Film: Agent Vinod
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Adil Hussain, Prem Chopra, Shahbaz Khan
“Yaadon ki baarat disturb karne ke liye sorry,” says Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) to a teary-eyed Dr Iram Bilal (Kareena Kapoor), who has returned to homeland Pakistan (after being away for 15 years). Pakistan is just another country as they inch closer to cracking a terror plot. The lines are among the roughly three or four chuckle-worthy scenes that the otherwise chic (appearance wise) yet scraggly (plot wise) Agent Vinod has to offer.
Espionage tales know no boundaries and locations the exotic the better. Agent Vinod is no different. Afghanistan. Russia. Morocco. Pakistan. UK. New Delhi. A Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) officer, Agent Vinod is on a mission to stop an impending nuclear war.
The premise of the film and the potency of Agent Vinod is established in the beginning with an introductory (not to mention pointless) gun battle in Afghanistan. Every new country has a new lead, more sinister faces than the first one and clue to what next. David Kazaan (Prem Chopra), Colonel (Adil Hussain), Abu Nazer (Ram Kapoor) waltz in and out of the film.
For those interested in the story, the plot is simple. There’s a bomb that will inevitably explode and kill several Indians (it’s convenient considering our population). Agent Vinod must stop that. While at it, he must fall in love, so he has a purpose to seek revenge. Anything more and we step into spoiler territory.
Director Sriram Raghavan (Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar) delivers a neat package, a suave lead hero slogging it out in picture-perfect locations, packing punches here and there, zooming off on sexy bikes, sexier cars and finally a copter, all in a day’s work. Saif looks and acts the part like a boss, his unwavering focus and diligence thoroughly a treat to watch. In comparison, Kareena becomes an uneven ally thanks to misplaced expressions. Cheesy conversations between them take away from the built-up severity. Adil Hussain as Colonel stands out for an understated yet impressive performance.
Written by Raghavan and Arijit Biswas, Agent Vinod is fairly engaging, if not memorable. The dialogue is passable but works only because of Saif. Pooja Ladha Surti’s editing is slick, but the length is repulsive. One question sticking out like a sore thumb is: Why didn’t Agent Vinod shoot dead Colonel in the basement when he clearly could? This could have magically cut the film by an hour and a half. Pointers to a sequel are shamelessly exposed, so no surprises if an announcement to the effect is soon made.
Technically, the film is as polished as our refined hero. Daniel B George’s background score provides the perfect setting for a suspense-thriller, while Pritam’s music (okay, let’s forget all those plagiarism charges for a minute) aids the existence of the love angle. Rabtais beautiful, while Dil Mera Muft Ka and Pungi are a tad annoying. The fight sequence set toRabta is exceptionally executed. The murder of Boney M’s Rasputin is unforgivable.
Agent Vinod is smartly put together and works because of Saif. That is enough reason for you to go watch it.