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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Movie ‘Agent Vinod’: Gripping Espionage Thriller!


Saif Ali Khan’s most ambitious movie ‘Agent Vinod’—the title borrowed from the spy flick made in 1977--got released all over on March 23, 2012. The movie in its second week has not yet been declared a hit and its business is not overwhelming. It has earned quite a few bad reviews and caustic comments from Indian movie goers. The mood for the film seems to be biased, per-conceived and downright unworthy.

In fact I too was misled by a prominent review and was happy not to have already booked for it. But a few others made me confused and I finally decided to watch the movie to judge for myself. I took the risk on April 1st itself, but was pleasantly surprised at not being made an April fool in the slightest.My wife also confirmed the same sentiment. 

Agent Vinodis a hardcore spy flick which is also a rare genre in India. Though the title is borrowed from the Agent Vinod movie made in 1977 this not a remake and there is no resemblance in the storyline or its dress and style codes. While Mahendra Sandhu became a household name in the key role of spy Agent Vinod that became a surprise hit, Saif Ali Khan in the same role in a more stylized, intelligent, well-structured and complicated version is still struggling to establish his new found identity. 

The basic plot of the movie is a nuclear bomb being taken to its destination and its detonator transferred in the innocuous garb of Omar Khayyam’s Rubbaiyat through an extraordinary auction.  Murder of a colleague takes Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan)—a secret agent from an Indian intelligence agency—to Moscow with the only clue of code ‘242’ and after shootouts with the suspect Abu Nazer ( Ram Kapoor) gang Vinod follows leads to arrive in Morocco. There he confronts David Kazan (Prem Chopra—the baddie of the classic era of Hindi cinema) and his mysterious beautiful assistant Dr. Ruby (Kareen Kapur). After a series of intrigued conflicts laced with wry humor Vinod discovers the enormity of the auction and finds himself in hot pursuit of the elusive Colonel (Adil Hussain). 

Through high-paced action, twists and turn the movie takes you on a global tour starting from Afghanistan, Moscow, Russia, and Morocco and through Riga, even Somalia, Cape Town, Karachi to finally climax in New Delhi and London with shootouts, Hitchcock-type suspense at times, breathtaking car and auto-rickshaw chases and extraordinary locales. Apart from keeping you engrossed it never even allows you to think where it is leading you to. Seemingly unconnected scenes will remain so for you if you do not follow the well-knit and intelligent script. Brilliant cinematography and razor-sharp editing add to the pleasure of watching. When you finally feel it is all over in New Delhi you are taken to London for another shattering climax. Mystery concerning the characters of Dr. Ruby, the Colonel and Mr. Metla gives you the suspense treat and surprises. At one or two points you feel there are link breaks, but you can think it over only after the thrilling fare is over! 

Agent Vinod in no James Bond, no Bourne and not even Mahendra Sandhu. It is a most positive addition to the Indian spy film genre. It is not a typical Bollywood fare and maybe that is the reason why it is going over the heads of many movie goers. Maybe the marketing and publicity strategy for the movie was wrongly conceived projecting Saif as a funny and joker spy forgetting his path-breaking performance in Omkara. His punching-the nose-of-an NRI that was seen as a publicity stunt definitely did not help his movie. But eventually Agent Vinod is set to score high.

Kudos to director Sriram Raghavan who gave us slick flicks like Ek Haseena Thi and Johnny Gaddar earlier. We hope he will go on making sequels to Agent Vinod.  We fail to understand why people of Pakistan should miss out on this tremendous thriller that talks of better relations between our two countries rather than defaming Pakistan's intelligence agencies.

                                                                                                     NSNE8ZQF8VST (For Technorati)

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