Not Not Seven, writes Sajid Khan

The name is Bhaand, James Bhaand. Now that didn’t sound as correct as the name is Bond, James Bond. As the latest Bond instalment Spectre gets ready to release worldwide, I had no option but to dedicate my column today to Mr Bond and his various spin-offs, Mr Bhaands. Nahi samjhe? Samjhata hoon, samjhata hoon.

Sajid Khan

Ever since, Sean Connery walked across the silver screen shooting at the audience through a gun barrel in 1962, little did he know that the man with a license to kill would become the most popular fictional character of the century. Fifty-three years later, Spectre, is most probably Daniel Craig’s last appearance as Bond has created more hype and curiosity for the plot of the film than the Indrani Mukherjea case. I doubt even Bond will be able to solve that. Easily the most imitated films of all times are the Bond films. While Hollywood made their own American version of Bond with movies like In Like Flint, Bollywood wasn’t very far behind.

Jee haan, bhaiyyon aur behenon! Jigar thaam baith jaiye kyunki aa rahe hai humare pehle desi Bond ‘Jumping Jack Jeetu’ in Farz, which was directed by Ravikant Nagaich was a huge hit and inspired our next desi Bond, Mahender Sandhu to play Agent Vinod (1977). But the fun thing about Agent Vinod was that he was the only spy who addressed the villain Pinchoo Kapoor as ‘Checha Jaan’, who in return, calls him ‘bhatije’. And throughout the film, they do sher-o-shaayari’ with each other. The film was a big hit and the James Bhaandgiri had worked. Two years later, India got its proper mix-masala Bond in Gunmaster G-9. Mithun Chakraborty in Suraksha shot to fame as the secret spy who was a master of martial arts, love-making and disco-dancing. So, technically, this version of James Bond was part Bruce Lee, part John Travolta and part Roger Moore. Suraksha’s success spawned two sequels: Waardaat and Saahas. It was a strange phenomenon, because the audiences were very confused as our desi Bond was also a disco-dancing champion — Sahas had a song in which the secret agent dances and sings “Main hoon disco badshaah, main to disco badshaah”.

The film didn’t work at the box-office, but the original Indian Bond — Jumping Jack Jeetu — came back with his two versions — Raksha and Bond 303. The latter sounds like two tea labels made out and this was their najayaaz aulaad. A few years after, Mithun Chakraborty gave up Gunmaster G9 to become another Bond in a film called Avinash. The film, just like the air conditioning of the cinemas it played in, didn’t work. A few years later, Akshay Kumar became the next bond in Mr Bond. The film didn’t do much as he had already become popular as Mr Khiladi. Recently, Saif Ali Khan reprised the title role as Agent Vinod, which too didn’t work at the box office. Hollywood, too, has had its share of Bond spin-offs from time to time, some of which have worked, while others didn’t. Like Vin Diesel’s XXX (hit) and Ice Cube’s XXX 2 and Eddie Murphy’s I Spy (flops). I guess deep down inside, every male wants to be James Bond, but there’s only one original James Bond. And he’s created by Ian Fleming.

Now I know today’s column sounds like a PR piece for Spectre. But the truth is that, like most of you, I too am a Bond fan. And buff. So see you at the cinemas. Oh, just by the way, if you don’t know what Spectre means, watch any of Om Shivpuri’s films in which he’s playing a cop because that’s what he calls himself: “Police Spectre!”