Jeevanathan In ‘Khufiya,’ Explained: Is The Character Based On Real-Life Person Amar Bhushan?

Khufiya turned out to be a complicated spy thriller. Vishal Bhardwaj was bang on the money with the humor and the satirical parts of the movie, but the rest of the film had scope for improvement. Despite its issues, Khufiya presented some interesting characters that got embroiled in espionage of a larger magnitude. This movie was about a senior intelligence officer betraying his agency and country and fleeing to America. Several characters in the film are now at it to locate this man and bring him back to make him face the Indian judicial system.


Spoilers Ahead

What Was Operation Brutus?

Jeevanathan, portrayed by the veteran actor Ashish Vidyarthi, was in support of the work Krishna Mehra does right from the beginning of the film. Krishna was a ruthless and shrewd R&AW analyst who, by the looks of it, has been a part of the Bangladesh desk for a very long time. Jeevan was one of the first to know about the fate of Heena, aka Octopus, in Bangladesh. She was sent on a mission to neutralize Brigadier Mirza. This was being planned to bring down the power ISI had over the Bangladesh elections. By killing Mirza, Indian intelligence probably wanted to plant their own man as the leader of the country and weaken the intelligence of the other neighboring country. Sadly, nothing worked as per the plan, and R&AW ended up losing an important asset that had brought in crucial intelligence from NSI and ISI. Heena was a crucial part of Operation Octopus, which failed miserably and led to her death.


KM was upset because of her intimate relationship with the asset. She did not want Heena to become collateral damage in this spy game, but the reality was that people joined this field knowing they could become targets at any given time if they were exposed. Jeevanathan made sure there was an inquiry into Heena’s death and who was responsible for blowing her cover. The investigation was efficient under the supervision of Jeevan, and the team was quick to know that the mole in the agency was Ravi Mohan, who had photocopied and shared countless classified documents with a certain foreign agency. For a while, the team did not know if Ravi shared intelligence with the ISI, NSI, CIA, or with some other intelligence agency of a neighboring country.

Jeevan was keen on nailing this man to the coffin and finding strong evidence so that they could initiate action and finally arrest Ravi for treason. They began “Operation Brutus,” named after the famous traitor from the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar. Vishal Bhardwaj and his love for Shakespeare’s works always show up in one form or another. Jeevan and his team, helmed by KM, made sure Ravi’s home and office were bugged. Through some of the footage from Ravi’s office, they come across details and coordinates of R&AW agents based in Kabul, which the man has collected to leak. Jeevan had to stop his team from doing any damage control that could jeopardize Operation Brutus. Jeevan never wanted Ravi to get an inkling that he was being tailed. There was always the possibility of him escaping to a foreign country. Operation Brutus had to carry on as per Jeevan’s orders.


Is Jeevan Based On Real Life Person?

The story of Ravi Mohan was adapted from a book written by Amar Bhushan, who was an ex-R&AW analyst. The story of his book was based on a real-life incident involving a senior R&AW analyst, Major Rabinder Singh, in 2004, who was caught sharing sensitive intel with a foreign agency. They said the man managed to escape to the United States of America, apparently with the help of the CIA, and was never caught. Jeevanathan in the book and the film was based on Amar Bhushan, who served as a top boss and was instrumental in the investigation that led them to the traitor Ravi Mohan and the subsequent surveillance carried out as a part of Operation Brutus.

How Did Jeevan Catch Ravi?

It was the failure of Operation Octopus in the beginning that led to this situation. Jeevan was adamant about finding out more about everyone involved in the mission, and this digging led him to Mishraji, the Minister of Home Affairs. Mishraji was one of the four people who knew the target, asset, date, and weapon for Operation Octopus to be a success. Since the puppeteer they were looking for was the US Ambassador to India, Rachel McClane, her point of contact must have been the minister himself.


It was revealed that Mishraji knew of this plan to neutralize Octopus in Dhaka because the CIA could not afford to lose an ally in ISI if Mirza was killed. Brigadier Mirza was already an ISI-planted leader. Rachel, the representative of the USA, threatened to back away from the historic nuclear deal if the plan to extract Octopus was put in motion. Jeevan was shocked to hear the minister’s role in this betrayal, but he could also understand how Mishraji’s hands were tied. Mishraji’s mission was to not hamper the deal. The movie also allowed the viewers to see the CIA from another perspective, trying to keep everyone happy on the subcontinent just to retain their influence and be able to pull the strings of power.

The failure of Operation Octopus was of a monumental scale, and Jeevan and his team had to retaliate. Sadly, Ravi Mohan got a whiff of Operation Brutus, the plan to arrest him. Ravi absconded with his mother and son, leaving his wife behind in a dire state. The second half of the movie was about reinstating this operation under the leadership of Jeevan again to locate Ravi Mohan using Charu, his estranged wife. Jeevan and KM knew this was a long-drawn plan of action that would take months to bear results. Charu will have to gain the confidence of the family and the CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency had given Ravi, his mother, and his son a place to hide and along with a brand-new identity. All Jeevan wanted was to get Ravi extradited and get him to face the judiciary.


Ravi was informed of Brigadier Mirza wanting to meet him and offer his gratitude. This information was picked up by KM, who was surveilling from Ravi’s neighborhood in South Dakota, USA. KM wanted to strike a deal with Ravi, but Jeevan stopped her from doing so because his end game was to capture Ravi and not Mirza. Jeevan was probably right because Brigadier Mirza was not an Indian citizen to be put on trial. His killing of Heena was to save himself in his own country. It was Ravi who betrayed his position of power and his country by leaking the information, which was why Jeevan wanted to corner the man. By the end of a very awkward and messy dinner that led to Mirza’s death, the CIA and R&AW agreed to send Ravi Mohan back. Ravi Mohan reached India on a container ship  to make sure he did not escape. We wonder if Jeevan had nothing to say when KM took it upon herself to carry out a negotiation with Ravi and the CIA and sealed a deal when she was strictly asked not to. At the end of the day, Jeevan was just content to see Ravi brought back and face the consequences of his actions.

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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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