Agent Vinod will be Saif Ali Khan’s first release since his father Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi passed away on September 22, 2011. And the actor says he would like to dedicate his spy thriller, Agent Vinod, to him. “I’m considering it. I’ve spoken to Sriram (director Sriram Raghavan) who said, ‘Yeah sure.’ I probably will, I’m just waiting to see the final cut. It has to be worthy of him,” Saif says with a smile.
The star-producer admits his father never watched Hindi movies and never discussed work with him, believing that’s why he has a life away from films when he’s not shooting. “He only saw Omkara (2006), but didn’t understand much because of the dialect. I think my mother (Sharmila Tagore) made him watch Parineeta (2005). But I remember sitting with him through Clint Eastwood movies like Dirty Harry (1971),” Saif recalls.
Agent Vinod is being hyped as a ‘desi’ Bond movie, but Saif insists that his secret service agent is not copying 007. “That wouldn’t be a clever idea,” he quips, adding, “He’s an original, and is sent out on a mission, using his training, strengths and personality to get out of trouble, eventually saving the day.”
Saif points out a crucial difference, saying, “He doesn’t even have a line like, ‘The name’s Bond, James Bond.’ Our writers were clear that Agent Vinod didn’t need gadgets or glib one-liners.”
‘We should have waited six months’
Rumours have it that Saif had a fallout with his producer partner, Dinesh Vijan. Quiz him on this and he laughs, “There’s a gossipy lot out there. Cinematically, we’re on the same page. You could put us in different rooms and we’d perhaps react in a similar manner, which is reassuring.” He admits they argue often, but over small issues: “Nothing major or monumental.”
Speculation is also rife that the movie has gone grossly over-budget. But Saif says it’s not worrying. “Yes, we jumped into production six months before we should have. We could have saved a little money if we were more organised. But we only shot for 110 days and it’s a wrap!"
On a lighter note, he adds, “Dinesh is the one with the MBA degree, so now it’s up to him to ensure that we make a little money on this movie.”