James Bond film was blocked from India shoot amid fears it would show country ‘in poor light’

Skyfall was originally supposed to film in India until production fell through over a list of conditions put forth by the Indian Railways.

In 2011, officials working on the 23rd James Bond film approached the Indian railway ministry for permission to film a scene atop a moving train.

Former Indian railway minister Dinesh Trivedi told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that producers were told filming could take place dependant on three criteria.

“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 [played by Daniel Craig] 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.’”

He revealed that while the makers of the film were prepared to consent to the second and third requests, they had no desire to shoot in India if they couldn’t show individuals on the roof of a train.

“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?” the film officials told Trivedi.

The talks fell through on the grounds that the minister didn’t permit the film crew to show India “in poor light”.

Another market chase sequence was likewise expected to be shot in India. However, director Sam Mendes told The Hollywood Reporter that it was too dangerous to even think about shooting in the narrow streets of Mumbai.

“It is logistically incredibly difficult to shut down the centre of an enormous Indian city,” he explained. “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.”

The production crew ended up filming the market and train scenes in Istanbul and Turkey respectively.


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