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‘Agent Vinod’: Movie Review (2012)

First Look & Poster of Hindi Movie "Agent Vinod"Movie Review (2012)
“Agent Vinod”
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Ram Kapoor, Gulshan Grover, Prem Chopra
Directed by: Sriram Raghavan

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Believe me, it’s really a small world. Even though a film purporting to be as epic in proportion as “Agent Vinod” travels all across the world to capture some of the most never-seen spots in the world, the plot – an intelligent clever, urbane and wry melange of Bourne and Bond, “Farz” and “Mission Impossible”, finally finds its most assured resting-place in apana jahaan Delhi.

The last half hour where an international terrorist outfit attempts to blow up Delhi, gets the grammar of an espionage thriller so riveting and so right, you wonder what took director Sriram Raghavan so long to get there.

“Agent Vinod” is the kind of meticulously crafted spy drama where cerebral considerations mesh into more earthy demands of commercial Hindi cinema, like item songs in smoky bars, shootouts in dust toasted-brown locations that are as treacherous as they are daunting and, wonder of wonders, a clumsily-choreographed Mujra which doesn’t quite fit into the smooth storytelling.

Smitten more than we can eschew.

From its opening in a Taliban-infested area, there is no dearth of intrigue in “Agent Vinod”. Agents, counter-agents, moles and molls, open-air flea markets and shopping malls jostle for attention in a script that appears to know its John le Carrre as well as its Nick Carter.

Raghavan spins a delicious yarn of guns and growls, but blessedly no gadgets. The action is crackling. The soundtrack is a chirpy mix of cheesy retro (RD and Asha Bhosle “Meri jaan tune kaha” from the film “The Train” pops up unannounced) and contemporary techno sounds.

The plot, perched precariously on the brink of self-indulgence, never spins out of control.

Clearly Sriram and Saif adore the spy genre. We can see the fun they’ve had in doing this film. But beneath the boys-having-fun mood is an undertone of reverence for all the espionage films from our own “Agent Vinod” in 1977 to Hollywood’s Mission Impossible series.

Holding the restless plot in place is Saif’s clenched and controlled performance. He desists from playing the spy to the galleries. He is urbane cool, yes. But he doesn’t enjoy shooting the enemies for his country and really, patriotic jingoism is left far behind in the race to save civilisation from a nuclear catastrophe. There’s a job to be done.And no room for fornication and fun.

Agent Vinod must be the only spy film from India where the Indian flag is not saluted or even mentioned in passing in hushed or shrill tones. This guy with a funny name would rather get along with the job .

Saif’s performance is unfussy, no-nonsense and largely humourless. The end-title when he attempts to do a funny song seem so out of character, you wonder why the spy is trying so hard to be comical when we like him Martini-dry .

Ambling from one exotic location to another with the irradiant Kareena Kapoor in tow, Saif is a portrait of restrained heroism. He gets much-needed support from a cast of actors who seem to have been chosen without a second option. Every player knows his job and does it without looking distracted or self-important.

Raghavan’s direction is deep-focussed on the inner world of people who live on the edge. There is no room for romance or emotions. In the only meaty sequence that she has, Kareena moves us to tears when she tells Saif she wants a normal girl’s life. Significantly Saif eats as she weeps.

No, he isn’t rude. Just honest. Life doesn’t just go on. It goes on uncaring about those moments of tearful stock-taking which moviegoers would like to think of as the essence of life.

For all its sharply-defined interludes of counter-intelligence manoeuvres, “Agent Vinod” tends to get long-winded, though miraculously the narrative never gets out of breath. On the contrary it takes our breath away towards the end when in a climactic bomb-defusion end-game that is reminiscent of Mani Shankar’s “16 December”.

The globally-shot material is edited by Pooja Ladha Surti with more room for the narrative to sprawl and recline than necessary. Really, how much of the disconnected derring-do can we take before we throw our hands up in unresisting surrender?

The action sequences by Peter Heins and Parvez are sometimes heart-in-the-mouth. Other times they seem to have been put together on the editing table.

Life’s like that. You are either swept away in circumstances beyond your control. Or you create situations that you choose to be swept away in.

“Agent Vinod” is not quite the overwhelming experience that you would want a global espionage thriller to be. More thoughtful than thundering, more la Carre and less Bond it nonetheless take the spy genre in Hindi to a new level of finesse. Finally, the cool quotient in Raghavan’s chic spin on the espionage thriller is so high that you forget Bond and all his bloody brothers.

Saif imparts a dry devilish dispassion to his spy’s part,. He doesn’t get time to tell Kareena how much he loves her.

That’s for the best. We already know that.


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12 Responses to “‘Agent Vinod’: Movie Review (2012)”

  1. Ram kumar
    March 24, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    Hi….Agent vinod will surely be the worst movie of the year…the script, the direction and even the acting up to a great extent is absolutely kiddish…..it’s shocking to see that only this critic has given the movie a good rating and most others r honest….so the question is – is there corruption behind this as well….even a kid can say the movie is a piece of crap

  2. Ankit verma
    March 24, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    I full agree….there is no other way to describe but — The Worst Movie of the year….

    Shame on directors like this who spoil bollywood’s image and that’s y people around the globe call Hindi movies as kiddish with people running around trees…though there are movies like Kahaani which r a piece of great work

  3. critical review
    March 25, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    This review is so hard to understand what this person is trying to say. I am wondering if this reviewer is only trying to impress with a poetic writing knowledge, vs focusing on writing a clean, easy to understand review. so disappointing.

    Do agree with the comments below that Kahaani was a great movie – so commercial and yet so different. probably one of the best since Johnny Gaddar!

  4. Neeraj Kumar
    March 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Worst movie

  5. karan verma
    March 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    i have fully impressed this movie. because every man different thinking … (Nawab Saif Ali Khan is rockkkkkkkkkkk).i think every person should watch this movie.


  6. vertex yumnam
    March 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    agent vinod is d worst movie , i hv ever seen….saif sucks in d movie nd as well as kareena too…..they are suitable for comedy movie , but nt for action movies ….nd i would suggest bollywood ,,not to copy hollywood movies , they should create their own ideas for movies…best f luck bollywood ….

  7. ritwik
    March 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    surely a flop…………….saifeena i a flop on screen pair………..dnt noe whtr it wil b a hit or flop off screen pair

  8. Dhwani
    March 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    worst ever movie…!!!!!!!!!

  9. Kevin
    March 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    first time I saw Indian movie, I m impressed from their work. Appreciated….

    saif…resembles me like James bond …

    good work..

    my rating – - – - > * * * */5

  10. Shivaji the boss
    March 30, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Bosssssss movie to faddu

  11. Manoj prajapat
    March 30, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    I’m impressed to Agent Vinod

  12. review unknow
    April 5, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    this movie is just a piece of shit !!!
    avoid wasting your time in watching this crap movie

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