There are many films that try to use the secret-agent formula to their advantage. However, the only ones that succeed are those that maintain an ideal blend of novelty and a gripping thrill factor. It is mostly about the element of surprise and the ways in which it is exploited that defines the quality of these movies.
Spy films in Bollywood have existed for decades. Roping in a fusion of romance, drama and crime, these films have constantly evolved into more real and more dangerous versions of themselves. And that is precisely what fans of this genre look forward to.
From the simple stories of infiltration from the 1960s to the more sophisticated espionage thrillers of today, Bollywood has explored and presented a broad range of spy-fiction on screen. Here is a look at the 10 best ones.
1. Farz (1967)
Farz revolves around a group of CID agents investigating the murder of their colleague. Their mission gets complicated once they find evidence that the murderer is also one of them! In order to solve the mystery, the protagonist Agent 116 must carry out his investigation under cover.
2. The Hero: Love Story of A Spy (2003)
As the name suggests, The Hero tells the story of two spies falling in love during a mission to infiltrate a terrorist network. As a series of events separate the two, they must focus on their individual strengths. And not just for the success of their mission but also, to find their way back to each other. With Preity Zinta and Sunny Deol as protagonists, the film introduced Priyanka Chopra to Bollywood.
3. Ek Tha Tiger (2012)
This is the first installment of the Tiger film series spearheaded by Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. The story begins with a focus on undercover agent Tiger, working for India’s RAW. Things take an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with a woman named Zoya. Though love is inevitable, their romance hits a road bump as Tiger makes a discovery- Zoya too is a spy! Unlike him, she works for ISI, the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan!
4. Baby (2015)
An elite team of intelligence officers is on a mission to destroy a potentially lethal terrorist operation. “Baby” refers to the top-secret counter-espionage team that is hell-bent on stopping the spies and launching mass terror attacks. The film offers the perfect combination of suspense and action, catering to the palate of thrill-seekers.
5. Jewel Thief (1967)
Striking a balance between romance, mystery and humor, Jewel Thief serves a classic plot of mistaken identity. However, the protagonist, an ordinary man hired by the police, manages to use the situation to his advantage in order to crack a notorious crime ring.
6. Naam Shabana (2017)
Naam Shabana is a spin-off from 2015’s Baby. Solely focusing on the undercover agent named Shabana, the film traces her back story answering the questions that had sprouted up after the first film.
7. Madras Cafe (2013)
This is a political thriller spy film set during the time of the 1980s Sri Lankan civil war. The plot revolves around an Indian Army officer hired by RAW for a cross-border mission. In the midst of military politics, the officer must focus on preventing the assassination of a former Indian Prime Minister.
8. D-Day (2013)
The ensemble cast of D-Day includes Arjun Rampal, Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Huma Qureshi and Shruti Haasan. The film tells the story of an intelligence team trying to hunt one of India’s most wanted terrorists. However, one unexpected error puts their plan at a horrible risk. A Nikhil Advani directorial, the film is packed with action and adventure.
9. Kahaani (2012)
A thriller that promises to keep you guessing till the end, Kahaani mentions nothing about a spy until its climax. The plot revolves around a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband. However, it turns out that the search was intended to lure out a mass murderer and that the woman was working for the Intelligence Bureau!
10. Raazi (Yet to release)
Raazi is an adaptation of the 2008 novel “Calling Sehmat” by Harinder Sikka. Starring Alia Bhatt in the lead, the story shows a Pakistani army official marrying a Kashmiri woman named Sehmat. Little does he know that Sehmat is an Indian spy on a mission to gather classified information from Pakistan!
Raazi releases on May 11. Don’t forget to book your tickets on Paytm.