The James Bond dilemma

I don't concur with Roger Moore's comment that Bond can’t be black


Tanuj Garg October 29, 2015
The writer has been in top media and entertainment corporations in Bollywood for over a decade and can be found on twitter @tanuj_garg

Sir Roger Moore says James Bond can never be female or black, and must be straight. There’s nothing offensive about his remark. This has erupted into a legitimate debate, making for great accidental PR for Spectre around its release.

In my opinion, Moore isn’t entirely wrong. I don’t want to see Janet Bond or Boy Bond. I don’t want the sexy Bond girls to become chiselled Bond hunks. I don’t want my Bond to struggle with explosions and villains. Create another franchise if you must but don’t mess with the Bond DNA. In his hetero avatar, he’s as much a draw for straight blokes who aspire to be like him, as much as he is for the pretty boys who fantasise about him. By altering his orientation, the typical Bond fans will be alienated seeing their hero’s character and personality subverted from the way he has evolved over the decades.

Bond’s five-decade-old brand has been built on him being a ruthless, womanising assassin. There needs to exist a reason that’s good enough to gender-swap an iconic character that’s inherently a testosterone-drenched alpha male. Bond shifting shape and becoming a woman is harakiri. It’s as absurd as Alice (In Wonderland) becoming a boy.

While agreeing with Moore partly, I do not concur with his comment that Bond can’t be black. Of course we’d like Bond to be as British as possible, but if Ben Kingsley can play Mahatma Gandhi with aplomb, I don’t see why Idris Elba can’t play 007. Britain is a land of equal opportunities after all. That said, how would a black Bond be incognito in Russia?

Tailpieces

1) Tony Blair has finally said sorry for the Iraq war and taken partial responsibility for the rise of the Islamic State (IS). Would the IS exist if Saddam was still in power? Would Syria and Libya be blood-pits? Would refugees be streaming out in hordes? I’m afraid it isn’t fine to view him sympathetically just because he has owned up to his mistake after 12 years of refusing to apologise. He has blood on his hands. He should be standing trial for war crimes, along with his buddy, George Bush.

2) Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell wants to be a role model for the young and set up a new free school for arts and business. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want — for Downing Street not to allow down-and-out fruitcakes to flash the welfare card by opening educational establishments.

3) The good news: Geeta is back in India, thanks to Edhi, Pakistan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. The bad news: Geeta does not recognise her parents. Anti-climax!

4) I don’t know who is worse — pathologist Nicole Angemi who uploads horrific pictures of autopsies to her Instagram account, or the lady’s 547,000 followers who loyally track and like the hugely morbid images she posts.

5) The heart pains to the see the consequences of the ferocious earthquake that shook northern Pakistan after a decade. The tragic scenes of destruction, haplessness and death brought a tear to my eye. The medieval thought process that this was the wrath of God for some secret sin, only demonstrates the country’s deep failing as an educated nation. The real failing lies in the ineptitude of the government for extending negligible timely aid, zero earthquake preparedness and disaster management to a region that is impoverished and calamity-prone.

6) Feroz Khan and Sajal Ali are clearly Pakistan’s new-age SRK and Kajol. The gorgeous youngsters who’ve sparkled as an onscreen couple in several television dramas are set for their untitled Pakistani big screen debut. Bollywood after that?

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.

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COMMENTS (1)

From Mumbai With Love | 5 years ago | Reply Fair question here: If the author wants to see Tony Blair and George Bush stand trial for war crimes because they have blood on their hands should he also want Salman Khan to stand trial and be found guilty of killing an innocent man while drunk? Excellent Question Here: Both the UK and US administrations covered up 9/11, everyone knows and accept it. Salman Khan also covered up his murder by claiming his driver was the guilty culprit. Tony Blair and George Bush also did a lot of good for humanity during their runs in office. If the author and animal lover really, really wants to not to allow down-and-out fruitcakes to flash the welfare card by opening educational establishments shouldn't he expect the same for Being Human Salman Khan with the history of violence towards women and the slaughter of animals in the Blackbuck Hunting case? Or would wanting such rightful justice to be laid down in Salman Khan prevent the author from future Bollywood employment?
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