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Agent Vinod: Can Saif be India's James Bond?

Agent Vinod: Can Saif be India's James Bond?

Birje and Sandhu also tried their hands in spy films but the Indian counterpart of James Bond refused to born.

New Delhi: Sriram Raghavan's 'Ek Hasina Thi' gave Saif Ali Khan a completely new image to operate with. This film proved to be a game changer for Saif because he was still known as the 'Ole Ole' boy before it.

Now Raghavan and Saif have again teamed up for 'Agent Vinod' and the promos of the film have made a good buzz. Publicized as a spy film, 'Agent Vinod' is probably the first sleek and stylish James Bond kind of Hindi film.

Suspense-thriller as a genre has always worked in Bollywood but we never dared to create a 'well packaged' spy except in 'Hero-Love story of a spy'.

There was never a dearth of heroes with good muscles and satisfactory looks. For example take Dharmendra. 'Yakeen' (1967), directed by Brij, presented Dharmendra as an accidental agent. However the Indian audiences' need of melodrama prompted the storyteller to make it as a relationship drama than a pure hardboiled espionage story.

Similar things happened with Ravee Kant Nagaich's 'Farz' (1967) which was arguably India's first proper spy film. Plot and presentation wise, 'Farz' was well ahead of its time and the film paid the price for it. Commercially unsuccessful 'Farz' discouraged other directors interested in the same genre.

'Spy in Rome' (1968), and 'Surakksha' (1979) were also attempted, in fact the character Gun master G-9 became more popular than the film 'Surakksha' but the hunt for a pure Indian spy who could match up the level of James Bond remained on.

Hemant Birje and Mahendra Sandhu also tried their hands in spy films but somehow the Indian counterpart of James Bond refused to born.

Later in the 90s Shah Rukh Khan and Sunny Deol came up as spies. Shah Rukh Khan in 'Baadshah' was definitely an indigenous spy but the problem of loving a heroine spoiled the game for him. SRK's character in 'Baadshah' was not only witty but also a bit different than the usual spies we see in Indian films, but the film bombed at the box office and so were the hopes of finding our own 007.

'Hero' was made with a great heart and the film did reasonably well at the ticket window but it became very hard for aging Sunny Deol to compete with the smartness of Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. Sorry to say but even an old Sean Connery could give Sunny a run for money.

Basically, Hindi films have failed to give us a 'desi' spy so far.

The matter seems to be different this time, especially when the signature background score of 'Agent Vinod' plays for the first time in the teaser. That tune not only goes with the theme but also provides us a sense of thrill.

Saif Ali Khan's particular voice and style of dialogue delivery suit the character; at least it seems so in the promos, so we can hope for the emergence of a purely Indian spy this time.

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