Monday, January 30, 2012

it's vinod now, not johnny

(notes on the first trailer for Sriram Raghavan's next film Agent Vinod)

Trust Sriram Raghavan to modestly refer to his own work in another trailer loaded with references to old Bollywood. The trailer starts off with the same question that kicked off the teaser for his last film, Johnny Gaddaar. A series of quick cuts introduce you to some promising action sequences and Raghavan keeps returning to the central joke of the trailer: the name of Saif Ali Khan's character.

The first name he throws is Freddie Khambatta (spelling?). Does anyone know if this is just an ingenious invention, a tribute to some character in some obscure cult film of yore, a portmanteau to Freddie Mercury and Persis Khambatta (Bambai Raat ki Baahon Mein, Star Trek: The Motion Picture), a reference to Farrokh Khambata the chef or a nod to a real person?

The second name he reveals with another smirk is Mahendar Sandhu. Of course we fans know that he's referring to the actor who played the original Agent Vinod.

Then it's time for a tribute to Manmohan Desai (and obviously not to that shamefully bad rip-off from 2006).

The last name is the closest we get to the truth (or is it the truth?). Vinod Khanna. Priceless.

They could have done without the sound of the fireball from Doom when we see the logo and title, but that's a minor quibble for the first of (hopefully) many enticing breadcrumbs to a film that had its genesis in 2007!

I wonder if the next trailer is going to have that R. D. Burman classic from Kati Patang playing the background? Unfortunately, it might just grind the joke about names a bit too deep for comfort.

The worrying bits? It has Prem Chopra (yeah!), but it also has Kareena Kapoor (ugh!). The official website is not as much fun as it was for Johnny Gaddaar. It also credits Pritam as the music director -- I wish he had picked Daniel B. George (who did a fabulous job with the score of Johnny Gaddaar), Amit Trivedi or Ram Sampath. But who knows? If Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy could manage a winner with the title track of Johnny Gaddaar, Pritam might get a lucky stroke of the creative kind too.

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