Bollywood in the grip of espionage!

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By HT

NEW DELHI, April 28 -- For years, master spy James Bond has been thrilling audiences across the world with his uber-stylish looks and action scenes. 

In India, filmmakers have had stints with spy films but they have been few and far between. Now, a clutch of Hindi films are set to have a tryst with espionage.

For starters, Alia Bhatt will be seen as a spy in Meghna Gulzar's Raazi, which is an adaptation of Harinder S Sikka's novel, Calling Sehmat. Then, John Abraham is readying for his spy turn in Robbie Grewal's Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW), also starring Jackie Shroff. That's not all. 

Radhika Apte will be seen playing 'Spy Princess' Noor Inayat Khan in an untitled female-centric World War II drama, also starring Stana Katic and Sarah Megan Thomas. Also, Raid director Raj Kumar Gupta plans to make a film on the RAW agent Ravinder Kaushik, who operated in Pakistan.

Experts feel that spy movies spell a "lot of excitement". Trade expert Amod Mehra says, "The fact that Bond films and the Mission Impossible series do exceptionally well across the world, including India, proves that people love to watch spies on screen. It always brings a lot of thrill and excitement for audiences, so they readily lap them up." 

In the recent past, Salman Khan played an Indian spy in Tiger Zinda Hai (2017), the blockbuster sequel to Ek Tha Tiger (2012). Also, Akshay Kumar played a spy in Neeraj Pandey's Baby (2015), while Taapsee Pannu - after doing a small part in Baby - played a spy in Naam Shabana (2017).

Actors admit that they love their spy avatars. "There were a lot of spy activities that I had to do on set but I really loved all the espionage sequences in the film. One of them was Morse code. For some silly reason, I really like all of them," says Alia. Radhika adds, "It's a very important part and a lot of responsibility. It's based on a unique, real woman. I'm quite excited. I am reading a lot on her... and some [books] have been written by her as well. I am also working a little bit on my language." 

But playing such parts isn't a cakewalk. RAW will show a much leaner John as he will attend workshops and do intense training to get into the character. Grewal says that mental conditioning is very important for such parts. Alia says, "Meghna was very clear about wanting her character (from Raazi) to be a 'normal, young, feminine and gentle girl' who is also a spy."