that Shakti Arya was the actual boss of the operation, not her son.


Was Ritwik framed?

Ritwik received a phone call from an unknown number stating that his house was filled with boxes full of black money. The presence of such a large amount of money proves that he was being framed in an attempt to disrupt the case. It was not that hard to conclude that the mastermind behind derailing the investigation. ‘Ritwik’s father was a traitor’ angle was also amplified to discredit all the work that was done. Ritwik absconded to avoid arrest and gather intel from the IB office. He is informed that someone wiped years of his work and other sensitive information from his laptop that could have proved his innocence. Thankfully, his boss, Himanshu, and colleagues get on with tracking the trucks that were carrying the black money to help Ritwik clear his name from an impending scam. If Ritwik had surrendered, Naman Arya and his mother would have achieved what they set out to do. The system, media, and public would have made a mockery out of Ritwik’s work, and there would have been no end to the allegations placed against him.

Will Ritwik and his team stop the consignment from crossing the border?

An injured Ritwik and a mortally wounded Bismil head towards Petrapole, a border town. They believed the consignment was headed there. Bismil worked for Shakthi Arya but decided to leak intel with Subhendu and Ritwik only because he felt Shakthi had started manipulating him. Going against Shakthi and Naman while working with them was the easiest decision he ever made. It is also revealed that Bismil was Subhendu’s informant, and he was made aware of Shakthi Arya’s black money transaction records through him.


Shakthi never looked for a mole in her company and killed Subhendu, her old nemesis, so that the connection between him and Ritwik was cut off. She probably knew Ritwik was Subhendu’s son as well, which made it easier for her to be vicious and order his killing. Sithara, Lobo, and the Wichita group were helping Ritwik and Bismil track the consignment. The tracking was a confusing process because Shakthi Arya made sure to close all kinds of loopholes that could lead the IB to them.

The bankers hired by the IB Team of Kolkata to investigate the financial transactions of Naman Arya finally found a breakthrough. The money laundering case was now built on the transaction records given to them from the pen drive. The IB Kolkata team had enough evidence to prove that Naman Arya and his mother were carrying out reverse hawala. The black money is being transported to Bangladesh for the rebel forces. The revelation was imminent, keeping in mind that when a crime is committed, shreds of evidence are always left behind by the perpetrator.


The trucks were stopped at Petrapole, but all of them were empty. Ritwik knew they had been misled again, and it was a diversion tactic for the trucks to safely enter Bangladesh through the tunnel, which had supposedly been closed during ‘Operation Richochet’. Shakthi might be impatient, but she was smart enough to have come up with a meticulous plan to avoid being caught.

Ritwik and his boss Himanshu, along with Bismil, drove towards Mahadipura, another border town. Bismil managed to aid the investigation team right from the start. Ritwik would not have gotten this close to the nexus without the informant. We assume that Bismil will either die of bullet wounds or be killed by Shakthi Arya’s men for betraying her. As they reached Mahadipura, Himanshu, Ritwik, and Danish requested an army backup to seize the consignment. Ritwik’s team had come close to completing this mission successfully. The buildup for this climax started in the first episode. There was no need for serious suspension of disbelief by the time the climatic armed conflict began. Ritwik knew he was on the winning side, but not before he saw Sithara fighting for Shakthi Arya.


Who betrayed Ritwik’s team?

Sithara and Lobo, with the Wichita group, were helping Ritwik reach the location of the consignment. One of the Wichita concluded that Petrapole was a decoy spot, and the actual consignment was being sent to Mahadipura. Sithara immediately killed the two Wichitas and Lobo, for they knew something that was top-secret intel. These killings carried out by Sithara are proof of her being a mole inside the IB Kolkata team hired by Shakthi Arya’s business associate Ghulam in exchange for the safety of her daughter.

Sithara had no option but to follow the instructions given to her by the syndicate. In the process of protecting her interests, Sithara ended up killing many IB officers with the help of the assassins who killed Subhendu. Sithara could have chosen not to take up the offer and used her skills as an IB officer to bring down Ghulam. Ritwik was an example in the IB Kolkata team who relentlessly pursued Naman Arya’s link to black money. During the course of the investigation, Sithara never changed her mind and stayed focused on leaking the intel to Ghulam.


Sithara ends up killing Bismil in Mahadipura and joins Ghulam and Shakthi Arya to tackle Ritwik’s team. She probably felt the pain of betraying him, but she also knew her daughter’s life was of the utmost significance. A scuffle between Sithara and Ritwik caused her grave injuries. She had become a criminal, and the IB would make sure to charge her with treason. Sithara, earlier in the show, tried to make Ritwik understand his deceased father’s state of mind and the life he chose to live as a traitor. Sithara probably felt a tinge of regret for betraying her team at that point.

The consignment is captured by the end of the fierce standoff between the army and Naman Arya’s men, but Sithara escapes the scene of the crime to meet her daughter. She possibly planned to escape to another country and live in hiding for the rest of her life.


What does Ritwik demand from the state CM?

Kaala ends with Naman Arya’s arrest. The business tycoon was too arrogant at the beginning of the investigation, but since his consignment was seized, there was nothing that could have averted his arrest.

Shakthi spoke to Ritwik as a last attempt to save her business and her son from being destroyed. She requested that he not release the details of the consignment in exchange for a handsome bribe. Shakthi was used to bribing officials since she herself took money as a BDF officer. She figured this was the norm. She had only worked with those who were willing to strike a fair deal that would mutually benefit both. This could also imply that the CM of the state wanted a good amount as a bribe. In exchange, her police and other investigation teams would stand down on the reverse hawala investigations.


Ritwik refused to oblige her request because he was an honest law enforcement officer. His moral uprightness probably mirrored his father’s work ethic. Subhendu was unfortunately not lucky, but Ritwik was surrounded by people who were wanted to arrest the criminal. This made it easy for him to turn down Shakthi’s offer.

Ritwik was also approached by the state CM, whose role in the same black money scam was made known to the IB Kolkata team. The CM was poised, but she feared what the IB team was capable of, which is why she chose her words delicately. The CM also tries to bribe Ritwik in the hope that he’ll never reveal her name. The woman was a politician, and just like Shakthi, all she dealt with were people willing to modify the truth at their convenience. Ritwik was above politics because he believed his father was a victim of it as well. Ritwik refused to take the money. Instead, he requested that his father be reinstated as a martyr. In the grand scheme of things, this was the bare minimum favor the CM could have done for Ritwik. Now that her political career is at stake, she was able to fast-track the process and arrange for a ceremony that acknowledged Subhendu’s service to the nation.


Kaala‘s concluding montage also had Shakthi Arya breaking down over losing her son and business empire. She was alone at this point and was aware that syndicate boss Ghulam would order her death. Shakthi Arya had become a liability for the syndicate, and her death was the only way to safeguard their system. Shakthi placed Hussain’s painting, which she drew, close to her heart. Shakthi’s last image in her mind is of her and Hussain together years ago. She was immediately killed by Ghulam’s men. Shakthi’s death was imminent because of the astrologer’s prediction. With her death, we hope she reunites with Hussain. Naman Arya was also poisoned in jail by Ghulam. He was killed for the same reason. The system might pressure him to become a government witness and help them find other counterfeit businesses. Ghulam could not risk losing his syndicate. Getting rid of Naman would have been an easy decision.

The IB team went to Sithara’s home to find it empty and come across the mutilated body of her maid. Sithara probably killed her, so the IB team does not interrogate her hired help to gather intel. The maid also showcased concerns about working with Sithara, which probably triggered her to follow her instincts and kill her. There was no surety if Sithara was still working for Ghulam or had gone rogue completely.


Two months after the case was closed, Ritwik took over the role of an elder brother and got involved in Aaloka’s life in the hope of understanding her better as a person. Aaloka also allowed Ritwik into her life because having Ritwik around reminds her of her father. Aaloka was never informed that Subhendu was not her biological father. Subhendu did everything he could in his capacity to be a perfect role model, and Ritwik was trying to emulate that.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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