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There won't be a James Bond like Sean Connery

By SUBHASH K JHA
Last updated on: November 01, 2020 12:27 IST
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As dry as the martini Bond enjoyed, Connery's 007 was a tour de force of comicbook heroism replete with set pieces and choreographed stunts which he carried off with a Scottish virility, notes Subhash K Jha.

Sean Connery as James Bond with the Jet Pack in Thunderball

IMAGE: Sean Connery, who passed into the ages on Saturday, aged 90, as James Bond in Thunderball.
 

'The name is Bond, James Bond.' No one said the iconic line quite like the Scottish superstar Sean Connery.

With due respect to Daniel Craig, the current 007 -- and I am sure he will agree with me -- there will never be another Bond like Sean, a Bond who bonded with the audience like none other.

Sean Connery first played James Bond in Dr No in 1962. He went on to play 007 in seven subsequent films, all mega-hits.

As dry as the martini Bond enjoyed, Connery's 007 was a tour de force of comicbook heroism replete with set pieces and choreographed stunts which he carried off with a Scottish virility.

The wenches were swooning. But Sean was sick of it. He confessed that dealing with the popularity Bond got him was a bit of a nightmare. He wanted out. In 1971 he made what he thought was going to be his last Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever.

Sean Connery with the Aston Martin in Goldfinger 

IMAGE: Sean Connery as 007 with his favoured Aston Martini in Goldfinger.

Thereafter, he proceeded to do some of his most unforgettable roles in films like The Wind and The Lion, The Man Who Would Be King and most notably Robin and Marian, a gentle elegiac reworking of the Robin Hood myth for which Connery coaxed the mythic Audrey Hebpurn out of retirement.

Robin and Marian ranks as Connery's career-best performance. A character in the film says, 'He (Robin Hood) has become a legend. Have you ever tried to fight a legend?'

Robin and Marian was like one legend playing another. Actually it was more than that: It was one legend, Sean Connery, trapped in another legend James Bond, playing a third (Robin Hood).

Several masterly performances in semi-classics like The Name Of The Rose (where Connery was magnificent as a priest) and the gangster epic The Untouchables (which won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) followed.

But Connery was not done with Bond as yet. In 1983 he returned as Bond for the last time in Never Say Never Again.

Well in his sixties, Sean Connery was voted Sexiest Man of the 20th Century. Photograph: David Moir/Reuters

IMAGE: Well in his sixties, Sean Connery was voted Sexiest Man of the 20th Century. Photograph: David Moir/Reuters

The scars of being permanently typecast never left Sean Connery's career. In spite of many magnificent performances outside Bond-age, Connery remained for all practical purposes, James Bond in the public mind. He hated being reminded of it. And why should he not? When he proved himself a versatile actor many times over?

His last full-length feature-film appearance was in 2003 in Stephen Norrington's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, an extraordinarily awful film, where our own Naseeruddin Shah got to share screen space with Connery.

The film and its box office disaster left Sean deeply embittered. He never returned to a full-length role, moved to Spain to a life of amplified luxury with his second wife Micheline Roquebrune. They were together till his death on October 30 at 90.

A life well-lived, a career that spanned generations and a role that made him a household name. Sean Connery couldn't have asked for more.

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