Film Critic: Goher Iqbal Punn
Director – Sriram Raghavan
Producer – Saif Ali Khan
Star Cast – Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Gulshan Grover
Music – Pritam
Genre – Thriller
Saif Ali Khan’s much-ambitious project Agent Vinod is out to entertain the viewers. Amidst all controversies, the film releases today. Indian Bond is all set to allure your souls. An utter secret agent film, Saif brings you the attention-grabbing spy thriller to raise your spirits. The combo of Saif Ali Khan and Sriram Raghvan (the director of the film) has come up after 2003’s Ek Hasina Thi. Although Bollywood experiments a lot and almost every subject is touched in this film fraternity, but a full-fledged secret agent film has not been made so far at this junction. Saif Ali Khan (the producer and actor of this venture) has made it happen for the Indian masses.
Agent Vinod is James Bond sort of movie but it has desi tadka to fetch in the liking of the Indian audiences. With all the lavish stunts and style of Bond movies, Agent Vinod is Bollywoodish nonetheless. Director Sriram does a fine job to put the Hindi movies’ ingredients to make it flavor tasteful for the Hindi viewers. In 1977, a film with the same title ‘Agent Vinod’ was churned out in Hindi film industry which did a great job at the box office. Now more than three decades later, another secret agent thriller has been attempted on Bollywood’s terra firma with the same title but having a complete new storyline, look and the treatment. Today’s Agent Vinod is more powerful, has eye-candy locales of the world for filling the eyes with pleasures, more stylized and packaged with gripping script and marvelous performances.
Although when you stay with the film, it appears as if you are watching a Bond film but Saif and his team make the film with its own distinctive look.
Bollywood is not new to espionage stories rather the spying thrillers date back to much old times in particular the movies on these subjects started being made in 60s and since that time onwards (up to today), these thriller have been made. But a true James Bond style of a movie has not been attempted so far, Saif Ali Khan and Sriram Raghvan took the initiative and churned out Agent Vinod in an apt James Bond style.
A high octane thriller, the movie has style and substance. The movie is set in various parts of the world. The film talks about an Indian intelligence officer, a RAW Agent (Saif Ali Khan) who is on a mission to unzip the world conspiracy. An Indian agent gets exposed in Moscow and is murdered while he is trying to send a code red message to India. The RAW head, back in India, finds the incomplete message. Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) enters into the scene. He is sent to Moscow to make the investigation of his colleague’s killing. He comes to know Abu Nazar (Ram Kapoor), a Russian money launderer, has remitted US$ 50 million to someone in Morocco to conduct an operation in India. Agent Vinod arrives in Morocco where he bumps into Mafiosi Kazan (Prem Chopra) and a gorgeous Dr. Ruby (Kareena Kapoor), who is a Pakistani secret agent. The twists and turns take place which lead him to move to various parts of the globe from Russia to Morocco to Riga to Pakistan to Delhi and to UK (London) where he explores the actual conspiracy.
The story idea is catchy and appeals from the roots since the BOND movie was needed to be made on Bollywood scene. Scripting is marvelous and just has some minor flaws (which are ignorable). Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas deserve distinction marks for writing such a credible screenplay.
Director Sriram has executed the flick very intelligently. After making the thrillers like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddar, Raghavan has come up with a unique idea to deliver his goods on. He gets the viewers’ attention fixed on the celluloid till the climax and that’s artistic genius of the filmmaker.
The editing portion of the film by Pooja Ladha Surti is crispy. C.K.’s cinematography is much pleasing. The world locales have been captured with style. The chic and international feel has been given to the movie. For this, full marks to the cinematographer. Stunts are the real life of this extravaganza. Lavish and mind boggling actions have been choreographed by Peter Heins and Parvez Khan.
Music arranged by Pritam (apart from the controversy for the song ‘Pungi’ – as copyright violation case was filed by an Iranian band) is mushy, energetic and melodious. Kareena Kapoor’s mujra ‘Dil Mera Muft ka’ in which an Iranian Maryam Zakria has also been featured is the pick of the lot. Pungi is catchy and foot-tapping.
Saif Ali Khan has delivered his career’s best performance in Agent Vinod. His flawless and catchy dialogue delivery and his effectually breath-arresting acting make him the star of distinctive class. His role as Agent Vinod will always be remembered. Kareena Kapoor looks gorgeous and enacts her part with gusto. She is a fine actress in today’s time and that she proves with this flick.
Prem Chopra is a treat to watch. Ram Kapoor is in his elements. Adil Hussain does well. Dhritiman Chatterjee is exceptional. Shahbaaz Khan allures the souls with his act. Gulshan Grover gets a brief role but as usual impresses with his class. Ravi Kishen is appealing.
Final Verdict by the Critic:
Agent Vinod is an ultra stylish movie with high dose of brilliant action, breath-arresting international locales, convincing script, marvelous execution and heart-hitting performances by the starcast. It’s worth to watch.
Date of release – 23rd March 2012
Review by Mukul Kumar Sharma
If you have started thinking that Bollywood has reached a level of superiority over other regional films with carefully crafted films like ‘Kahaani’, Agent Vinod can just be a serious set back. When the entire world is making rapid strides to the moon, The B-town is plagued with a certain form of, what we call plagiarism. The nation’s worst habit is its imitation of the West and it is clearly an understated point in Sriram’s rendition of James Bond meets Charlie Chaplin. Yes, you might be thinking of what an absurd comparison is being made, but trust me, the movie is even more absurd that what is being said or written.
Rightaway, you are drawn into the life of Vinod Khanna, known as Agent Vinod, who camouflages through countries with a variety of names because the ‘last thing he reveals is his name’! LOL! The plot begins in Uzbekistan where an ex-KGB officer is murdered. Back in India, the head of RAW receives an incomplete message. All it contains is a number 242. Enter Agent Vinod and what follows is a series of ‘bomb’-arding events while investigation that ultimately leads Vinod to a periodically twisted conspiracy regarding bomb 242, its denotation and the rubaiyat! Vinod [Saif Ali Khan] is the kind of agent who has an anarchistic approach to situations that puts him in precarious circumstances, but he manages to scrape through. Vinod is then sent to Moscow to investigate why his colleague was killed. On finding out that a Russian money launderer (Ram Kapoor) has sent a sum of 50 million dollars to some Freddy Khambata, he sets out on a mission. Vinod then, meets Mefiosi Kazan (Prem Chopra) and the beautiful Ruby, who even has a series of names to her kitty, the real one being Iram Bilal (Kareena Kapoor). Other than Agent Vinod, the second lead role is that of the Rubaiyat!
Vinod leaves for Morocco, where he meets an elderly Mafiosi Kazan [Prem Chopra] and the beautiful but mysterious Dr Ruby [Kareena Kapoor]. A series of twists and turns take Vinod across the globe from Marakkesh to Riga, Karachi to Delhi and finally, London where he discovers the ultimate conspiracy. The incomplete message ‘242’ is what takes Vinod on its meandering course, enveloped in an almost Counter Strike game with his follies everywhere. From Cape Town to Morocco to Riga, Karachi, Marakkesh and New Delhi, Agent Vinod has all the exotic locales right in place. But what it lacks is a powerful script. A film that could have been an exciting nail-biter ends up tickling your funny bones! For the rest, you need to watch the film.
With emergence of films like ‘Don 2’ and ‘Players’, Bollywood is turning towards slick films, filled with an enigma. On the other hand even a pregnant Vidya Bagchi has triumphed and bedazzled the audience with her ‘Kahaani’. This film has a paucity of an effective storyline that can engage the audience, all and sundry! The dialogues lack verve and what encompasses your nerve wreck is the absence of a thunderous performance. None of the protagonist, antagonists or the supporting cast delivers their best and what remains is an unduly and rough track where things just went haywire. With an utterly complex plot, Sriram Raghavan, the director tries to do a Hitchcock but fails miserably. A director who gifted us with top notch films like ‘Ek Hasina Tha’ falls prey to the baptism overflowing out of the industry. The first half is over baked and too complex for an average movie-goer. Variation in the pace of a film is something that one welcomes, but faulty traipsing is one that murders a film. For Agent Vinod, this is exactly what happened. At times, the director seemed to be in a rush to finish off the film, leaving out on explanations in the plot that were necessary. On the contrary, the second half which should have been adrenaline pumping was a major dud! Much because, post the interval, the story failed to accelerate the way it should have! What seemed to be minor warts are cancerous for the movie and time will prove it too. Sriram, the director can definitely take a backseat for now!
The songs are mediocre, with not much to do in a spy thriller. Shreya Ghoshal and Hamsika Iyer (of Chhammak Chhallo fame) infuse life into Rabta which is a wonderfully penned piece and excellently rendered by the leads! Of late, there is one singer who has been rocking charts. Yes, our very own desi munda Mika nails it yet again with Pungi. This peppy number lingers on to you even after you are out of the movie hall. Other than these two, most of the songs are either inspired or tentatively stolen by our infamous composer Pritam Chakraborty!
The actions are primarily the reason why this film is always on the edge! Terrific car chases, adrenaline thumping action sequences coupled with innumerable stunts is all set to bedazzle you. Saif traversed that extra mile with his home production this time and that really deserves applause. But it is just not bounteous to make a film run. Agent Vinod could have been an oleaginous and dexterous adventure, had the director kept the film away from emotions. There’s too much ‘pyaar’, ‘nautanki’ and ‘nakhrebaazi’ which takes away all the charm from a thriller. The climax, which expectedly should have given the audience goose bumps and been an epiphany to the heebie-jeebies of human emotions, is outlandish and bizarre.
The film has too many moles and strings attached to it, which adds to the nuisance. On a count, there would be exactly 13 LOL frames in a movie of 108 reels! The best, err, or I should say the worst Laugh-out-loud moment was when Kareena, being hit by a number of bullets, (two even in the liver) had the energy to get the Colonel caught and the time to have a lovely romantically serious (sick) call with Vinod, helping him diffuse the bomb!
Coming to the stars, what can’t be denied is that Saif played the suave spy Agent Vinod with aplomb. He is definitely the best part of the film, while our Chhammak Chhallo, who is touted as Heroine no.1 in tinsel town, has done something which even Nargis couldn’t do: make people ogle at her throughout thinking about the origin of her one and half expressions! A couple that sends the entire paparazzi into a tizzy with their appearances, Saifeena always fails to communicate their chemistry on the silver screen. This film is no different. Like Tashaan and Kurbaan, even Agent Vinod is devoid of a sparkling chemistry that the real life couple shares off reel! Coming to her ‘Dil mera Muft ka’ mujra number, we can give one advice to Bebo: Girl, mujra is not your cup of tea! Size is not important for a mujra but curves are! Bebo, hope you understand our plight. She falters with movements, expressions and at times her maneuver was seemingly manly. The banter that was raised with the high octane ‘Chhammak Chhallo’ and ‘Criminal’ fell flat with this one. Strange but true!
The supporting cast has very little to do. Prem Chopra as Kazan is excellent as he returns to a baddie act, ones that he was reputed for in the ‘80s! Ram Kapoor and Gulshan Grover have a blink and you miss it role but are perpetually important characters in this never-ending bijou! Dhritiman Chatterjee is effortless as Jaghadeshwar Metla and proves his cinematic screen presence yet again. Newbie Anshuman is menacing, and radiates panache in the little screen time he gets. Kuddos to that!
The camerawork is brilliant, editing superb! But what barricades Agent Vinod from being an exciting and intensifying trail is the lack of punch and fervour in the plots. Too many subplots spoil the essence of the thriller, which at the end is reduced to silly tom-foolery.
While Saif is sure about his home production raking in a 100 crores with ease, what we feel is different! The film might end up being a Superhit, a Blockbuster, might even enter the 100 crore brigade but this is one film the audience will forget very soon. India still is on the hunt for its original spy: one who is convincing as well as compelling. And Agent Vinod is certainly not the one!
Verdict: Watch the film at your own risk. If you are getting bored at home or have nothing useful to do, go and catch the movie over a glass of Coke, milk shake or a cold coffee with sandwiches and popcorn. But I can bet, after going through his tumultuous two and a half hour yawnathon, you would feel the Soda and the popcorn are the only good things about the outing. I felt the same! Sigh!
The well known love birds of bollywood Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor better known as Saifina are ready for their upcoming onscreen project named ‘Agent Vinod’. The movie is been directed by Sriram Raghavan and thereof produced by Saif himself. It is Saif’s own production with his lady love playing the lead role.
To be very clear about the fact that it is not the remake of the 1977 action film ‘Agent Vinod’. According to the statement made by director Sriram Raghavan it is based on an original story, about a spy. He also made it clear that it is also not the remake or copycat of the Hollywood series of James Bond. The film contains a huge volume of action along with lots of thrills. The director also described it as one of the ‘Realistic Movie’. On 30th May 2010 the director reported that the official shoot of the movie had begun in Mumbai which will later on followed by Morocco and Latvia. Saif is said to be working hard with his body as his character is of a detective agent beside this Kareena (bebo) plays the secret agent role with her slim and trim features.
The journey of the movie started on 30th May 2010 with a proposal of releasing it in 2011. But the film is still under process and is set to realease in March 2012.
The music of Agent Vinod is been composed by Pritam and to be mentioned it is not yet out in the market.
Let us wait for the movie to come on screen and see whether the couple (Saifina) can show us some magic after a 50-50 performance in Tashan.
Check out Agent Vinod Trailer