ADIEU, mr. BOND
IF THE very idea of a charismatic spy with uber cool demeanor ever needed an honest soul who could transform the character into a cult, then late Sir Sean Connery’s living as James Bond makes an all-time cinematic success story. He brought to life a legend that continues to weave magic in the world of spy movies across generations.
Sir Connery gave the world the irresistible British secret agent 007 with his awesome acting prowess and passion for perfection that remains his biggest legacy. And Sir Sean Connery remains the original, the trendsetter, the suave, smart, subtle Bond... James Bond. The cult of James Bond, armed with a licence to kill, saving the world from demonic villains and indulging in “meaningful pursuits” with sensuous women around the globe remains the biggest gift of Sir Connery. It is one gift that keeps giving for years together and continues to occupy a cornerstone in the celluloid world. The Bond franchise has seen and may continue to see different actors essaying the role of the MI-6 agent but none comes closer to the manner in which Sir Connery revolutionised the most-loved spy with his witty as well as gritty performances starting from ‘Dr. No’. He will always be remembered by the legion of fans as the original James Bond who entered their hearts with those magnetic, unforgettable introductory words — “The name’s Bond... James Bond!” Cinema and characters have thrived on such strokes of magic that Sir Connery provided with his stint as Bond in seven films.
Despite the dangers of getting cast as a stereotype, Sir Connery dabbled with the spy’s role with a charisma that cannot be described in mere words. It was something that the Scottish actor brought up from the reservoirs of his inherent talent. That he earned a fandom across the globe with his classy and suave mannerisms underlines the blood and sweat he put in the character of James Bond. The fact that the makers of the Bond films had to persuade him back into the role after a one-off detour with newbie George Lazenby in the largely-forgettable “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” speaks of the magnetism of Sir Connery. Lazenby was so much consumed by the on-screen image of James Bond that he ended up as a disillusioned actor for a while. Other followers into the role -- Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig -- too were vocal about the pressure of performance and getting typecast dangling over the head while playing Bond. It again speaks of the strong mental resolve that Sir Connery possessed to stay detached from the cult.
Yet, judging the acting talent of Sir Connery on the basis of the Bond franchise would be a gross injustice to the great man. No doubt he will remain the original Bond but he was also respected for the swift move to carve his own legend far greater than Bond. Playing the grumpy father of Harrison Ford in ‘Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade’ or the intelligent yet emotionally vulnerable thief partnering Catherine Zeta -Jones in ‘Entrapment’, Sir Connery was far away from the Bond cult, making an indelible mark with thunderous performances matching his age. Yes, he was Bond but he was also the Best when he was out of the spy’s skin. And yes, they don’t make them like him anymore!