Game, Set and Match: Vijay , Bond’s Trusty Ally in India
Vijay is a resourceful character, who serves as a British Secret Service intelligence operative and James Bond’s trusted contact during his pursuit of Kamal Khan in India. As one of Bond’s key allies in the 1983 film Octopussy, he proves to be a vital asset. The character is portrayed by the multi-talented professional tennis player Vijay Amritraj, who effortlessly infuses his athletic prowess into the role.
As an operative stationed in the British Secret Service’s Indian branch, Vijay attracts Bond’s attention upon arrival by playing the iconic James Bond Theme on his flute while charming an asp. Disposing of the snake, he reveals his aversion to them before escorting Bond to meet Station ‘I’ chief, Sadruddin.
Following Bond’s victorious, albeit rigged, Backgammon game against Kamal Khan, the antagonist orchestrates an assassination attempt during Vijay’s auto rickshaw ride with Bond. Thanks to Q Branch’s modifications, the rickshaw races through bustling streets, with Vijay even using a tennis racket to fend off attackers.
Upon investigating Octopussy’s enigmatic island residence, Bond leaves Q fishing on the shore. As night falls, Vijay takes Q’s place and soon encounters Khan’s hit-men. Suffering injuries from a deadly yo-yo saw, he clings to life just long enough to inform Q of the events before ultimately succumbing to his wounds.
Vijay Amritraj, born on December 14, 1953, is a renowned Indian sports commentator, actor, and retired professional tennis player. With a career-high singles ranking of world No. 16, he won 16 singles and 13 doubles titles, and played in the Indian Davis Cup team that reached the finals in 1974 and 1987.
In 1983, Amritraj received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor. Apart from tennis, he is known for his role as MI6 operative Vijay in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy and appearances in TV series and films such as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Amritraj has also worked as a sports commentator and hosted a talk show, Dimensions with Vijay Amritraj, on CNN-IBN. He currently lives in Southern California with his family, including his son Prakash and nephew Stephen, who are also professional tennis players.