Kamal Khan: A Prince, a Villain, and a Mastermind
Kamal Khan is an exiled Afghan prince and the main villain in the 1983 James Bond film, Octopussy. This multifaceted character lives in a luxury palace in India, and has dealings with corrupt Soviet General Orlov and businesswoman, Octopussy.
Portrayed by the late, French actor Louis Jourdan, Khan’s cunning and charm make him a memorable and compelling figure in the Bond universe.
Kamal Khan, a sophisticated Afghan prince, currently living in exile at India’s Monsoon Palace, where he operates his forgery business. His refined tastes include gourmet cuisine, exclusive beverages, precious gems, and rare artifacts. At his sports club, Khan offers tennis, polo, cricket, and game hunting facilities among other lavish sports.
In a bid to trigger a nuclear apocalypse in Western Europe, Khan collaborates with the power-hungry General Orlov. To fund their destructive plan, the duo devise a strategy to sell counterfeit jewelry, such as a Fabergé Egg.
They intend to detonate a nuclear device inside a US airbase in West Germany, using Octopussy’s itinerant circus as a disguise. Unbeknownst to Octopussy, she believes she is smuggling jewels to Zurich to split the profits with Orlov and Khan.
However, the two conspirators plan to swap the jewelry for the bomb. They expect the subsequent explosion to be dismissed as an “accident” due to the absence of evidence pointing to a Russian nuclear missile launch.
This outcome would prompt NATO to abandon nuclear weapons, enabling Orlov’s forces to occupy Western Europe. When their scheme goes awry, Khan abandons both his employer and Octopussy, expecting them to perish in the nuclear blast, before returning to India.
Khan and his right-hand man, Gobinda flee and attempt to retrieve their valuable assets from the palace. They’re shocked when Octopussy appears alive and, so they abduct her, boarding Khan’s aircraft.
James Bond leaps onto the plane’s exterior and Khan sends Gobinda out onto the fusilage to fight Bond off. Bond beats Gobinda and severs the fuel line, causing the plane to plummet, and he escapes with Octopussy just as Khan frantically tries to land.
With the runway too short, the plane careens off a cliff, ultimately crashing and exploding, resulting in the death of Kamal Khan.
French film and television actor Louis Jourdan, born on June 19, 1921, was known for his suave roles in Hollywood films. After beginning his acting career on stage, Jourdan transitioned to film and eventually caught the attention of talent scout David O. Selznick.
His American film debut was in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case (1947). Jourdan starred in notable films such as Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Gigi (1958), The Best of Everything (1959), and the James Bond film Octopussy (1983).
He also found success on Broadway and in television, including the 1977 BBC production Count Dracula. Jourdan was married to his childhood love, Berthe Frédérique, from 1946 until his death in 2015 at age 93.