With Indian actor Gulshan Grover meeting 007 casting agents, is the 21st James Bond film bonding with Bollywood?

Casino Royale - Bollywood Bonding
16th March 2005

Rumours have circulated about the possible inclusion of top Bollywood talent in the 21st James Bond film - Casino Royale - since early 2003. The Bollywood film industry, which produces more films and has high turnovers than Hollywood, has seen a recent surge in Western popularity - and James Bond producers have always tried to cash in on trends.

From "Live And Let Die" and 70's Blaxploitation flicks, to "Moonraker" and the "Star Wars" phenomena, the Bond movies have repeatedly followed fashions. In recent years, the casting of Michelle Yeoh in "Tomorrow Never Dies" was based on the rise of Hong Kong action films, and Denise Richards in "The World Is Not Enough" was an attempt to gain popularity from the MTV generation.

Above: Gulshan Grover

Bollywood Baddy
Gulshan Grover, although almost unknown to Western audiences, is a huge star in Bollywood and is famous for playing villains and bad guys. The 50 year-old Indian-born actor has met with USA casting agents for the 21st 007 film, "Casino Royale", due out in 2006.

Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins, who always works as a pair, are in Los Angeles casting for "Casino Royale". The duo have working on past Bond films including "Octopussy" (1983), "A View To A Kill" (1985), "Licence To Kill" (1989), "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997) and "Die Another Day" (2002), and are now casting for director Martin Campbell's second film, following up from his 1995 debut outing "GoldenEye".

Gulshan Grover has met with Hirshenson and Jenkins over the past couple of week in Los Angeles and is said to be very close to securing a role. When pressed on the issue, Grover said he did not want to comment until things are definite, "But if given an opportunity Iíll grab the role and make India proud", he said.

Grover has already performed in several international projects including "Eastside", "Jungle Book II", "Tail Sting", "Beeper" and "In the Shadow of the Cobra". He was awarded the BBC Asia Award in 2001 as an acknowledgment of his talent and contribution to international cinema.

Rai Rumours
The wave of Bollywood rumours first started after "Die Another Day" and centred around one actress - Aishwarya Rai.

The Indian actress, often dubbed the most beautiful woman in the world, was linked in several ways with the 21st James Bond film.

Aishwarya cleared up the rumours last year. She said, "I did meet the people who wanted to cast me in the Bond film, so I put them to my agents. They told me that if they used an Asian character they would come to me. They were scripting the role at the time. Since then, I have not been contacted."

Later, when asked whether she would accept a Bond girl role in theory (despite a lot of misinformed tabloid pieces about kissing and body doubles), Rai said "I would be truly flattered if such a role was offered to me. I have been approached for several international projects but I am not at liberty to speculate unless the film is a confirmed project."
Above: Aishwarya Rai

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