In Agent Vinod, RAW agent, Vinod (Saif Ali Khan), goes on an international mission to find out what ‘242’ is. He kills bad men and bumps into Iram (Kareena Kapoor), a Pakistani. When ‘242’ turns out to be a nuclear bomb, about to be exploded in Delhi, Vinod is called to save the day. Find out more in the review.
Rating: 2/5 (Two stars)
Star cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Dhritiman Chatterji, Aadil Hussain, Ram Kapoor, Shahbaaz Khan, Zakir Hussain.
What’s Good: The action sequences; the stylized cinematography; the snappy editing.
What’s Bad: The ordinary story; the unnecessarily confusing script; the lack of an emotional connection between the audience and the protagonist; the absence of chemistry between Saif and Kareena’s characters; the laughable climax.
Verdict: Agent Vinod is a bold experiment gone wrong; certainly not something that entertains in its entirety.
Loo break: A couple.
Watch or Not?: Watch it only if you want to see an Indian spy movie. But be warned that it comes nowhere closer to the Bond or the Bourne series of Hollywood films.
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Illumilati Films and Eros International’s Agent Vinod is about the adventures of a daredevil Indian RAW agent, Vinod (Saif Ali Khan).
When his colleague is mysteriously killed while on a mission in Russia, Agent Vinod is pressed into service to find out what ‘242’, the only clue that the dead colleague had left behind, is. Next, Vinod struts into a disco in St. Petersburg, Russia, and interrogates mafia don, Abu Nazer (Ram Kapoor), who points Vinod to David Kazan (Prem Chopra) in Morocco. While in Morocco, Vinod travels incognito but is taken hostage and interrogated by Kazan and his associate, Dr. Ruby a.k.a. Iram Bilal (Kareena Kapoor). Under the effect of truth serum, Vinod reveals to them his real identity, but turns the tale around quickly enough to confuse Kazan and Iram.
Next, he finds out that Iram, a Pakistani, was involved in a car bombing incident in London and is wanted there. But he still works with her to find out more about ‘242’. Eventually, as Vinod flies across countries – from Morocco to Latvija to Pakistan and finally, India – he discovers that 242 is nothing but a dirty nuclear bomb that has got into the wrong hands. Interestingly, the bomb can be activated using a chip inside an antique book, which Kazan had bought at an auction. There is another mysterious man, Colonel, who seems to be the boss of the organization which is hell bent on detonating the nuclear bomb in India. As Colonel takes possession of the antique book from Kazan, a covert war begins between him and Vinod, with Iram on the sidelines. What follows are multiple action scenes, car chases, murders, and the like. Is Agent Vinod able to save the day and defuse the bomb? Is he able to capture the real culprit behind the act? What happens to Iram? The rest of the film answers these questions.
Agent Vinod Review: Script Analysis
Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas’s story is noting out of the ordinary when you compare to other films of the same genre. Of course, Bollywood has seen very few spy films of late, at least not any memorable ones, but that doesn’t imply that the audience will accept a below-average story. However, it is the screenplay, also by the same writers, is where Agent Vinod really falters. While the writer-director Sriram Raghavan has made sure that the scenes are slickly shot and executed but at times, they hardly make any sense. Although this does gives a feeling of anticipation, the audience soon realizes that there is nothing earth-shattering that is going to be revealed in the plot.
Agent Vinod’s characterisation is such that the viewer is given no reason to root for him as he goes on about his exploits. On the other hand, Iram’s character is supposed to gain the viewer’s sympathy, but even that attempt falls flat on its face.
Granted, a few scenes of the spy games between Vinod and Iram and a handful of action sequences (including an imaginatively choreographed one with the song Raabta in the background), entertain, but since the basic plot is very simple and the screenplay unnecessarily convoluted, the viewer soon looses interest in the proceedings. The drama just lacks pace just before and after the interval. The climax, turns out to be unintentionally funny. The dialogues are alright.
Agent Vinod Review: Star Performances
Saif Ali Khan delivers a confident performance and is brilliant in many scenes. He could have done better in the action sequences. Kareena Kapoor gets a substantial a role and she doesn’t disappoint. However, the chemistry between the lead characters – played by Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor – is all but missing. Prem Chopra does alright as Kazan; Dhritiman Chatterji is alright; Ram Kapoor looks ill at ease; Shahbaaz Khan is passable; Zakir Hussain is given an ordinary role. Ravi Kishen and Gulshan Grover are alright in their special appearances. Rajat Kapoor has a blink and miss role.
Agent Vinod Review: Direction & Technical Aspects
Director Sriram Raghavan makes a film that sometimes looks like a spoof, sometimes a serious nail-biting spy drama and at other times, is exposed as a half-baked film. His composition of many scenes and action sequences might be unusual and therefore, interesting, but that by itself, means little as the script fails to excite the viewer enough. The music, by Pritam, is alright. The Raabta and Rasputin songs are good to listen to. Pungi, already a hit, makes an appearance in the end credits. The mujra song disappoints. Lyrics, by Amitabh Bhattacharya and Neelesh Misra, are passable. Daniel B. George’s background score is interesting for the discerning viewer, as he has integrated several local elements into the soundtrack, but as a whole, the soundtrack comes across as fragmented and jarring. The choreography, by Saroj Khan and Bosco Caesar, is nothing to shout about.
Production design, by Acropolis, Rajnish Hedao, Sumit Basu and Snigdha Basu, is excellent. The action (action director: Peter Heins, additional action: Parvez Khan) is well composed but is, sometimes, too much in your face. Muraleedharan C.K.’s cinematography is excellent. Pooja Ladha Surti’s editing is crisp, especially in the action sequences.
Agent Vinod Review: The Last Word
On the whole, Agent Vinod is a half-baked fare which disappoints. You do not love Agent Vinod or root for him. And there’s not a lot else to distract you away from the main story, which falls flat on its face. The film will not fare too well at the box-office as word of mouth publicity will not work in its favour.
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