The James Bond film Skyfall was supposed to be partially shot in India, but a variety of factors, including a list of conditions laid down by the railway ministry, forced the producers to drop the idea. Skyfall released in 2012, and received some of the best reviews in the franchise’s history. It remains the highest-grossing film of the series.
Former Union Minister for Railways, Dinesh Trivedi, was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as having said in a 2014 parliament discussion that he had put forth a list of conditions for the producers, one of which involved Daniel Craig’s James Bond endorsing the Indian Railways.
“I put three conditions: that they will not show that passengers in India travel on roofs of trains; that there will be no compromise with safety during the shoot; and that James Bond would sign up as a brand ambassador for Indian Railways,” he said. “As per the third condition, which was only added in jest, James Bond would be required to say that ‘Indian Railways is stronger than James Bond.’ ”
The producers agreed to the second and third conditions but didn’t budge on the first one. Trivedi continued, “‘There will be a scene where James Bond is going to fight on the roof of a train. Otherwise, why would we come to India?’ they said.” The talks fell through because, Trivedi said, he wouldn’t allow them to ‘show us in poor light’.
A 2011 report in a leading daily said that permission had been granted to shoot in Daryaganj, Sarojini Nagar market and Ansari Road in Delhi. Goa was also considered as a location.
Director Sam Mendes told the Hollywood Reporter in 2012 that it was too dangerous to film in the narrow streets of Mumbai. “It is logistically incredibly difficult to shut down the centre of an enormous Indian city. We tried to make it work and to embrace the chaos, but in the end, there were too many dangers – I don’t mean from people trying to sabotage production, but there are narrow streets that are difficult to film in. I was very disappointed,” he said.
Eventually, the train sequence was shot in Turkey, and a market chase sequence was filmed in Istanbul.
Daniel Craig’s final film as Agent 007, No Time to Die, has been sitting in the can for over a year, after having been delayed numerous times because of the coronavirus pandemic.