Saif Ali Khan’s self confessed most ambitious film till date ‘Agent Vinod’ opened to almost filled theaters in India for the first show at least, thanks to the off screen chemistry of Saif And Kareena Kapoor and the hype generated from the promotions.
Agent Vinod had everything at its disposal – money, resources, technology, creative liberty and talented actors – to deliver a path breaking and game altering film but regrettably it remains a moderate experience. Sriram Raghavan is a talented filmmaker and anybody who questions that must watch ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ and ‘Johny Gaddar’. Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Ravi Kishan (cameo), Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover and Ram Kapoor are all talented actors. Hence, there was everything available to make Agent Vinod a classic spy thriller but it would only be remembered for its technical brilliance (DoP C.K. Muraleedharan) and world class editing (Pooja Surti).
Agent Vinod is a lustrous production with a big budget being shelled out to span more than half of the world, using super fast cars, army jeeps, choppers, sophisticated weapons and blasts here and there. Saif Ali Khan impresses in quite a few scenes and Kareena tries her best. The supporting cast members are strictly okay. The action is sleek, the film is well paced and it starts with an interesting premise that holds promise. Sadly, the tempo is lost with the running time being stretched a little too much and with all the songs and dance routines that pop out from nowhere and sit nowhere in the genre.
Vinod is an agent of Research and Analysis Wing who embarks on a mission to find out what ‘242’ is. There is a no brainer here and those who are willing to work around their grey matter, save it, it is merely another nuclear weapon, a miniature one at that which has an even more miniature detonator. So, Vinod is Kapil Dev, Mahendra Sandhu and several other men but Agent Vinod to the world. Sure, he is a spy and should not reveal his identity. The film runs through multiple continents (12 countries to be precise) only to land in Delhi where the Indian capital is about to be blown apart. No brownies for guessing that our Indian Spy hero would save the day.
What work for the film are the gritty action sequences, chases, blasts, bullets flying all around and the locales that are a treat for anyone. What does not work for the film is unfortunately heavier than the pros. There was absolutely no need for the multiple songs. Whenever Agent Vinod arrives at a country, there is a right up on your face welcome placard (dialogue) that announces his arrival which makes it a little too tacky. The seed of the film or the concept is at best juvenile and there is no need to think or get worked up. Agent Vinod does not manage to thrill you even one bit which is a basic requirement for a film to make sense of the genre of spy thriller. Interrogations are lackluster and do not impress at all. In reality, these scenes are a major turn off. Kareena Kapoor does not manage to pull off the spy act with élan. She lacks that expression which is expected of a suave and conniving undercover agent. The villains in the film are not villainous and do not seem to pose any threat to even Agent Vinod, let aside a country such as India. A lady emerging from the sea, dance routine at a pub and trying too hard to remain complicated – the script and the story could have been much better than what it eventually turned out to be.
A few good things about Agent Vinod is that it does not show Pakistan in bad light, rather our old neighbor is shown as a friend and the nuclear attack is a brainchild of a section of wealthy businessmen to make money. The plot is half baked and the audience does not feel the thrill for even a moment after the first 40 minutes or so. Sriram Raghavan does a good job as a Director but he could have done a better job as a writer and should have conducted a few more workshops for the actors. Saif Ali Khan is good, suave, fit but fails to deliver the perfect performance which he could have done.
The background score of Agent Vinod is perfect to suit an espionage film and the post production is brilliant. Some scenes look a little funny, such as the copter scene in the climax where it clearly does not meet the standards set by Hollywood. Agent Vinod defies logic almost throughout the film and even comes up with impossible stints for a spy of any repute. When we look at Agent Vinod after watching the movie, it seems that there was no need to travel to so many countries and the plot just was not huge enough to demand so much hullaballoo.
Agent Vinod is at best a onetime watch and then again, do not expect a Jason Bourne or any Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy. The film may have a good opening weekend but would possibly fall short of becoming a hit, a blockbuster is out of the equation. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s last outing ‘Kurbaan’ was a huge disappointment but Agent Vinod may not be such a massive disaster. Saif Ali Khan’s aspirations to do a sequel of Agent Vinod may have to wait though, at least till such time they get a writer who can come up with a worthwhile story. If you are supposed to go all around the world to come up with cheesy interrogations and senseless or no brainer terror plots then a franchise is anything but possible.
Agent Vinod impresses in a few scenes and could have been significantly better which sadly due to some poor performances by a few actors and an average job by the writer fails to become an excellent watch.