Agent Vinod

Director: Sriram Raghavan

Actors: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Ravi Kissen, Ram Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover

Genre: Spy thriller/Action

Rating: **

More often that not, bollywood’s aspiration of doing a Hollywood have resulted in the final product being neither here nor there. Agent Vinod, which has been under production for about 2 years and in news ever since then,   was supposed to change that perception, and it actually could have, considering the director’s impeccable past record of delivering slick thrillers with a cool quotient, (Ek Haseena Thi, Johny Gaddar) and at budget less than a half of this at helm.

Sadly, it doesn’t!

The basic problem with the movie (and there are many) is its screenplay, which tries too hard to be intelligent, and in the process ends up disjointed and patchy. As a result you just have a lot of sequences of people talking about some security stuff and random killings, with a character getting killed every ten minutes.

The story revolves around the suave RAW agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan), who, traverses across countries in order to find and deactivate a briefcase nuclear bomb which is targeted to hit apni Dilli and can, apparently, start World War III.  On his way, he meets the beautiful Iram (Kareena Kapoor) , whose character is probably intended to be on the lines of a Bond girl (Vinod-girl, eh?) , but only ends up somewhere between a pretty damsel in distress and a girl with a mission. Expectedly, love blossoms, but thankfully, the track has been kept brief sans any dream sequence. The fast pace required for such a film is missing, and the moments of subtle wit and humor and very few, which is unforgivable considering the film needed a lot of it and the ease with Khan has been doing it in his previous outings.

Action is surprisingly ordinary for an ambitious film such as this. Bollywood has done action much better, the most recent being Don 2. Except for the opening sequence in the desert of death, none of the sequences actually hold your attention. Cinematography is first rate, but again, we had seen much better. (Don 2 again!) Thankfully, the director has refrained from putting in any uncalled for dance numbers, and the background music is actually how it should be. Though the film maker’s love for the retro is a little too evident throughout the movie, with numerous R D Burman melodies playing in the background, as well as his choice of actors, though one wishes veterans like Prem Chopra and Gulshan Grover were better utilized. Editing is perhaps the weakest department of the movie, and it could have been a good 30 min. shorter. Post interval, quite a few sequences test your patience.

Saif is effortlessly cool, and looks drool worthy, but hasn’t he been doing the same since a decade? Kareena surprisingly, despite having quite a meaty role, fails to shine, and even her looks are only a reminiscent of her usual hits, the recent being Ek Main aur Ekk Tu. Rest of the cast is passable, with the Bad Man popping up only for the mujra, and even the mujra is not half as good as it could have been.

Saif’s cool spy act, and the retro-isms , those make the two stars!

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