Last month, Bollywood saw the comeback of spy genre with the release of Agent Vinod, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer Hindi spy movie. The film failed to attract much interest from movie-goers and ultimately declared flop at the box office. Irrespective of its not-so-good business, Agent Vinod has got some success in reviving indigenous Bond/Spy movies. Generally spy movies such as Agent Vinod consist of ingredients–cars, guns and of course women, with lot of action. You will be surprised to know that Spy genre has been around for over six decades in Bollywood. Samadhi (1950) was the first Hindi spy movie. It was a patriotic spy thriller, which revolves around Subhash Chandra Bose’s clarion call to the youth to join his revived Indian National Army, and liberate the country from the British. Made under the banner of Filmistan, the 165-minute saga, written and directed by Ramesh Saigal, turned out to be the year’s biggest hit with a gross profit of Rs.75 lakhs.
First of all, let’s define spy movies and its characteristics. The spy film genre, which is mainly the subgenre of thriller, deals with the subject of fictional espionage, either in a realistic way (such as the adaptations of Netaji’s Azad Hind Fauj in Samadhi) or as a basis for fantasy (such as Agent Vinod). Normally Spy moives show the espionage activities of government agents and their risk of being discovered by their enemies. This is what exactly picturised in Agent Vinod.
As I have already mentioned, spy movies have a long history in Bollywood. Ramesh Saigal’s Samadhi was among the early Hindi spy films in post-independent India. It was a big box-office hit. Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant played lead roles in the film. Farz (1967) and Aankhen (1968) were among the biggest hits. In Farz, Jeetendra plays a desi-Bond who must save India from being devastated by ‘Chinese-looking’ conspirators. In Aankhen, Dharmendra foils the nefarious plans of evil Doctor X and company, although he isn’t exactly a sarkari agent. Among other similar films released around this time, only Shatranj (1969) was a good spy film.
War with China and Pakistan in 1960s created an ideal climate for spy movies. Yakeen, Humsaya, Farz, Shatranj, Aankhen, Prem Pujari – the 1960s was a big decade for spy movies. In most of these movies, the story’s plot was almost similar where a foreign power, with the help of local traitors, was trying to destabilise India and the role of the Indian spy was to protect the nation from foreign powers.
Prem Pujari was one of the most important spy movies of its time. However the film couldn’t do very well at the box office. It was story of a peaceful, quiet army staff who was captured by the Chinese and convinced by a beautiful Chinese spy to spy against India. The protagonist agrees but foils their wicked plans by spying over them.
Let’s see the list of Hindi Spy Movies.
1. Samadhi :: Ashok Kumar played the role of patriotic spy.
2. Farz — Jeetendra played a power packed role in 1967 film ‘Farz’. Babita was cast opposite him.
4. Prem Pujari
5. Agent Vinod — Released in 1977 Mahendra Sandhu played a stylish detective.
6. 16 December