Agent Vinod – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on March 23, 2012 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Saif Ali Khan, Dinesh Vijan
DIRECTOR – Sriram Raghavan
WRITER – Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas
CAST – Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Adil Hussain, Prem Chopra
MUSIC – Pritam
Agent Vinod begins with a quote from the classic western ‘The Good, Bad and Ugly’ about the trivialities of names. It is immediately succeeded by a desert shot telling us to expect rawness and grit. The action shifts to a Pakistani military outpost where Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) is bound and gagged and being interrogated for information. A high-octane action sequence coupled with very intelligence agent-esque trickery follows.
From there the film moves onto Moscow. Or was it Latvia? Or Morocco? The film globe-trots with a vengeance from there on saddled with a plot unwilling to follow. Agent Vinod, a RAW Agent is on the trail of a nuclear device and a plan to detonate it in Delhi. Twist by twist he inches closer to the answer and meets several dons, terrorists, guns and chases. He also meets a pretty ISI agent Irma Parveen Bilal (Kareena Kapoor) whose agenda remains dubitable till the near-end yet they continue working together, just like how it happens in Hindi movies. After the glamorous world tour, the film waltzes home to India and has two and not one endings. And then an epilogue.
Sriram Raghavan’s films have several directorial stamps. The delectable quirkiness of his humour, the unending references to pulp fiction and films in general, homages to characters and memories of the 70’s cinema, whimsical use of yesteryear’s Hindi film music and so on. All of that finds ample presence here. But above all they have a stark intelligence and a distinct voice that gives the film its personality, coupled with a strong narrative and a keen eye for thrills. Somehow, Agent Vinod misses out on that. So while you enjoy the Charlie Chaplin joke or smile at Don references, you continue to search for that sparkling intelligence and innocuous manner of narrating a scene that transforms the banal into brilliant in his previous films – Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddar.
There are twists aplenty and innumerable chases too. There are overdone and uncomfortable looking secondary cast like Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover and B.P. Singh (the creator of the serial CID). Kareena and Saif keep up with the forced frenzy but have little to show for it. Sketchily written characters and a complete lack of intrigue in narrative, motivation and the clue-hunting makes the watching ambivalent. Snazzy editing and glamorous cinematography do not help and that is unfortunate because both are used with tremendous honesty.
Honesty perhaps is the only quality of this rather lacklustre and cold thriller that is watchable but forgettable. Mounted on a large scale and made with a complete sincerity to tell a tale of an Indian spy in the mould of Western standards. There is no show-off or technical overindulgence. There is a concentration on narrative which unfortunately, simply does not make us invested enough.