He plays a stylish spy in Agent Vinod, opposite his real-life girlfriend who will also be seen in an action-packed role. And though Kareena Kapoor had publicly admitted that she hates being forced to perform stunts, actor-producer Saif Ali Khan admits he’s "very impressed" with her new avatar as a Pakistani CIA agent.
"It’s quite weird because she has a very intense expression on her face when she performs stunts. But it looks very convincing on her," he says. In a recent interview, Bebo mentioned that she’d rather do a romantic film with her rumoured husband-to-be, even hinting at considering something along the lines of 2004 rom-com, Hum Tum.
But Saif rebuffs her, saying, "Kareena would rather do something like a soft comedy with me because she is a romantic person at heart. But I don’t think she sees an important point- how interested will the audiences be to watch us together as an on-screen couple, since we are actually together in real life?"
The Love Aaj Kal actor insists that a film like Agent Vinod, co-produced by partner Dinesh Vijan, is a far more interesting project for them to work on together. "We have been portrayed very intelligently in it. I feel it’s a little dangerous to cast Kareena opposite me in a typical Bollywood film and expect the audience to be interested in watching it," he says.
As for his own punch-per-minute role, he says, "It was incredibly demanding physically, given that there was plenty of wirework, besides the regular stunts. In fact, I hurt myself quite a few times during the shoot. But that made it more special," says the National Award-winning actor.
Saif trained in Vietnam to learn the ropes, literally. "I went there for a few days to learn to handle harnesses better. That’s where our action director (Peter Heinz) has his headquarters too. That was the main physical exercise I did, apart from working out intensely in the gym and doing yoga in Mumbai. It was quite a dramatic lifestyle change I went through to get into my character. But I enjoyed the process," says the actor with a smile.
Agent Vinod’s muses
When Saif Ali Khan released the first trailer of Agent Vinod, many felt the film had traces of popular international spy franchise, James Bond. Interestingly, the actor-producer too agrees that there are certain "influences", saying, "Bond is always in control, he is never out of his depth. Those are the Bond influences that made it into Agent Vinod," says the actor. "As far as Bourne (fictitious American rogue spy Jason Bourne) goes, the influences show in the way our film has been shot," says Saif, adding that the film has been constructed like a Tintin comic book. "Tintin always has different adventures. If you look at any page, there’s always something happening," he says.