Fenil and Bollywood

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Buzz is that the budget of Agent Vinod has been slashed from Rs 65 crore to Rs 40 crore. Are the makers playing safe or is there more to it?

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 03, 2009)


Considering the fate of some of the recent films bombing at the box-office and the aftereffects of recession, corporate are entirely rethinking their film financing budgets. Apparently, this is why Eros International, the financers of Agent Vinod starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, has considerably slashed the film’s budget.

The buzz in trade circles, based on a conversation overheard between a leading producer and a couple of distributors is that Eros International is renegotiating their deal with Illuminati Films, producers of Agent Vinod. The budget of the film has been brought down considerably from Rs 65 crore to Rs 40 crore. Illuminati Films is co-owned by Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan.

Agent Vinod is a spy thriller with Saif and Kareena playing undercover agents. In fact, buzz is that Kareena plays a full-on action star on the same lines as Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.

In today’s time, when having a big star in one’s film does not guarantee money recovery, it is not surprising that Eros is having second thoughts about the budget of the film. Apparently, the dismal performance of the recent Saif-Kareena starrer Kurbaan at the box-office has also played a big role in Eros deciding to cut costs. Incidentally, this is the third time recently that the real life couple failed to set the screen on fire.  They had not too long ago worked together in Roadside Romeo and Tashan.

However, our source insists that the slashed budget of Agent Vinod has nothing to do with the box-office failure of Kurbaan. The source says, “It is a wise business decision which can be termed as a precautionary measure. It has got nothing to do with Saif and Kareena per se. For all you know, Agent Vinod may be a hit and a cut in its cost will benefit Eros and Illuminati all the more.”

Sriram Raghavan, director of Agent Vinod, says that the film will be going on the floors in the next two months. Commenting on the slashed budget, he says, “I don’t know if there is any such development, but I can’t downsize my script. There are a lot of foreign locales and action in the film. So, it’s definitely a high budget film. However, I cannot reveal its budget, producer Dinesh Vijan is the right person to comment on it.”

Eros International and Illuminati Films declined to comment on the story.

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Kareena, who plays a spy in Agent Vinod, will have several combat scenes with Saif
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 01, 2009)

Kareena Kapoor

Remember the sizzling fight scene between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr & Mrs Smith? Get ready to see Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor do the same in Agent Vinod. Yes, you heard right. Agent Vinod will have several combat scenes between Saif and Kareena. Incidentally, Kareena plays a spy, just like Saif, in the film.

The decision was taken after Kareena was finalised for Saif’s home production. The actress, who has always wanted to play a full-on action star like Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, will undergo rigorous training to get into an athletic shape. Kareena is expected to not only have some super-slick, hand-to-hand, heart-in-the-mouth combats with Saif but also her adversaries.

Kareena will play an undercover agent from another country (apparently Pakistan). Her Mata Hari like role will have shades of Mala Sinha in Aankhen and Rehana Sultan in the 1977 film, Agent Vinod.

But director Sriram Raghavan clarifies that Agent Vinod is not a remake of either film. “It’s a spy drama, which will have its roots in the films you’ve mentioned. But the only similarity to the Rajshri espionage film with Mahendra Sandhu and Rehana Sultan is the title, which the Rajshris so graciously gave us,” he said.

In fact Sooraj Barjatya, who has worked with Saif in Hum Saath Saath Hain and Kareena in Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, had absolutely no qualms parting with the title Agent Vinod.

Saif confirmed Kareena’s role and said, “She does play an undercover agent from another country. Kareena will do everything I do in the film, and she’ll do it even better. She will kick butt better than all the other girls in our industry, that’s for sure.”

Commenting on the films the couple plans to produce together, Saif said, “We’ll definitely be producing films together. It will give us a chance to grow as actors. The idea is for both of us to grow together as human beings and artistes. Although Kareena’s name is not in our production logo, she is as much the producer of Agent Vinod as I. I prefer not to have our names in the production logo. All I want to do is make great films, live healthy, eat good food, read comic books and novels, exercise and have Kareena by my side. I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m smiling like an idiot even as I speak.”


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