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The Top Detectives of Bollywood

Last updated on: February 16, 2012 12:31 IST

The Top Detectives of Bollywood

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Kiss kiss bang bang. The life of an on-screen secret agent is so exaggeratedly glamorous it makes a whole lot of sense for actors to play detectives, double-agents, men of mystery, on the run and on the hunt.

Even as Saif Ali Khan pays tribute to Mahender Sandhu in Sriram Raghavan's next film, here's a look at the very different ways ten A-list actors have approached the role of the on-screen detective in Hindi cinema:

Saif Ali Khan -- Agent Vinod

In the promos for Sriram Raghavan's new film, Saif Ali Khan looks lean, mean and ready to take a pounding. The whole vibe of the character is quite like that of Matt Damon's Jason Bourne, except Khan -- thanks to Raghavan, obviously -- seems to have tongue planted firmly in cheek. 

Image: Saif Ali Khan in Agent Vinod

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Shah Rukh Khan -- Baadshah

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In Abbas-Mustan's Baadshah, Shah Rukh Khan plays a bumbling private eye leading a very charmed life, because of which, seemingly by accident, he almost always ends up in the right place at the right time.

His Baadshah is flamboyant, foolish and foolishly committed, and at his most entertaining when lying to pretty girls or driving gadget-laden cars. 

Image: Shah Rukh Khan in Baadshah


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Sanjay Dutt -- Chatur Singh Two Star

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In this atrocious take on the Pink Panther movies made incomparable by Peter Sellers, Sanjay Dutt dons the trenchcoat and starts making funny faces, giving us a cringeworthy performance with lines we shouldn't remember and a film that doesn't come anywhere close to deserving even the 2 stars that its title alludes to.

Image: Sanjay Dutt in Chatur Singh Two Star


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Anil Kapoor -- Race

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In the crazy Abbas-Mustan everyone-doublecrosses-everyone piece of chaos that is Race, Anil Kapoor plays a fruit-eating private dick with Sameera Reddy as his bimbette in tow.

Kapoor's given the clumsiest bits of euphemism with some godawful puns, and the only thing impressive about this performance is how the veteran actor keeps up with much younger co-stars.

Image: Anil Kapoor in Race


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Emraan Hashmi -- Gangster

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In Anurag Basu's Gangster, Hashmi is introduced to us as a crooner in an Indian restaurant in Seoul, but, as we come to learn more about how he's wooing a famed gangster's alcoholic lover, we realise that it's all part of a ruse.

Hashmi's an undercover Indian detective hired to capture the gangster, and the lover -- played by Kangna Ranaut -- was just bait for the scheme.

Image: Emraan Hashmi in Gangster


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Salman Khan -- Wanted

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Prabhu Deva's remake of Pokiri doesn't make much sense, granted, but makes it to this list since Salman Khan stars as a local ruffian working for a mobster -- only for the inevitable climactic reveal that he is in fact not just a cop in disguise, but a cop whose cop father was killed by the said monster. (No wonder his shirt has trouble staying on)

Image: Salman Khan in Wanted

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Akshaye Khanna -- 36 China Town

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In this unwatchable Abbas-Mastan whodunnit, Khanna plays Inspector Karan, a brooding detective with a lighter that never works and eyebrows that just can't behave normally.

He interrogates suspects with much silly drama but little effectiveness, but finally does manage to solve the case before the end-credits roll.

Image: Akshaye Khanna in 36 China Town


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Akshay Kumar -- Mr Bond

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In this rather insane 1992 feature, Akshay Kumar plays Mr Bond, India's greatest detective, and he's facing his toughest case yet, against the nefarious Red Dragon (Pankaj Dheer, yessir) who kidnaps children to work for him.

Kumar is hilarious in the role of the detective, but this film is something you need to look up on Youtube as a treat to yourself. Go on.

Image: Akshay Kumar in Mr Bond


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Amitabh Bachchan -- The Great Gambler

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In this awesome Shakti Samanta film, Bachchan plays a card-shark called Jai who works for a gangster as well as Inspector Vijay, who pretends to be Jai to infiltrate the gangster's organisation -- but doesn't really know anything about playing cards.

A fun ride, with Bachchan in top form. 

Image: Amitabh Bachchan in The Great Gambler


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Dev Anand -- CID

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Raj Khosla's CID, a beautiful film which sees Waheeda Rehman make her cinematic debut as a truly lethal femme fatale, features Dev Anand as the sharp and quick-witted Inspector Shekhar.

The 1956 film is a bonafide crime thriller, and Devsaab is sensational as Shekhar, a proper detective who wouldn't have been out of place in a Raymond Chandler novel.

Image: Dev Anand in CID


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