rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Movies » Saif: In reel or real life, Kareena pairs best with me

Saif: In reel or real life, Kareena pairs best with me

Last updated on: January 27, 2012 16:24 IST

Saif: In reel or real life, Kareena pairs best with me

     Next

Next
Ankur Pathak in Mumbai

Saif Ali Khan's ambitious spy-thriller Agent Vinod, directed by Sriram Raghavan (Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar) has been in production since a while, leading to speculation over the film's delay.

However, producer-actor Khan, at the unveiling of the film's first theatrical trailer, assured the press that it is a meticulously crafted film which couldn't be finished any sooner due to the various foreign locales and never-seen-before action-scenes that required filming.

While the trailer hints on Agent Vinod's character as a hybrid between Bourne, Bond and Hunt, Saif -- while not denying the said similarities -- gives further insights into his pet project, both in the capacity of producer and actor. Ankur Pathak takes notes.

You've been committed to this project for a great deal of time. How's it shaped up?

Agent Vinod is the longest I have worked on a film. I'm glad we have readied a polished product. I hope everyone likes it.

I'm excited about the way we are going to promote the film. It gives me immense happiness to talk about Agent Vinod -- a product we are quite confident of.


Image: Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

     Next

'Copying James Bond would have been foolish'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

How did director Sriram Raghvan come on board?

Since we had this idea, we spoke to a lot of industry directors to gauge their opinion. Many of them had crazy ideas, some whacky, some really comic, some even said that the title Agent Vinod is too silly, that it is not as cool as it should be. But Sriram Raghvan was on the same page with me since the beginning and he wrote the perfect story that would fit a character like Agent Vinod.

Is he like an Indian version of James Bond or maybe, Jason Bourne?

It is an important point which I'd like to clear. It would be very stupid to copy a character like James Bond in a Hindi movie, because he is a very English character in nature. He is a capitalist hero and it makes sense for him as a person when put in the context of Russian communism.

He drinks and is a hardcore womanizer, yet he saves the world. This is not how Vinod is. From the first scene itself, it is established that Vinod is a very Indian hero, very different from the Bond character.

Characters attached to armed forces or are extraordinary fighters have always fascinated the Indian audiences since the days of Mithunda. So we thought we would give a very contemporary, emerging global personality to a character and design the movie around him. Copying Bond would have been foolish.


Image: Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

Prev     Next

'We'd love to have a Vinod franchisee if this one makes money'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

So he doesn't see a lot of women or indulge in drinks?

He definitely does both, but not in an American way like James Bond. The way Sriram has written him, it is a very rooted, Indian character.

That said, I am not saying that it is not Bond inspired at all. There is James Bond, there is Jason Bourne and there are even little bits of Tintin.

Having seen the finished product, do you feel you have a killer franchisee in hand?

If we make money and if the film is liked by people, we would love to have a Vinod franchisee.


Image: Movie poster of Agent Vinod


Prev     Next

'I thought the original Agent Vinod was quite hilarious'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

What are the similarities between your new film and the Deepak Bahry-directed film Agent Vinod that came out in 1977?

When I saw the 1977 Agent Vinod, I thought it was quite hilarious. There was a gun which fired backwards, killing the shooter itself and other really crazy scenes. And it had an interesting plot.

Our film has nothing really to draw parallels with that one, apart from the title, which Rajshree Productions happily gave to me over a handshake.

I think Vinod is a very universal name. From the elite to the back of an auto-rickshaw, it randomly appears everywhere.

Moreover, India is a very large country with a huge market. We plan to reach out to as many people we can.


Image: Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Prev     Next

'The audience is not bothered about a film's troubled past'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Two years on one project is a long time. Even Raghavan went on to write other screenplays. What was the delay about?

There were lots of rumours from the beginning created by the press itself that the film is going overboard with budget, getting delayed, and re-scheduled. None of it is true.

Since it is a mega-budget film, it required a lot of detailing right from the locations worldwide to the action sequences. It needed time before the final cut was ready. You don't make films every day. Having said that, whenever a film comes out, I don't think the ticket-paying public is going to be bothered about its troubled past.

Go on...

We have done car chases and other action stunts in a treatment which I haven't seen before and they are something not very easy to pull off. Yes, we took more time than we initially thought, but in the end we need to be satisfied with our finished product which we very much are.

Why is Kareena Kapoor -- your co-star in the film -- missing from the teaser launch?

We are following 'Divide and Rule' policy, so she will be coming at a later stage. (Laughs)


Image: Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Prev     Next

'Kareena is one of the most professional actors we've worked with'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Mostly in spy-thrillers, the women have little to do and show up only to turn on the heat. How is her part defined?

That is a trait in many Bond movies, but again, our film is not Bond.

Kareena comes at a later stage in the film and has a complex character with various nuances attached. This role compliments her very well and she does full justice to her character.

Was she roped in to play the part because this is your home production?

No, she was thought of keeping the story in mind. If that was the case, she would have acted in our first production as well, Love Aaj Kal. It was the right casting decision.

She is a phenomenal and intense actor, and understands all facets of cinema since she has been versatile in her choice of roles.

Sometimes, she knows technicallities better than me -- about the lenses and the lighting. It is interesting to talk to her about such stuff. As a producer, she is one of the most professional actors we have worked with.


Image: Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Tags: Bond , Kareena

Prev     Next

'You won't get to see an item number in this film'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Almost every other film randomly incorporates an item number to boost its promotions. Do we see one here?

See, this is clearly not that sort of film where you get to see an item number. The direction cannot afford to accommodate an item song.

That said, we do hope it is an interesting ride for the audience. What we do have on offer is a mujra when our story goes to Pakistan. Producer Dinesh Vijan also pushed for a mujra because in Agent Vinod raunchy numbers are in the background. (Smirks)

Priyanka Chopra was reportedly approached for an item song.

At one point, we did consider an item song and lots of names of actresses other than our heroine were tossed around but when the scripting was finally done, we realised it didn't call for one.


Image: Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Prev     Next

'Kareena is not too fond of doing action'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

You look in your comfort zone when you are doing action scenes. Can the same be said about Kareena Kapoor?

Well, she pulls off the scenes pretty well but she does tell me that she isn't too fond of doing action. She has this very intense expression on her face while she does it.

As far as I am concerned, I thought it would be a lot of fun, but let me assure you, it was brutal and painful. I had multi-coloured bruises all over my body at the end of every day at the shoot. I did the stunts myself and it was very frightening but then you have to earn your bread, no? It is not easy. If romantic comedies are about the right timings, action is even more demanding.

Any incident that involved Kareena?


We were shooting this intense chase sequence that ended up in combat in a parking lot where a lot of gunfire had to be there. Kareena came up to me and said, let's shoot the scene but do away with the guns. I was perplexed.

She said she didn't want to hear the gunshots, and that it should be handled in post-production. I was like, "Somebody please talk to the heroine."


Image: Saif Ali Khan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Prev     Next

'SRK, Salman and Aamir are very big actors compared to me'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

What sort of preparation did you do to plausibly portray an action hero in a spy thriller?

All sorts of things and they were pretty tiring. They sent me to Vietnam to learn a particular form of martial arts, and then there were driving lessons and training on riding the motorcycle. Thank god there weren't any dance classes!

Shah Rukh has made his most ambitious film Ra.One, Salman has been doing what he does best with Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard. Even Aamir is on a great swing. Is Agent Vinod your biggest film yet?

They are very big actors compared to me and I wouldn't want to compare myself with any of them. I think if you have been in the industry for a long time, you should realise your dreams in some way or the other.

I have just done the same thing through my own production house. It doesn't matter to me what others are doing.


Image: Saif Ali Khan


Prev     Next

'We are quite confident of Agent Vinod'

Prev     More
Prev

More

Your partner Kareena Kapoor has worked with all the Khans in the industry -- Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman. Who do you think she pairs the best with?

In reel or real life, I have to say she pairs the best with me and I wouldn't even think of anyone else in my place.

Movies that are made today are getting promoted endlessly for months. Agent Vinod is just a month away from release and you guys have just started. Were you afraid of overkill?

It depends on a number of reasons. Overkill is surely one of them. But also what happens when you stretch the film too much with promotions and the release is relatively far, people start imagining their own film, and later if it doesn't turn out that way, they are disappointed.

Timing is really important. We didn't want to go into that territory. And two months is a lot of time for promotions.

Click here for Rediff Realtime News!


Image: Saif Ali Khan


Prev     More
 

Top Videos

See all