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Railways minister explains why 'Skyfall' abandoned India as a location

21-Jul-2014 • Skyfall

Regular MI6 readers will recall that negotiations to shoot the opening sequence of 'Skyfall' in India were quite far along in the process (official permissions were granted) before completely derailing and ultimately leading the production to film in Turkey instead.

Participating in a Parliament discussion on the Indian government's recently announced annual railway budget, former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi revisited the 2011 negotiations.

"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," Trivedi 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.' "

Trivedi said the producers accepted the second and even the third condition, but they said they did not want to shoot in India if they could not show people on train rooftops. "'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," added Trivedi.

Trivedi said the talks with the Bond producers fell through, as he would never permit the producers to "show us in poor light," but did acknowledge that people traveling on train rooftops was an image that had come to be associated with Indian Railways.

One of the other problems, not mentioned by Trivedi, was that filming would mean closures of lines to ensure safety of the stunt crew which would disrupt the busy train schedules. The many levels of government bureaucracy in India were also cited as a problem by the local production company that was to assist in 'Skyfall' shooting.

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