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Beyond Octopussy: Roger Moore's India connections

By Monali Sarkar
May 24, 2017 08:32 IST
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The James Bond actor spent months in India shooting for another film, but his connection to India goes much deeper than that, reveals Monali Sarkar.

Roger Moore The Sea of Wolves

IMAGE: From left, Roger Moore, Mohan Agashe and Gregory Peck in The Sea Wolves


Roger Moore, who passed into the ages on Tuesday, May 23, had connections with India that began way before he came to the country to shoot his James Bond film Octopussy.

It began with his mother. Lillian Pope was born in Calcutta during British rule.

Moore, who was born and raised in Britain, spent considerable time in India after he became an actor.

Roger Moore Goa

IMAGE: Moore on the sets of The Sea Wolves in Goa in December 1979.
In July 1979, Moore was extensively photographed playing actor and tourist in New Delhi.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Blair Stirret/Wikimedia Commons


In 1979 -- some years before he returned to shoot for Octopussy -- he visited New Delhi and Goa to shoot for The Sea Wolves, which also starred Gregory Peck, Trevor Howard and David Niven.

The film was based on James Leasor's book Boarding Party, which told a true story that took place during World War II.
It involved the Calcutta Light Horse's covert 1943 attack on a German merchant ship, which had been transmitting information to U-boats from the then neutral Portugese territory of Goa.

In India for months, Moore travelled with his wife Luisa and son Christian.

Roger Moore Octopussy Kabir Bedi

IMAGE: Moore with Kabir Bedi in Octopussy.

Roger Moore octopussy vijay amritraj

IMAGE: In Octopussy, Moore also shared screen space with Vijay Amritraj.

Roger Moore Udaipur octopussy

IMAGE: Parts of Octopussy were shot at the Lake Picchola in Udaipur.


Moore returned to India in 1982 for his James Bond outing in Octopussy.

The film that saw Bond tracking a jewel smuggling operation that unravels a far bigger conspiracy of a nuclear attack was shot in Udaipur, at locations like Lake Pichola and the Monsoon Palace, and in Agra.

The film also starred Kabir Bedi. Tennis ace Vijay Amritraj made his movie debut in the Bond flick.

Roger Moore Mumbai

IMAGE: Moore, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, was in Mumbai in 2005 to promote Universal Salt Iodization in India. Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters


Moore's last visit to India came 23 years later, in 2005, as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador promoting the use of iodised salt.
He was accompanied by his wife Kristina, and they visited Mumbai, New Delhi (where Moore addressed the Hindustan Times Leadership Forum) and Rajasthan (a primary school in Bhamoria district).

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Monali Sarkar /