Sitting in the theater watching Agent Vinod, I wondered to myself, why do exceptionally talented directors like Sriram Raghavan make great films that are so brilliant that some critics hailed him to be one of India’s best directors, and then make a mediocre commercial film that is hyped so much to fan boys like me but we are let down so much.
Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor is not a bad movie, but not a good one either. It has all the elements of a Sriram Raghavan’s movie that we loved so much in Johnny Gaddar and Ek Hasina Thi., i.e., movie references, exceptional camerawork, innovative title sequences, irreverent background score and so on. But all these there, are few and far between. The rest is just some badly choreographed action sequences (except for a few) and a screenplay that goes lose after the 30-minute mark.
The plot is simple, Saif Ali Khan as agent Vinod is on a mission across the world (clichéd) to uncover the mystery behind a nuclear weapon which turns is a bigger conspiracy that he thought.
The only reason I’m not mapping out the plot to you is because it is as simple as it gets and the plot is probably the best thing about the screenplay and I don’t want to spoil it for you.
The real-life couple Saif and Kareena actually turns out to be better than I expected on screen. They share a good chemistry until she gets sentimental and philosophical and what not. The only scene that Sriram Raghavan has used their off-screen chemistry onscreen is in the 3-minute brilliantly shot action sequence in a motel in Russia where Saif Ali Khan dodges bullets like they are balls of paper, while at the same time the romance between them blooms as he moves from one corner to another saving her. All this while, a romantic number with beautiful lyrics playing in the background. And believe it or not, all this in a single-tracking shot!
In an age where action films try to be as just as good as their Hollywood counterpart this movie is no different except for a few well-choreographed sequences. This is to all directors out there, people actually want to see what’s happening when the action takes place, not everyone likes it when the camera rotates, twists and turns every second. A steady-cam would be so much better.
And talking about camera, Agent Vinod is a brilliantly shot not-so good movie. It goes to all the non-exotic places at exotic locations and turns it into places you want to visit. I know this is farfetched but seriously, Tangiers on Agent Vinod looked better that on the Bourne Ultimatum. Sorry!
Despite the slick editing, at 2 hours, 40 minutes, you feel tired and let down at the end. And another tip, don’t leave once you see what you think is the climax because there is another solid 20 minutes after that. What a pity! Half the theater had already left by then
Comparing with the Don films, which everybody would’ve already done, Agent Vinod looks like a bond ( the actual one ) Abbas-Mustan, take notes, this is how you make a thriller.
If the movie had been shorter, and if the number of characters that appear and disappear would’ve been lesser, this movie would’ve been an addition to Sriram Raghavan’s legacy.
Go without reading any reviews ( it brings down your morale ) and forget the two previous movies Sriram Raghavan has made, then you won’t be as disappointed as we are.