Posts Tagged ‘Agent Vinod’

Saif, Sriram - Agent Vinod

For many of us, Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod was one of the most anticipated films of the year. After two thrill-pills – Ek Haseena Thi and Johnny Gaddar, we all were waiting for a hat-trick. But somehow it didn’t work out. And that leads us to a bigger question – how do you know what’s working and what’s not at the script stage. It’s quite a difficult task.

I had read the script first and then saw the film. And this (So what happened to Agent Vinod?) was the post that i wrote after watching the film. At that time many of you had tweeted and sent mails asking for the script of Agent Vinod. I didn’t have the permission then. Now, as we look back, and are compiling year-end posts, i thought it would be a nice idea to share the script with you all. And we must thank Sriram Raghavan for it who quickly agreed and gave a go-ahead to post it.

So here it is, read, share and have fun! It’s written by Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas.

(PS – Don’t forget to check out Sriram’s footnotes in the script 😉

(PS1 – The script shared here is only for educational purpose and is completely non-commercial initiative.)

(PS2 – To check out other scripts that we have posted on the blog, click here for Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan script, click here for Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D script and click here for Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie script.)

Two weeks after its release, trade analysts have announced that it’s a flop. Even critics didn’t like it. Most rated it either 2 or 2.5 stars.  I have always believed that hit or flop doesn’t matter much. As long as you deliver a good film, you will always get a chance to make few more. Imtiaz, Dibakar, Anurag, Sriram – all belong to the same club. Their debut film hardly made any money. Paanch didn’t even reach the theaters. Nobody saw Socha Na Tha when it released. And Khosla Ka Ghosla was almost in the coffin before it got a new life.

I remember talking to Sriram after the release of Johnny Gaddar. Trade analysts had already given a Flop tag to it. He said, in the last four-five days Neil (Nitin Mukesh) has got about 30 offers and nine people have called me asking me to make films. If this is flop, then we want more flops like that.

And that’s what i meant by delivering a good film.

For many of us, Agent Vinod was one of the most anticipated film of the year. You can put some of the blame on burden of expectations. But if we can’t expect a good film from Sriram, then where do you go? With Ek Haseena This and Johnny Gaddar, it was easy to spot the distinct directorial stamp of Raghavan and a taste for thriller stories with some priceless quirks, kinks and bit of nostalgia. So what went wrong with Agent Vinod?

Anyone who knows Sriram Raghavan (SR), can tell you how much effort he puts in his films. The number of rewrites he does and how he is never satisfied. When it comes to making movies, you can never doubt the man’s intention and integrity. So when John Abraham and Aishwarya Rai were ready to do a film with him, and he said he doesn’t have a script ready yet, the industry was surprised. You have the stars and you don’t have the script? Nobody had heard that excuse before. You don’t need a script when you have stars. Let the  stars say yes and you can fill 120 pages in 2 hours – that’s the norm here.

Thanks to some good souls, i had managed to read the script of Agent Vinod much before i saw the film. My initial reaction was it’s great fun. Starts with a bang. But bit ambitious and all over the place.

My reaction after the film – where’s all the fun gone? Some good stuff in bits and pieces. It started with a bang but not the one i saw when i read the script. Except for that opening scene, it never “plunges in”. Ambitious and really all over the place. And at a time when we are so used to that adrenaline rush with Bond, Bourne and Ethan Hunt, Vinod seems to be just a freshman out of college.

Agent Vinod packed in too much but it offered too little.

Excess is the reason, i believe. Too many places, too many characters, too many locations, too long, too hotchpotch and too little payoff. And it’s over-written. But that’s not the only reason. Let me rewind and go back to the script and film again.

—> Tone/treatment – That was my biggest issue with the film. I could not make out whether it wanted me to take it like a comic book Bond film or a realistic setting like a Bourne one. The mash-up just didn’t work. Baradwaj Rangan has written about the same in his review. Click here to read. But while reading the script, it seemed completely serious.

—-> Villains – How can you take Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover or Ram Kapoor seriously? Really? They are so overexposed and are part of the pop-culture now where they exist as characters and not actors. That’s one of the reasons why Adil Hussain works much better compared to others as he is not exposed in the mainstream space. And please don’t dare to cast Dhirtiman Chatterjee as the main villain after Kahaani and AV. You will see him and you get the drift.

—–> Thrill Pill – Now that i look back i don’t remember any sequence that gave me any kind of adrenaline rush. The opening sequence was good, raabta as a single shot sequence and the intercut between Vinod and Prince’s fight in Morocco & Chennai had a stamp of brilliance. But when i have seen Ethan Hunt’s stunt on Burj Khalifa, i have tasted blood. Though the script mentions many action sequences from various films for reference purpose, it hardly manages to create anything similar on screen.

—–> The Big Picture – While discussing the film, a friend suddenly asked, so what was that killing of the man while he was jogging? Remember? Who was he? Even i was lost. Just could not figure it out. What was the connect? Then i came back and went through the script and i realised that Jimmy kills him and takes his identity – Dr Suresh Krishna who works with UN, so that nobody will doubt him. Is there anything else am i missing? If not, do you really need the track? Suppose Adil handed an id to Jimmy saying, you are now blah blah, we would have blindly accepted it. When they have such a huge racket, we will accept whatever is said. Same goes for the entire sequence between Kareena and the Airport officer which i thought was a complete waste. Meeting him, going out with him, spending time with him, going to that hotel and doing the dance number. Ok, some dose of nostalgic fun with o meri jaana maine kaha. But if you remove the entire sequence and we see Adil handing over the airport security card saying this is for your entrance, we would have believed that also. (Strangely Rangan mentions the airport officer as a goon in his review 😉 ) Interestingly, Raghavan connected many small dots together (Remember the camel? I thought why? And then the password) but when you see the big picture, do these two sequences really matter? They seem unnecessary which eats up precious screen time. And there are few more like that which could have been edited out to make the film shorter. What it needed was some ruthless editing on paper.

—-> Such A Long Journey – For everything where it was possible to go directly from A to V, Raghavan goes from A to Z to P to M to B to few more destinations before he reaches V. And just for the sake of it. Sometimes the journey is fun but it gets tiring and boring after a point. Like i remember Raghavan talking about the sequence in Russia. He said he wanted snow in the coffin and he got that. But do you remember what was that sequence for? Try.

In the end, it seemed too dumb for smart people and too smart for dumb. Neither the critics appreciated it, nor it could be in the 100-crore club. The single screen audience didn’t get it, the multiplex audience have Bond, Bourne and Ethan. I am all for indulgence and homages as long as it doesn’t bore me. If filmmakers and artists don’t indulge, who will? The sarkari babus?

As for the good points, Sudhish Kamath has mentioned it his review here – a spy so suave he can even pick up a guy. And as Anupama Chopra mentioned in her review, i do believe that this character has potential. Sooner or later, Raghavan will get it right.

Agent Vinod was one of the most anticipated films of the year. Those who know the filmmaker and love Ek Haseea Thi and Johnny Gaddar, they know what #JaiSriram means. So did he score a hattrick? The Matunga Fanboy is disappointed for sure.

“Hey! Johnny, matlab hi hai aasli yaar…”

Greed, vengeance, love, doom, betrayal, survival.

With little budget and a story to tell, it was all packed in awesomely in his earlier attempts. With more resources to film, more chases and explosions, and a lead actor/producer with adequate passion to “make-it-large”, there was little to tell and a lot to show in quick cuts.

Agent Vinod dangerously fell into the “we-got-a-Great-Title-now-what-to-do” films/PROJECTS. With everything sounding great at the onset – Title, Concept, Cast, Budget, it seems a kick-ass script was the only thing that was left. Probably keeping that as the last thing to do without any other worry puts too much pressure on the one most important thing to begin a film with…and that being kept last, with everything being taken care off, “shayad joote pasand nahi aaye” – One might not be able to pin point what exactly is going right as the support and resource is right there. Tough task and especially for a super self-critical person, that must have been one exhaustive task. It shows. It’s complicated and ironic how one manages with little resource and more imagination and…

A mild mannered middle-class Matunga boy with loads of pulp movies and literature consumed, and some-corner-room-twisted perspectives could add his mild humble magic to anything he touches with his “not so sure” demeanor beneath a killer observer. RABTA being just one Single Shot example of that. The simplicity of those couple of minutes completely overshadows the rest of the Millions spent on the quick cut Peter Hein action.

60% of the times I was either looking at a Peter Hein shot or a second unit exotic pick up shoot. I sorely missed my Desi Jim Gordon’s smooth humble touch to it. There were glimpses of it. But far and few, or maybe when it’s someone who grants some access inside his “Hard-Case” Adventureland gates only once in 5 years, it better be all him – A 100% Sriram Raghavan affair.

Plus, when you have a great title, why not exploit it? Casino Royal played it quite well with “Bond James Bond” coming just about when the End Credits began to roll but then that was the 21st Bond film. Why not use Agent Vinod to full effect throughout the film? It’s anyways a kickass name, why guise it, guard it and hold it and not let it breath? As Vinod says, he wants to go back for those 8 minutes on the cable, I too just wanted that feel of those 8 minutes and not the entire film to be about those 8 minutes. What makes Bond and Bourne is that they push me precariously close to those 8 minutes but then get me out and show me more of what happened before and after. Where we cherish those 8 minutes and treasure them, we wanted Sriram to give me those 8 minutes (Rabta give me a couple for sure) not Peter Hein.

Waiting for the next.

MatungaFanboy

First things first. In Sriram Raghavan we trust.

So?

So far only two posters and a trailer has released. Isn’t it bit early to dissect the film? Well, not really when it’s one of the most anticipated films of the year. We have been reading, hearing, discussing, tweeting and have been waiting patiently for this one to release. Long shooting schedules. Saif even completed shooting another two films in between. Production fck ups. Lead actor is the producer. Girlfriend is the co-star. Release dates postponed again and again. But that’s nothing new. Such things happen. Shit happens.

So?

But the intial publicity stuff of Agent Vinod has seriously got us worried. Have a look at these two posters.  Rewind. Look at the posters of Sriram’s previous two films – Ek Haseena Thi and Johnny Gaddar. All in the slideshow.

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Isn’t there a big difference between these two and those three? Where is the quotient “cool”? Where is that rare thing called aesthetics? Bollywood rulebook says the bigger you go, the dumber you have to be. Is AV on that track? Hope not. But looks so. And now the trailer.

Let’s go one by one.

Text : The last thing. he will reveal is. his identity.

And the film’s title is Agent Vinod. That’s a masterstroke.

As everyone tries to find out his identity, Saif does the 70’s swing. Doffing the hat to the original Agent Vinod – Mahendra Sandhu, to Anthony Gonsalves to Vinod Khanna, he says it all. That’s wickedly funny. Much like another 70’s popular line – Tumhara naam kya hai, Basanti?

The music keeps up the momentum through out the trailer. If it’s Pritam, we sincerely hope that he is not back to his old trick. Because this one is too good to be Pritam’s. Can anyone confirm?

The problem. The rest (in order of appearance) – B and W, caught, gagged, jumps, taps, turns, glance, kick, punch, another punch, hide, Kareena in red light, Saif in red too, Illuminati Films, turn, chase – some Arab country, inside car, flight, Saif walking, Kareena walking, tram – London, Saif – Europe (?), Saif & Kareena in a party, a glance here/a look there – in slo-mo, RB 13, another chase, pulls out, Saif jumps and fires, Eros, car, train, gun, car, dhoom, dhaam, turn, bike, boom, flying kick, stunt, roll, Kareena, gun, cover the spycam, Sunil Lulla, cards, jump, gun, blast, dhickiyaaon, title, on floor, smile, captured, Sriram Raghavan, release date, credit plate.

Now, where have we seen it? Well, in any other spy/action films. And it’s as good or bad as Priyadarshan’s Tezz or Abbas-Mustan’s Players trailer. No stunt/action/chase stays with you after you have seen the trailer. It lowers down the bar of expectations drastically. And, may be,  that’s a good thing in a way. But if we can’t expect from Sriram Raghavan, who else?

These are difficult and demanding times. Bourne has forced Bond and MI franchise to have a relook and change drastically. Style is Out. Stunt is In. Grab me by my balls. Give me that breathtaking high. Show me the thrill pill. And when the films release in India on the same day as in any other country, and sometimes even before them, the stakes are quite high. We have tasted blood. Being good in India is not the parameter any more.

When Bond and Bourne are here, the question is, where is Vinod heading to?

23rd March, 2012. We will not fade in. We will plunge in.

(PS – Click here to check out the trailer launch video of AV. Sriram at 00:38 – It’s fun, action film. And at the same time real film)

(PS1 – A friend who has read the script assured us that it’s all good. Spread all over, quite ambitious and quite a thrilling ride.)

Yes, its true if the report in Variety is to be believed. Click here to read the full report or keep reading…have copy-pasted the text here….

Indian media conglomerate Reliance has sold U.S. remake rights to Bollywood hit “Johnny Gaddaar” to Los Angeles-based producer-distributor Ray Haboush’s Automatic Media.

“Johnny Gaddaar,” which means “Johnny the traitor,” is a groundbreaking 2007 Hindi noir helmed by Sriram Raghavan. It is toplined by Bollywood thesp Dharmendra and turns on a gang that gets an opportunity to make a fortune in four days.

“When I saw it I realized that this story could be about any group of guys anywhere,” Haboush said. “The dynamics of love, crime and betrayal thrive universally, whether in Mumbai or San Francisco.”

Haboush recently exec produced horror pic “Last House on the Left” for Universal. His Automatic media shingle specializes in sci-fi, horror and thrillers.

Though the director of the film Sriram Raghavan has not got any official confirmation about it. He also have just “read” it.

PS – His next film Agent Vinod is finally all set to roll from next week. It stars Saif Ali Khan & Kareena Kapoor.