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Bollywood's 10 Best Known Spy Movies

Last updated on: August 26, 2013 08:42 IST

Image: John Abraham in Madras Cafe

Man on the mission.

Damsel in disguise.

Concealed motives.

Government agents coming up with ingenious schemes to rescue their country from a looming crisis.

Sounds thrilling, doesn't it?

The spy film genre, despite its potential hasn't been exploited to its fullest in Bollywood. But that doesn't mean there's any dearth of memorable efforts.

Shoojit Sircar's Madras Cafe, starring John Abraham as a RAW agent, is a political espionage thriller, which has attracted controversy since it examines LTTE's involvement around former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.

Though the makers insist its a work of pure fiction, the treatment is clearly realistic unlike the slick but fanciful tone of the ones before.

Here then is a look at 10 of Bollywood's best-known spy movies.


Image: Irrfan Khan in D-Day

In Nikhil Advani's critically-acclaimed D-Day, Irrfan Khan plays a special agent assigned the task of keeping tabs on D-company's moves in Pakistan by India's Research and Analysis Wing with generous assistance from a mercenary, explosives specialist and a small-time thief.

D-Day's gritty action and power-packed performances from its ensemble cast ensure its place among one of the better films of 2013.

Agent Vinod

Image: Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan in Agent Vinod

Though it doesn't entirely meet the kind of expectations one has from a Sriram Raghavan product, Saif Ali Khan starrer Agent Vinod has its captivating moments.

A self-confessed buff of the genre, he revives an obscure B-film from the 1970s to create a glossy Bondesque caper about a debonair spy trying to crack a code armed with cool gizmos and oodles of charm.

Ek Tha Tiger

Image: Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in Ek Tha Tiger

Salman Khan takes a break from his usual herogiri to play a simple guy who also happens to be a RAW jasoos keeping an eye on a NRI scientist's activities. And while doing so, he falls for the latter's caretaker, played by Katrina Kaif.

Turns out she's in the same line of work BUT for Pakistan. What follows next is a breezy action cum romance caper that wowed enough viewers to become the biggest hit of 2012.

The Hero: Love Story of a Spy

Image: Sunny Deol in The Hero: Love Story of a Spy

In Anil Sharma's far-fetched 2003 hit, Sunny Deol plays a spy masquerading as an army man, subsequently a scientist as part of a covert operation.

He even trains his romantic interest, Preity Zinta playing a gullible Kashmiri girl, to assist him in the same as part of the plan to save the world from a nasty nuclear bomb attack.

Johny Mera Naam

Image: Pran and Dev Anand in Johny Mera Naam

Dev Anand appeared in two spy flicks in 1970. While Prem Pujari bit box office dust, Vijay Anand's Johny Mera Naam went on to gain classic status.

In the latter, a delightful Dev plays an undercover CID officer with the attitude of a spy, Hema Malini's character too maintains a more-than-meets-the-eye element as they explore the illegal actives carried out at Premnath's den in picturesque Nepal.

The Great Gambler

Image: Amitabh Bachchan, Reena Roy, Iftekar in The Great Gambler

Amitabh Bachchan has played quite a few double roles in his illustrious career. The one in Shakti Samanta's The Great Gambler is no less significant.

In this engaging tale of muddled identities, shot extensively in Italy and other parts of Europe, AB plays a gambler and an undercover cop, trying to recover some confidential documents containing national secrets from the bad guys.


Image: Mithun Chakraborty right in Surakshaa

Fans of Mithun Chakravarthy will vouch for this trippy and swaggering turn as agent Gunmaster G-9 in the campy but fun 1979 spy flick.

Modelled along the 007 franchise, Suraksha rides high on Mithunda's high adrenalin action, car chases while juggling with romantic obligations before saving the day like only he can.


Image: Mala Sinha and Dharmendra in Aankhen

Dharmendra and Mala Sinha (playing half-Japanese) team up for Ramanand Sagar's ambitious blockbuster around the spy genre with imaginative get-ups, exotic foreign location (Beirut) and Mission Impossible reminiscent prosthetic masks.

The muscular actor went on to dabble with the theme yet again with a double role in Yakeen to a much lesser impact.


Image: Jeetendra and Sajjan in Farz

Jeetendra's breakthrough film, Farz earned him the title of Jumping Jack for his leaping moves and trademark white shoes.

For all his vivacity, Farz is a song and dance-packed successful spy drama about secret agent 116 trying to solve the mystery behind his colleague's death in the line of duty.


Image: Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant in Samadhi

In Ramesh Saigal's 1950 patriotic spy drama, Ashok Kumar plays a devoted nationalist who joins Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army even though his own brother (Shyam) is part of the British army posted in Singapore.

Conflict arises when it's discovered the woman (Nalini Jaywant) he has romantic inclinations for is a spy appointed to infiltrate the INA intelligence and the sacrifice that awaits when the brothers face each other in war.