On a day when the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of James Bond films, Kerala too has its share of fond memories of the 007 hero. Many, including Dr K K Dandapani, who did not miss any of the 22 Bond movies released so far and the staff of the theatres that screened all the Bond movies, shared their excitement on the Global James Bond Day.
It was Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman who adapted Ian Fleming’s book and brought the first movie Dr No to the screen in 1962 with Sean Connery as the Bond. “Dr No was screened at Star Talkies at Mattanchery. The movie was later screened at Little Shenoys in 1963, from where I watched Bond for the first time on screen. For the last 50 years, right in front of my eyes and through various actors, Bond movies grew into a phenomenon,” said Dandapani, 70, who owns the video copy of all the Bond movies.
Connery went on to play Bond five more times till Diamonds Are Forever. He was followed in the role by George Lazenby (one film), Roger Moore (seven), Timothy Dalton (two), Pierce Brosnan (four) and Daniel Craig (two, and third one to be released in November). Lazenby’s lone movie as Bond- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was screened in Vistarama projection at Shenoy’s theatre.
“All the Bond films ensure a minimum run of four to five weeks in the city, which is a good run for Hollywood movies,” said Ramkumar, manager of Sreedhar Theatre, Ernakulam.
Dandapani recollected that the greatest 007 hits in Kerala as per his knowledge were From Russia With Love (1963) and Gold Finger (1964).
The theatres too knew the importance of screening Bond movies then. “Programme cards were issued from Sreedhar theatre showing the details of the movies to be screened during the month. Hints on the Bond missions were included in the card to rouse curiosity among the movie lovers,” Ramkumar added.
Skyfall, the latest Bond movie with Daniel Craig in the lead, will be released all over India on November 1.