Why Agent Vinod (1977) starring Mahednra Sandhu, bond movies is not a common phenomenon in Bollywood?
It is true that no one else thought of reviving that genre of films, but I'm glad Sriram and I thought of making a film like Agent Vinod once again. However, let me clarify that my film has got nothing to do with the 007 Bond type of films which had a point to prove to the Russians that you can have a good time and be a Bond too because Russia was a communist country that frowned upon capitalism and the Americans wanted to prove them wrong.
How different and stylish is your agent?
Vinod is a little quirky guy who is also interested in being seduced by sexy women. The idea was to make a contemporary spy thriller with that is not just another International film but a desi film with a lot of action, thrills and watch more girls in bikinis. Sriram Raghavan and I hope to revive the yesteryear genre of films like Agent Vinod, Aankhen, Farz etc keeping in mind the modern sensibility and feelings. All of them were great films. I would say that Agent Vinod is the coolest spy thriller made in India in recent times.
How did you mold yourself for the role?
Look here. Times have changed since the 70s. The toughest part of acting in Agent Vinod was that I had to be fit physically for the part though I was producing the film. The biggest challenge for me was that Sriram is the kind of director who gives scenes which are difficult to do mentally. What helped me in delineating my character was the fact that it was a character which I understand.
How confident are you?
To tell you the truth, I was actually quite skeptical initially but I am very happy with the way the film has finally shaped. I would describe my role as a nice and charming role with a lot of action, though I do not want to be hailed as the next action king.
The title Agent Vinod...
The name Agent Vinod conjures a B type of the 70's movies like say Suraksha Gun Master G etc. I'm of the opinion that our simple audiences have not change at all much and would like to see those kinds of movies. As a tribute to Mahendra Sandhu who had played the title role in the 1977 Rajshri film, I am even referring to a character in the film with his name.
How critical are you of your own performances?
I am my biggest critic as well as fan. I know when I am looking good or giving 100 crores worth close up and I also know when I am giving a bad shot.
Do you seek suggestions from Bebo on the acting front?
I have great respect for Kareena but would like to do my scenes in my own way. The fact is that neither do I suggest any of my co-actor or like any of my co-actor suggesting to me in the middle of the shot. On the flip side, I think I could have become fitter if only I had got tips from Bebo.
Which are the producers who have inspired you to a large extent?
There are producers like Sajid Nadiadwala and Ramesh Sippy who have inspired me to a large extent. They are what I'd call great producers who know their jobs. Production can also be creative provided you can plan how your film is going to look like, though the financial side is quite tough. I have taken a call on whether the basket should be made of plastic or it should be a wooden basket. Today you can survive if you are a producer-director or for that matter an actor producer because you can easily remove the middle man, unlike in earlier times.
Does it mean that you would not do a film for an outside producer?
Why not, if I get a good offer from an outside producer? There are several ways today for an actor to charge for his acting. I could take a percentage of the negative rights or charge the producer a percentage of the profits of the film in which I am acting.
I have films like Go Goa Gone directed by Raj and D.K. Nedimoru who had directed Shor In The City and then Abbas Mustan's Race 2, for which I am going to Turkey for the shoot, besides Cocktail.
What are your daughter Sara and son Ebrahim doing now?
While my daughter Sara has joined Mohan Jayakar in his law firm as an apprentice, my son Ebrahim who is still studying in school wants to be a cricketer like my abbajaan.
On say on your journey till now...
Frankly I am of the opinion that I have become a better actor now than what I was in earlier years when I was often written off, I do not know what my forte is but I feel that I can bring a certain freshness and energy to romantic comedies and fun films. In fact, I would love to play the role of a Bhopali detective in a film.
Five best and five worst of yours
Omkara, Parineeta, Hum Tum, Love Aaj Aur Kal and Kal Ho Na Ho are my five best films as an actor and Bambai Ka Babu, Suraksha, Ek Tha Raja, Sambandh and Yaar Gaddaar are my worst films.