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Sir Roger Moore: James Bond lives on in the lanes of Udaipur

While earlier, the cafes used to have projectors and screen, nowadays the movie is stored in a pen drive and is shown on large LED TV.

hollywood Updated: Jun 01, 2017 11:48 IST
Manoj Ahuja and Sohail Khan
Manoj Ahuja and Sohail Khan
Hindustan times, New Delhi
Sir Roger Moore,James Bond,Udaipur
Octopussy was Roger Moore’s sixth film as James Bond.

British actor Roger Moore might be dead, but the ‘Bond’ still lives on in the lanes of Udaipur.

Octopussy, the Hollywood blockbuster starring Roger Moore, Indian actor Kabir Bedi and former Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj is screened daily every evening at some restaurants and cafes located along Lake Pichola in Udaipur. The movie, which was released in 1983, is screened free of charge to attract tourists.

The cafes and restaurants situated along Lake Pichola provide a majestic view of the Lake Palace, a summer palace built in the middle of the lake by the erstwhile rulers that was shown as home of Maud Adams, who plays the eponymous character Octopussy. As the evening sets in, one can see foreign and Indian tourists enjoying the movie with magnificent view of Lake Pichola and Lake Palace as the backdrop.

“I am screening the movie from the day I opened the restaurant about eight years ago. Foreign tourists like to watch the movie while having dinner or just over a cup of coffee. They find it a wonderful experience watching the movie that has many scenes of the Udaipur city of 1980s,” Rakesh Pujari, owner of Cool Café restaurant, told HT. He said it was mostly foreigners who liked to watch the movie and domestic tourists did not show much interest.

The tourists season in Udaipur starts from mid July, peaks in November-December and continues until March. “It’s off season now, so few foreign tourists visit the restaurant, but I screen the move even if there are a couple of tourists. During the tourist season, the café is overcrowded but our show timings are fixed and we don’t restart the movie for latecomers,” Pujari said.

While earlier, the cafes used to have projectors and screen, nowadays the movie is stored in a pen drive and is shown on large LED TV.

Cafes play Octopussy in Udaipur everyday.

Ashiana Café and Sunrise Restaurant and Café also located at Lake Pichola have been showing the movie since the last 20 years

Many tourists visit all the locations where the movie was filmed in Udaipur, and guides vividly describe the incidents that happened during the movie’s shooting. “It can be a thrilling experience for tourists to first watch the movie and then visit the same locations next day. One popular tourist spot is the market near Jagdish Mandir where James Bond is chased by Kabir Bedi and Vijay

Amritraj helps the Bond to escape in an auto-rickshaw,” Nitin Solanki, a tourist guide, told HT.

British tourist Louie Markey and his girl friend Sylvie, who are visiting from England said the twin experience of watching the movie and then visiting the spot the next day was very exciting. “The palace in itself is magnificent, but having watched it in the movie we try to identify the locations where the movie was shot,” Louie told HT.

Udaipur was the first Indian city where a Bond movie was shot extensively. At first, the cafes and restaurants in Udaipur screened the movie as a matter of pride, and over the years, it has become their USP.

“Udaipur started picking up as an international tourist destination only after 1983. Earlier, the number of tourists who used to come here was far less but Octopussy showcased the city to entire world and the footfalls went up steeply. Today, most of the 10-lakh odd foreign tourists that come

every year to Rajasthan visit Udaipur,” said Vikram Singh, a tour operator.

For many years now, the cafes are thriving in the narrow lanes of Udaipur, and screening of Octopussy movie has contributed to their business.

Octopussy was shot in this palace.

“By now, I know the dialogues by heart and even if I am in the kitchen supervising some work, I know exactly which scene is playing,” says Pujari. Like other café owners, he feels that the movie will continue to attract the tourists for many years to come.

First Published: Jun 01, 2017 10:35 IST