Movies

Agent Vinod: No flow of story, no explanations

MUMBAI: A spy thriller is not a genre often seen in Hindi films and for that reason one thought Agent Vinod was a welcome idea as well as an opportune one. The title betrays director Sriram Raghvan‘s fascination for films he grew up watching. His last film, Johny Gaddaar (2007) was a remake of Gaddar (1973). For this film he opts for the title of a 1977 hit film, Agent Vinod. Further inspiration for the plot and situations comes from 1970s spy thrillers such as That Man In Istanbu









Producers: Saif Ali Khan, Dinesh Vijan.
Director: Sriram Raghvan.
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Gulshan Grover, Prem Chopra, Ravi Kissen, Ram Kapoor, Adil Hussain, Anshuman Singh, Shahbaaz Khan, Maryam Zakaria.

Saif Ali Khan, playing a RAW agent, has lost his close colleague - Ravi Kissen while on a mission to Russia. His last message before he was murdered was just the figures ‘242‘. That sets Saif Ali Khan on a mission to find out what these figures mean as he liquidates anybody and everybody that comes in his path. His search begins in Russia and takes him from place to place; while in Morocco, he meets Kareena Kapoor, a Pakistani, posing as a personal doctor to local Mafioso, Prem Chopra, but who is actually an MI6 agent now working for ISI. Kareena Kapoor has a sad past and dreams of a future with a nameplate describing her as a doctor, children and a husband who loves her more than anything (that is the emotional quotient in the film). Saif Ali Khan‘s trust button for her keeps blinking most of the time; that is till she convinces him that she is on his side and equally anxious to stop any destruction that the villains may have planned. As he goes from Russia to Morocco to Latvia to Karachi, he always outthinks his detractors and draws his gun faster than they do. He reaches Delhi at the same time as a nuclear bomb stolen by an ex-KGB man from the Russian depot is headed there via Somalia in a fishing trawler. The villains‘ grand plan blessed by Gulshan Grover, who is a refugee don under protection of Pakistani authorities (read Dawood), is to blow up Delhi with this nuclear bomb and blame it on some Islamic group. This is when the film provides finally some thrill and excitement. The culprit is killed, bomb traced and defused and Saif Ali Khan heads to South Africa to eliminate one more of a group who actually are behind such terror plots - a promise of a sequel.

Agent Vinod traverses from place to place as Saif Ali Khan follows clues. But because of this it comes across as a totally disjointed film. Nothing makes sense as men are tossed, kicked and shot. You don‘t care after a while since you are not taken into confidence as to who is who and why people are killing each other; no villain is constant or established. One makes an appearance and is killed soon enough. The Indian audience loves dhishum-dhishum and gun shots, not silencer-fitted guns. There is no flow of story, no explanations.


There are no smart one-liners the heroes in such films are expected to mouth; the few that are there are wry and too subtle to be enjoyed. There are no other distractions as the film has no comedy or emotions, songs lack appeal and romance, whatever little there is, is silent.


Yes, the film is beautifully shot and is apt technically, but that is not what attracts the audience as much an interesting story and entertainment. The film makes no demands on actors‘ histrionics as there is no drama; Saif Ali Khan has to survive this film on his charm which, alas, is missing. Kareena Kapoor is a hanger-on, playing an aide to Saif Ali Khan and looking forlorn. All the action and excitement going around never seem to touch her. The rest of the cast-Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover, Ram Kapoor, Ravi Kissen, Shahbaz Khan-is packed off before you notice them.


Agent Vinod has had an average opening and its prospects from single screen are not bright while prospects at multiplexes are limited and hence far short of being cost effective.

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