The latest James Bond movie, Bond 23, to be shot in India early next year, has had some amendments made to its motorcycle stunt atop an Indian Railways train, as the Railways officials deemed the sequence inappropriate because it promoted illegal travel practices in India.
This would be the 23rd movie in the 007 series and the second to be shot inIndia after the 1983 Octopussy starring Roger Moore as Bond. To be directed by Sam Mendes, the yet to be titled James Bond film with Daniel Craig as the high-profile spy will start shooting in February 2012. However before this, the Indian Railways has asked the writers to make a few changes to the originally planned train stunt, as they feel the sequence encourages illegal commuting practices in some parts of India.
The scene that was to have Bond jump off a motorbike onto the rooftop of a moving train with people travelling over it and then onto another moving train equally packed with illegal rooftop travellers will not be shot as planned. The Indian Government has refused to sanction this scene, but will not stop Bond from conducting the action sequence. However, it would have to be with passengers inside the carriages and not on the roof, just like it was in Octopussy where Roger Moore shot a train sequence, which was inside and under the train, but with passengers in their compartments all the time.
Indian Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi has expressed apprehension, indicating that the Bond action sequence would taintIndia’s image as railway travel is concerned. He further stressed that illegal rooftop travel was prevalent in some parts ofIndia, but not throughout the country and it was only adopted by those who wanted to avoid paying the train fares. Having the second largest railway network in the world, showing trains packed with rooftop travellers would putIndiain bad light, as people would see it as a kind of legal travelling mode here.
The minister also said that although train travel was still a popular medium of traversing long distances inIndia, private airlines were giving it a stiff competition. With the shooting of a prominent film like James Bond, Indian Railways would get a definite boost to its slowly shrinking demand. He further articulated that he had even asked the production team to have the spy say a one-liner such as, “Indian Railways is as strong as James Bond”. The team on their part have agreed to rewrite the script and omit having passengers on the train rooftops.
Shooting, which is said to take place in Mumbai and Delhi, begins in February while the official release of the film is on November 9 2012. So it will not be long before we see James Bond jumping off moving Indian trains and shooting other scenes in the Indian subcontinent!