Movie Review : Agent Vinod
Friday, March 23, 2012 2:43:20 PM (IST)
Anaam, Bollywood Trade Editorial
So, it took almost 4 years to develop this mishmash of a script with a commonplace premise and story of a regular spy thriller. AGENT VINOD pays tribute to almost every film of the genre and to countless other films and filmmakers. How many more films will it take for Sriram Raghvan to clear his debt to the all time greats of cinema and what is his compulsion to do that? Kyon karz ka yeh bhaari bojh zabaradasti sir pe uthaye ghoom rahein hain? Bas karo dost, aage badho. If he thinks that by doing so he adds some cinematic virtue and gravitas to his films, he is unwise as well as boringly cliched. One hopes he is not trying to establish it as his signature leitmotif.
He is advised to do some soul searching and serious thinking now. The pastiche script of a film like AGENT VINOD can be churned out in a few days and if the money is in place, the film can be shot, edited, and ready for release in six months. In fact, you don’t have to spend time and money in developing such a script. You can write it while you shoot. AGENT VINOD can certainly be made that way if the late Raj Kapoor could do it for an elaborately crafted film like RAM TERI GANGA MAILI. Trust me, I have seen it. The dialogues of RAM TERI… would arrive on the sets after the shot was ready.
It does not matter if a film technician thinks he has done a smart job. It’s the audience that has to say that. Craftiness and stylebaazi beyond a point is counter-productive since it leaves obvious traces and gets tiresome. AGENT VINOD tires you with its repetitive copycat craftiness. It kills your appetite for cinema and the blatant political correctness bugs you to no end. It’s surprising that Sriram could not sense this problem.
Now let us come to the story of the film. It’s the same old story. Terrorists are on to something really big. The ace RAW agent Major Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) who has just survived his perilous and adventure filled outing in Afghanistan is assigned the task to unravel the mystery. He has some clues left behind by his RAW colleague Major Rajan (Ravi Kishan) who was killed while pursuing a terrorist group. Agent Vinod sets off on his mission and finally discovers that the terror groups are after a suitcase size portable nuclear bomb. He also meets a female ISI agent Dr. Ruby aka Dr Iram Parveen Bilal (Kareena Kapoor) at the place of a Morocco based bald headed don David Kazaan (Prem Chopra).
Agent Vinod’s penchant to raid his enemy’s den and confront him, with apparently undefined operational objectives and plans, repeatedly leads to his capture, torture, and eventual escape after fast paced hand-to-hand combat, and gun-fights, shot dynamically in close ups. You don’t know who is hitting who till the fight ends with dead bodies strewn all around and our hero emerging victorious. This approach is anything but audience friendly.
A character called Colonel (Adil Hussain) proves a tough cookie. He is always one step ahead of our all-powerful death-defying hero. He nearly succeeds in his mission to blow up the NCR Delhi with the portable nuke bomb thanks largely to the stupidity of Agent Vinod who somehow let these dangerous guys slip out of his hands. By God’s grace the Indian capital is saved from the catastrophe with a little help from the ISI agent Parveen Bilal who is in love with Agent Vinod now. However, before Agent Vinod could fill sindoor in the parting of her hair to fulfil her long-cherished dream, this glorious messenger of RAW-ISI bhaichara achieves martyrdom.
The film’s politically correct and puerile premise paints a picture of warm camaraderie between RAW and ISI officers, exonerates ISI, and LeT of any wrong-doing, and implicates a group of businessmen, retired politicians, and generals as the real enemies of peace who hatch terrorist plots to make money at the Stock Markets. In spite of this the film is banned in Pakistan. If the Pakistani leaders, ISI, and LeT cite AGENT VINOD as a proof of their innocence after the next terrorist attack on Indian soil, it won’t surprise this writer.
There is nothing in this story you have not seen and heard before - from its background scores, to its dialogues, costumes, characterisations, locations, and shot divisions. It is a déjà vu film. That is where lies Sriram’s hard work. He has meticulously culled together a screenplay of tributes to his forerunners. He is not even subtle this time. As a result the film comes across as a crude parody than a reverent eulogy.
I have serious misgivings about the film’s box office success beyond this weekend. It is an artistically questionable opus. It is not audience friendly either.
Three stars to the film - one for its action sequences, one for the lyrics of the ‘poongi’ song, and one for Sriram Raghvan’s innate goodness. There are very few like him in the industry. I hope and pray for his survival and success.
Ratings : 3/5
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