There’s no mistaking the classic James Bond tune. But did you know that the iconic track, credited to Monty Norman, is actually based on an Indian number? We were like, today-years-old when we learnt it ourselves! It seems like the Indian connection with James Bond apparently extends beyond Octopussy and is often overlooked by many. A viral video shared by actor Atul Kulkarni shows Norman talking about how he composed and came up with the theme music.
Originally a part of BBC1’s The One Show, the video shows an Indian composition inspired Norman. According to Norman, the first few bars of the James Bond theme was inspired by the song Good Sign Bad Sign, which was sung by Indian characters on a novel by VS Naipaul, titled A House for Mr Biswas. The song is about an Indian man in Trinidad who is always looking for success but only finds failure. VS Naipaul was a Nobel laureate, and according to reports, the book was a part of the 100 Best English Novels Between 1923 and 2005 list by Time magazine.
“It came from a musical that Julie Moore and I were writing called A House For Mr Biswas based on VS Naipaul’s novel,” said Norman. The musical, however, never made it to the stage.
Norman explained in the video that he modified the Good Sign Bad Sign from the classical Hindustani tune and added a lot of jazziness to it. The original sitar rhythm is replaced with a pacier number to better show the ‘sexiness, ruthlessness and mystery’ surrounding James Bond.