Bond is dead, long live James
I have a bad habit of listening to or watching BBC news in the late evening or midnight when the world starts snoring.A news stunned me when the news reader said, Sir Sean Connery is no more, he passed away (on 31 Oct,2020) at the age of 90, in Nassau, Bahamas. It was a sad day for me because I am a great fan of Sean Connery, who played the first James Bond, the British Secret Agent (007 of MI 6 Vintage ) in Dr No. I had seen all 26 Bond movies, including those seven in which Sean Connery acted as James Bond.
Sean Connery came from a very humble Scottish family and rose to the top in international filmdom; it was because of his sheer hard-work and good luck .But he lived as simple as possible though reigned the world as an iconic actor during the second half of the 20th century.He being a great supporter of the Scottish cause, said in an interview in the run-up to 2014 plebiscite that he might come back from Bahamas if voted in favour of Scotland.For me, despite all his wonderful movies, Sean Connery will always remain the best James Bond.
In his obituary, his son Jason Connery said "a sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor" ( courtesy BBC).
With dew respect to all the James Bonds (actors) I must admit that Sean Connery was my best 007, the British Spy agent , on Her Majesty's Service. Some of his movies preceded my birth. But I could watch all his movies in the 80's , thanks to the VCP & VCR era. Not only that we had the opportunity to enjoy old English movies including the Bond series in Imphal Talkies ( Rup Mahal Theatre , opposite Sir John Stone School ), in Bir Tikendrajit Road.
If I recall correctly I saw " Never Say Never Again " in Usha Cinema in Paona Bazar. In Imphal city Imphal Talkies and Usha Cinema were the only two theatres where English movies were screened in the 70s . Imphal Talkies was permanently for English Movies; Usha Cinema once in a while took up English movies. The advent of Shanker Talkies & Mini Shanker at Lamphel and Asha & Jina Cinemas in North AOC came later in the 80s.
We had the opportunity to see James Bond movies either in Usha Cinema or Imphal Talkies . I had enjoyed "You only live Twice", "Diamonds are Forever", "GoldFinger", "Thunderball", "Never Say Never Again" in these two theatres. I saw "Dr No" and "From Russia with Love" on TV, thanks to the VCR culture of the 1980s and 90s.
Later on when the CD and DVD culture started in 2000(onwards) I again had the opportunity to see all the Bond Movies . You will be surprised to know that I had seen most of the Bond movies more than once. I might have seen " You only live Twice" five/ six times. " Never Say Never Again ", may be 4/5 times.
However I had never gone through a single novel in 007 written by Ian Fleming or any Fleming for that matter. I thought it is a waste of time and energy when you have the thrilling Bond movies in series . Rather my books are more on ideas, ideologies, gossip, biographies (spicy), history (written without patronage) etc. Autobiographies are full of lies and hypocrisies.
Coming back to the point , my craze for Bond movies is based on certain paradigms - the global plots, sophisticated weapons, latest gadgets, beautiful ladies, extraordinary gambling, exotic-sites, hi-fi lifestyle, hi-tech cars, etc. To be very frank whatever Bond does may be illegal, extra-Constitutional and highly obnoxious but his activities are endorsed worldwide because of the cause he stands for - world peace, destroying the evil, common justice for humanity etc.
In addition to the Bond movies Sean Connery acted in many great movies ; to name a few "The Untouchables", "Indiana Jones & the last Crusade", "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", "Highlander", "The Rock" etc. He got an Oscar for his acting in " The Untouchables". Sean was Knighted by the Queen of England in the year 2000.
The truth is "007" commits murders, conspires , goes into heavy drinking and non-consensual sex , indulges in ruthless gambling and destruction but the world still loves him because of his style and commitment to ultimate good.
"A martini, shaken not stirred " , James Bond.