James Bond is, once again, front and center of mainstream culture after the release of the long-awaited No Time to Die. The film from Cary Joji Fukunaga was met with critical acclaim and deemed as a fitting end to Daniel Craig’s time as the iconic spy. As always, Indian viewers have been flocking to see the new film, with Bond being a hugely popular character in the country. Indeed, the MI6 agent has had a massive influence on Bollywood over the years and will continue to inspire movies on the subcontinent.
The Global Appeal of 007
There’s a good reason why there have been 25 Bond films in the Eon Productions franchise since the release of Dr. No in 1962. The character quickly became a global icon thanks to Sean Connery’s stylish portrayal in the early days. On top of that, filmmakers found that by reusing familiar tropes across the series, they could develop a quintessential charm that was synonymous with 007 adventures. Audiences were drawn to new films because they knew what they’d be getting and were hungry to see more of the same.
There are certain aspects that Bond viewers expect to see in one of his outings. The iconography has become universal and reads well across a variety of cultures. The classic tagline, “shaken, not stirred,” is eagerly anticipated, and met with widespread approval from viewers when it’s reeled off. Audiences also look forward to seeing the luxurious cars and state-of-the-art gadgets.
Often, Bond films will feature some casino play, as some of the character’s most memorable scenes are at the tables. In the past, these scenes may have been better received by western audiences where casinos were more prevalent. However, thanks to the global spread of online casinos, a greater number of people are familiar with the games.
This is certainly the case in India, where so many people are searching for games that there are specialist sites that help them find the best online casinos in the country. Not only can they get access to Indian favorites like Teen Patti, but they can also play popular western games such as blackjack and roulette. With this accessibility, it’s easy for players to get the hang of the rules and give the games a try. Then, when they see the games being played in a Bond film, they can identify with them as well as with the mysterious agent that little bit more.
What Bollywood Films Were Inspired by Bond?
Bollywood filmmakers regularly turn to the west for inspiration, but there has never been a direct Indian remake of any of the Bond films. Bond fever swept the country in the 1960s, leading to the creation of Farz in 1967. The spy thriller from Ravikant Nagaich was heavily influenced by the Connery Bond flicks, and it starred the legendary Jeetendra in the lead role. It was well-received by audiences and led to two sequels, Keemat in 1973 and Raksha in 1982.
Farz sparked a new genre in Bollywood known as Hindi Bond films, which were spy offerings that borrowed elements from the English language films. These started as low-budget B movies, but over time there was clearly a huge following that wanted more. Recently, there have been some much higher budget titles such as Ek Tha Tiger in 2012. The film from Kabir Khan represented a turning point for the genre, as it was more serious and action-packed than earlier productions. Salman Khan played an Indian spy tasked with recovering important information from behind enemy lines in Pakistan, and the movie was incredibly successful.
Could There Be an Indian Bond?
At the time of writing, there is major speculation as to who could step into the massive shoes vacated by Craig. Some of the names mentioned have included Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, and even Lashana Lynch as a female version of the character. However, there aren’t currently any actors of Indian heritage in the listings. Hardy is the favorite, but this could easily change over the coming months as more rumors come about.
An Indian Bond certainly wouldn’t be out of the question, and it would be fitting with the way the franchise is aiming to shed some of its outdated themes. There are plenty of people working in the real MI6 with Indian heritage, so why shouldn’t they be represented in the Eon Productions films? The other option would be for Bollywood producers to come up with their own take on the legendary character and develop Indian versions of some of the standout films in the series.
There is no doubting that the impact of Bond on Bollywood has been enormous, with the Eon Productions series having sparked a new genre in India. However, fans would love to see an Indian actor play the title role. If this isn’t a replacement for Craig, then perhaps there should be a direct Indian production inspired by one of the English language classics.