Oct 05 2016

Bond Fever: 9 Famous Agents in Hindi Cinema

by   Sonal Pandya

The world's most famous spy, James Bond, was first introduced on 5 October 1962 in director Terrence Young's Dr No starring Sean Connery in the role he would forever be associated with. It launched the longest running franchise in film history enduring over 50 years. Spectre (2015) became the 24th film to release in the saga of James Bond. Naturally, Hindi cinema too has tried to replicate the secret agent formula in its own films. Here are nine of the most memorable agents that have tried to step into 007's shoes.

1 Agent 116 – appears in Farz (1967)

The first successful Hindi secret agent film was director Raveekant Nagaich's Hindi debut Farz (1967), a remake of the Telugu hit Gudachari 116 (1967) on which Nagaich was a cinematographer. Jeetendra's Agent 116 is called in to investigate the death of a fellow agent 303 and also manages to find time to romance his leading lady, Babita. Farz's finale was directly lifted from the climax of Dr No. The film was a golden jubilee hit with the popular song 'Mast Baharon Ka Main Aashiq' sung by Mohammed Rafi, featuring Jeetendra in what would become his trademark — white shoes.

2 Agent 909 – appears in C.I.D. 909 (1967)

This B-movie take on James Bond featured scientists, formulas and a 'bomb for peace'. Starring Feroz Khan as Agent 909 aka Raju, the film also starred Mumtaz, Helen and Tun Tun. Agent 909 (Khan) of the CID woos and rescues Reshma (Mumtaz) while preventing the important formula from falling into wrong hands. At one point, Helen, as the so-called Bond girl Sophia, makes a phone call to her boss using a pair of large sunglasses to inform him of Reshma's whereabouts.

3 Agent XX7 — appears in Spy in Rome (1968)

Yet another B-movie secret agent film of the 1960s, Spy in Rome, focused its story on an Indian scientist Dr Sharma (Brahm Bhardwaj) who figures out a way to reverse the ageing process. Over in Rome, maniacal Dr Chang (KN Singh) decides he must acquire this invention and gets his henchmen to kidnap Dr Sharma and his daughter. Agent XX7 aka Rajesh (Dev Kumar), who is quite the ladies man, is equipped with bizarre gadgets to aid him on his escapades, including a bunch of coat buttons that alternate as 100 ton DDT bombs to go and save them. Rajindernath plays Agent 005, the cheery comic sidekick to Agent XX7's super agent. The background music was not so discreetly copied from John Barry's Goldfinger (1964) score.

4 Agent Sunil — appears in Ankhen (1968)

Directed by Ramanand Sagar, Ankhen (1968) was another spy caper inspired by Bond. Taking a cue from You Only Live Twice (1967), Ankhen too filmed abroad in Japanese locales. Interestingly, Mala Sinha who plays Meenakshi received top billing over Dharmendra who played the patriotic agent Sunil in a secret group of civilian do-gooders who decide to get to the bottom of who is behind the terrorist attacks in India. Sunil travels to Beirut, Lebanon to uncover the plot when he runs into other agents with dubious loyalties. Ankhen featured a strong female lead in Meenakshi who didn't shy away from the action, gadgets and transmitters to help move the plot along and a strong villain in Jeevan as Dr X.

5 Agent 077 — appears in Golden Eyes Secret Agent 077 (1968)

The title of this spy caper capitalises shamelessly on the James Bond franchise. But despite what the name promises, Golden Eyes Secret Agent 077 didn't possess the finesse of a Bond film. People in this film overhear conversations by planting actual bugs and insects into rooms, while Agent 077 himself, played by Sailesh Kumar, seems to have stumbled upon the role by accident. Here too, the actress gets a higher billing over the hero with Mumtaz stepping up in the Miss Moneypenny role as a liaison between Agent 077 and the agency. Golden Eyes Secret Agent 077 has one fantastic hilarious sequence where Agent 077 is chased down and beaten up by a gang of female assassins dressed in black.

6 Agent 707 — appears in Inspector (1970)

This 1970s ode to Bond came in the form of Joy Mukherjee who played Agent 707 in director Chand's Inspector. Agent 606 is killed in action bringing to light a plot that would release a poisonous gas in the atmosphere and destroy the world. Rajesh, aka Agent 707, takes Agent 606's place and goes on the hunt of Rocky, the mastermind behind this nefarious scheme. Along the way, Agent 707 manages to fall in love with Rocky's daughter Rita (Alka) and gets quite distracted as goons try to permanently get rid of him. Some of the film's action sequences and the car chases are laughably designed; there's no mystery to this agent.

7 Agent Vinod — appears in Agent Vinod (1977) and Agent Vinod (2012)

The 1977 film Agent Vinod was an early cult favourite from Rajshri Productions, best known for their family dramas. Agent Vinod (1977) was a super hit at the box-office and made actor Mahendra Sandhu's career. Agent Vinod even had a sidekick played by Jagdeep who dubbed himself James Bond. Thirty-five years later, Saif Ali Khan, hoping to reboot the genre and create a new franchise, rebooted the character with more exotic locales in Morocco and Latvia, the latest technology and a crisp black suit to represent Bond's style quotient. The latter version did not replicate the success of its predecessor as the reviews were mixed and the film only made Rs44 lakh at the box office.

8 Agent Gopi aka Gun Master G-9 — appears in Surakksha (1979) and Wardat (1981)

Director Raveekant Nagaich revisited the spy genre with Surakksha (1979) and its sequel, Wardat (1981). Mithun Chakraborty is CBI Agent Gopi aka Gun Master G-9, a skilled and deadly assassin with a weakness for women. Sounds familiar? Featuring alongside Mr Natwarlal, Sargam and Gol Maal in 1979's top 10 grossing films, Surakksha was an unlikely hit with then unknown actor Chakraborty chasing down the evil SSO (Shiv Shakti Organisation) to save India from its anti-national schemes. One main highlight of Surakksha is a badly constructed half-human, half-robot named Jango, big boss Dr Shiva's main henchman. Meanwhile, Wardat allowed Gun Master G-9 to get a car emblazoned with his name on the side, Shakti Kapoor played a villain named Shakti Kapoor and the master plot involved harvesting an army of creepy doll babies.

9 Agent Bond 303 — appears in Bond 303 (1985)

Jeetendra returned to the spy game with Bond 303 (1985) in which notorious gang leader Tiger, with help from foreign influences, is causing mysterious deaths across India. Agent Bond 303 aka Ajay probably doesn't get the concept of a secret identity; he allows himself to be introduced as top agent Bond 203, tipping off his enemies easily. Parveen Babi has a double role in the film as good twin Kavita and the mercenary Suzianna. Bond 303 doesn't break any new moulds; it featured unimaginative gadgets, while actress Helen returns yet again in the role of the femme fatale.