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Movie Review: Agent Vinod

I love Bollywood films to death but I’ll be first to admit that we don’t do action well. Our forte is romantic comedies and dramas but there is no desi version of Mission Impossible or Men in Black.

Which is precisely why this Friday’s release, Agent Vinod, caught my attention. Coming with the hype of a desi Bond flick, I was interested to see what Saif Ali Khan’s first production would churn out.

Agent Vinod borrows its name from the 1977 Hindi movie, which itself was inspired by the Bond franchise.  After a nuclear suitcase bomb goes missing, Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) travels through a dozen countries (Uzbekistan, Russia, Morocco, Karachi) across the world to prevent the bomb from reaching enemy hands and threatening lives of innocent Indians. In his pursuit, he joins up with Dr. Ruby Mendes/Iram Parveen Bilal (Kareena Kapoor) to stop the bad guys.

Directed by Sriram Raghavan of Ek Hasina Thi fame, Agent Vinod definitely reminds you of the Bond franchise. The hero is suave, slick and has an undeniable effect on the ladies even while he manages to squeeze out of one deadly situation after another. The film is shot on a lavish scale with a number of hot women (Ann Lee Roberts, Mallika Haydon, Maryam Zakaria) making fleeting appearances. While the gadgets are missing and the action very basic, you do enjoy this quest.  Where the movie differs from Bond is that it never takes itself too seriously and the dark humor ads freshness to the proceedings.

While Agent Vinod manages to make a decent attempt at the action thriller genre, it doesn’t soar as high as it could have. The excessive runtime and jumping through countries leaves the viewer confused. Also, by choosing to (SPOILER!) leave room for a sequel, the effectiveness of the climax is diluted, thus leaving the viewer with an unsettling feeling.

Saif Ali Khan is believable as our Desi Bond. He’s come far from his chocolate boy days of Yeh Dillagi and Kal Ho Naa Ho and looks and acts the part of Agent Vinod. He has a great physique and his comic timing is top-notch as always. Kareena Kapoor does a good job but her role is a supporting one and you wish she got a chance to kick the villains’ butts. Nonetheless, she manages to look glamourous, especially in the “Dil Mera Muft” number.

Pritam’s music is a highlight of the film, but in an action film like Agent Vinod, it just slows down the proceedings. Chartubuster “I’ll Do the Talking Tonight” is greatly edited and “Pungi” only appears in the end credits. However, special points are deserved for the choreography and composition of the “Raabata” number.

Agent Vinod is a solid attempt at the action thriller genre and I have to admit that Saif Ali Khan does well as the Indian Bond. However, you can’t help but think this could have been a snappier ride had the editing scissors been used more liberally.

Dollz Rating: 3 stars out of 5

P.S. Fun fact – Kareena’s character was named after my good friend and fellow Caltech alum, filmmaker Iram Parveen Bilal.

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Synopsis:

The story begins with a series of seemingly unconnected events, all over the globe. In Uzbekistan, an Ex-KCG officer is tortured murdered. In Cape Town, a group of international business tycoons discuss a rumor that the dead KCB officer had a nuclear suitcase Bomb hidden away. In Moscow, an Indian secret agent is exposed. The agent is shot dead while trying to send a code red message to India. In India, the head of RAW sees the incomplete message. All it contains is a number 242.Enter AGENT VINOD. Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) is the kind of agent who first kicks the door open and then finds out what’s behind it. His unconventional approach puts him in dangerous situations, but he manages to get the crucial leads. Vinod is sent to Moscow to investigate why his colleague killed. Vinod finds out that a Russian money launderer Abu Nazar has sent 58 Million Dollars to a contact in Morocco, for an operation against India. Vinod leaves for Morocco, where he meets an elderly Mafidsi Kazan and the beautiful but mysterious or ruby. 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. Agent Vinod, you may not agree with his methods, but you sure are glade he’s on our side. Agent Vinod your passport to action adventure.

Directed by Sriram Raghavan and produced by Illuminati Films, the film released worldwide on March 23rd, 2012.

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