Prelude: Circa, Many years ago…in between two epoch making events , the successful release of “Ek Haseena Thhi and the formation of a new company called “Illuminati Films Pvt Ltd”
Sriram: This is tacky beyond shape, I just wont be able to make it the way it’s done here. Now we are talking said an enthusiastic Saif. Tell me what do you like in the movie?
See now ,when two people are reasonable what can't they not achieve, Saif's normal grammar takes some unexpected turn in his excitement. We have practically finished the film here...right here on the table Sriram, all that remains is the shooting, lets just give it a once over and make a checklist
- Remake of "Agent Vinod" only more sexier, more stylish with the unique Sriram Raghavan feel.
- The agent will need to have some legitimacy so we can make him an agent of either the Indian army or the RAW…we shall toss for that later. ( Keep a coin handy for the decision making.Saif scribbles this note down at the side)
- India –Pakistan, nuclear bomb ( basic ingredients)
- Bomb Logistics : Bomb moving from place to place. So we take the audience through the logistics of the complete cycle of Bomb procurement to Bomb Destination
- Car Chases, minimum 2 and maximum 5( contact a Logistics company for an in-cinema sponsorship )
- Ok lets settle on Two car chases, One motorbike ride, One plane or chopper sequence, yeah I guess that should do ( Harley Davidson is making noises of entering India...approach them for free bikes and sponsorship)
- Action : has to be gritty, real, fights choreographed perfection like the ones in Jason Bourne movies.
- Guns and arms , loads of them
- Babes…Sriram votes for Kareena, Saif is non-committal and says we need at least one more woman part with real lines . Essential ingredient lots of cleavage and designer dresses. ( This portion nearly pushed the time line by 3 years because Bebo was a size sero then and it would be another 4 years before she could muster up some physiological material for a real cleavage)
- Music …for remakes it has to be – Pritam, his sounds are refreshingly international and shall be familiar to all the countries we finally release the movie in.
A sniffling Kareena who cries when they are passing her old home in Karachi is told by a stern faced Saif, “ agar tumhari Yaadon Ki baraat khatam ho gayi to…aagey sochey’ The tone is droll and the sense of humour is distinctly evident and its Indian. But is this Bond meets Ethan hunt meet Jason bourne meet Mahendra Sandhu actually there? Yes it is.
Saif in and as Agent Vinod is on fire. Writer-Directors Sriram Raghavan’s vision has transported the humdrum Agent Vinod of the late seventies into the jet age and spread him across the geography of the globe. This is as much as can be said about the ‘Bond’ness of the film. Its spread is its weakest link too as in addressing all the issues related to Inidanness – Pakistani agents not to be demonized ( so we have Bilal, Iram, Parveen played by a Kareena Kapoor looking glorious) The director does his absolute best and it is evident when you look at the scenes individually. Each scene is filmed superbly, the cut the ethos around the scene magnificent yet while the scene has loads of depth, cohesively across the length of the movie these scenes don’t seem to come together and fit seamlessly into a plot that at once heightens the viewing pleasure of an adrenaline starved audience. This experience remains flat.
The movie has superb locales and its in the first twenty minutes that the movie rises and reaches a peak and from then on the peaks are never breached. Reverting back and paying tribute to Hindi cinema of the seventies in the frame building is a style that is adopted by todays filmmakers and Raghavan is no exception. He uses it liberally. There is one point where the good cinematic quotient reaches a high and achieves greatness that is in the song Raabta, its filming is pure genius. Maryam Zakaria as the second …if Bond girls are called Bond girls should we call her “Vinod’ girl is saucy and sultry. The rest of the star cast is a study in caricatural villainy and a throwaway to the tacky version from which this remakes finds its roots, this includes the scorpion tattoos sported by each villainous gang member.
Yet as films go this movie still is worth a watch. It is technically very sharp and performances when not over the top are generally good. Saif is what makes the movie watchable, his bearing throughout the movie is superb and he is throughout in character. Does this have a potential for a sequel ??? Most definitely.
Only the second time around in the checklist if the Actor-Producer and the Writer–Director instead of an item number ( Mika's voice has mischief in the catchy rhythmic Pungi song, though Saif struggles through it ) they include STORY/PLOT somewhere higher up in the order, it would certainly be something to look forward to.