Everything I learned about spying thanks to Agent Vinod
If this is the life of the subcontinental spy, I want it too.
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan are less Octopussy and James Bond than they are suspected Indian spy, Madhuri Gupta and her Pak ISI agent paramour, Rana, who Gupta was in love with and allegedly sold the country’s secrets to. While Agent Vinod is definitely no James Bond or Jason Bourne, the film does act as a ready primer on how to be a successful spy in the sub-continent.
First things first, you’ll have to know how to woo the ladies if you’re an Indian spy. So what if you’ve been injected with a truth serum, as you come to, the first thing you think of upon spotting the blue-eyed nurse injecting you – is not to wring her neck, but when to wed her. Also, it is important to have honourable intentions. No bedding, only wedding. It makes the ladies – who might just be double agents – love you all the more.
So how do you spot a double agent? You need no powers of deduction it seems. Like Hypnotist Kenny in Little Britain, all you need to do is say, “Look into my eyes, my eyes, my eyes”. And voila, you can spot a spy a mile away. It works best with the lissome ones. Because as Saif says in the film when suspecting Kareena of being a double agent, “Tumhari aankhein maar sakti hain, par tum nahin. You don’t have the eyes of a killer”. Arre wah. What a smart boy. Too bad he doesn’t show as much interest in looking into the eyes of the other spies and villains, or we’d have been saved at least an hour of this film.
That leads us to a spy’s main task - how do you spot the villain? Now you wouldn’t think it, but it seems this is the easiest bit. You don’t even need to look into someone else’s eyes to spot their wicked ways. Just keep an eye out for the weirdest dressed and oddest looking person in the crowd. So if there’s a chap with one blue eye, or another wearing flowing satin robes with a pony-tail to his knees while everyone else is in their office formals, or another who looks like an open-haired, even more obese version of Vikram Chatwal – that’s your man. It seems that villains and counter-spies have been taught that the best way to blend into the background is to dress like you’re one of the stars of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Next on the agenda. Always carry an invisible vanity box which includes a mini-steam iron, hair straightener, eye-liner and pocket razor with you, and an unending supply of Canali shirts and suits. Because what is a spy who isn’t preened to perfection? Nothing else can explain away Saif’s über-chic, perfectly ironed shirts and clean-shaven look despite being held hostage or roaming the streets of Russia, Somalia, Morocco and of course Delhi. And let’s not forget Kareena’s prêt-a-porter jeans and stilletoes while on a surveillance mission where she has to walk on cobbled streets. Who needs sensible shoes, when you can look like a thousand bucks.
Also, keep your frequent flier card handy. Because to be an agent, or a double agent, it seems you also need to have all the skills of a travel agent. Just imagine the flying miles you can knock up if you just undertake one mission a year. From Morocco to Cape Town to St Petersburg to Karachi to Riga – all in the span of a week. It’s like a paid holiday in which you also get to save the world and become a national hero. Win-win-win. By the way it seems spies and double agents are immune from jet lag. Yet another reason to become a spy.
But most important of all, national crisis or not, impending nuclear warfare or not, always remember that Love will Keep You Alive. So don’t you worry if you’re on a suicide mission to fly a nuclear weapon into a deserted area, for the greater good of the country, and also because you simply can’t figure out the password to deactivate it. Either way death is inevitable – through a nuclear blast or through crashing a chopper with you and the nuclear bomb in it. So don’t make the mistake of calling up any weapon detonating expert. Oh no. Spend the last 2 minutes, while you’re flying the chopper with you and the bomb in it – to call your riddled-with-bullets lady love and tell her that if not on earth, you’ll show her paradise in heaven. And voila, in her dying moments her brain will work faster than yours and provide you with the password to deactivate the bomb. See, I told you. Love will keep you alive.
If only Agent Vinod had been released a year back and Madhuri Gupta had gotten to see it. Methinks she could have learnt a thing or two and instead of facing trial would be sitting on the beaches of Cape Town, watching a Speedo clad-tanned young man emerging from the waters a la Saifoo baba.
Rajyasree Sen is a bona fide foodie, culture-vulture and unsolicited opinion-giver. You can read about her adventures with food and life in Delhi on her blog www.brownsahiba.blogspot.com or follow her at @rajyasree
Updated Date: Mar 26, 2012 13:34:05 IST