Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shaken, Not Stirred

Sir Roger Moore in 1973
when his first movie
Live and Let Die was released
Yesterday, when I heard of Sir Roger Moore's passing, all I could think of were the James Bond movies we watched with Anna in our childhood. Anna was a big James Bond fan. He took us at an early age to watch James Bond movies, so that we could "build a real appreciation" for them. I must have seen my first Bond movie in the early 70s - with Roger Moore as the suave and sexy 007. I am sure we saw other movies, like Jaws and Close Encounters, but it is the Bond movies that I remember the most.

Here is how one of our movie outings would play out in the Murthi household.  

We'd be eating dinner at 8pm on a week night. Anna would suddenly ask us what movies were currently showing. One of us would interrupt whatever morsel of food was finding its way into our mouth, and go fetch the newspaper (I believe that the first thing I learned to read in a newspaper was the schedule of movies!). We would specifically read out the name of the movie running at Chanakya - the defacto favorite theater for English language movies.

Chanakya Theater
Photo Courtesy: Wiki
Anna (and Amma) would ask us if we wanted to see it. Of course, we did! What tweenager or teenager would say no to a trip to the movies in the 70s and 80s?

The six of us would finish eating, clearing the table, cleaning the kitchen, changing clothes, closing windows and doors, packing snacks for the movie hall, and locking the flat in record time. Anna would bring the car and keep it idling in the porch of our block of flats. We would run down the stairs too excited to stand still in a lift with Amma, and tumble into the car with no argument on who got the window seat. 

Anna would get us to the theater by 8:50 pm so that we could buy tickets and be seated in time for the 9 pm show. We never missed an ad or a trailer. Even now, I hate missing theater ads and trailers.

Parle Poppins
I loved the red ones
At Interval, snacks would be taken out of various handbags and consumed with gusto. Those were the days when we could carry oranges, peanuts, chocolates, roti rolls, poppins, & water into theaters and have a picnic. 

Quite often, Anna would take our friends out for James Bond movies too. Since all of us could not fit into a Fiat, the elder kids (with one girl to ensure we could get tickets quickly by standing in the Ladies Queue!) would catch a bus. The younger kids would be driven by Anna and Amma. So well-known is Anna's love for James Bond movies that one of our friends gifted him with a CD set of all James Bond movies for his 80th birthday.

Now, often when we push Anna's wheelchair over rough potholed roads, I joke with Anna and ask him if he is feeling "shaken, not stirred". Anna doesn't normally get it the first time. Then I ask him how James Bond likes his martinis. I can almost hear the wheels of his memory grinding.

"You are shaken, Anna, not stirred. Like James Bond's martinis". He smiles every time. Not in the first telling as he used to, but in the second telling. In the second telling, he smiles.

PS: I haven't told Anna of Sir Roger Moore's passing


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Paresh. Do email me with details of what you want to know. Happy to help