The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Licence to play

Come Friday and city musicians Sumith Ramachandran and Rila Banerjee will be on the Muscat International Film Festival stage, performing before legendary Bond stars at a special programme to pay tribute to five decades of James Bond on screen.

though Sumith and Rila have been musicians for more than 15 years, they formed the band Plan B five years ago and started performing as a duo about two years ago. But the Muscat gig is going to be a special one; one that is giving the husband-wife duo a “bit of cold feet”.

Reason? The evening’s guest list, that includes five-time Bond director John Glen known for Octopussy and License to Kill, Australian actor George Lazenby who replaced Sean Connery as James Bond in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Bond girl Britt Ekland. “To perform For Your Eyes Only before the film’s director (John Glen) is daunting, but I’m confident we’ll do a great job!” assured Rila.

Excited about their first international performance tour as a duo, Rila adds, “It happened out of the blue. I have a lot of Bee’s Knees (Rila’s jewellery design outfit) clients in Oman. A month ago, an agent appointed by Oman’s ministry of art and culture for the planning of film fest events wrote to me. They had been keeping track of my status updates, singing pictures and videos on Facebook and checked us out on YouTube and Myspace. They wanted to know if we’d be interested in performing Bond songs for a special event and of course we agreed! The way we dress and act on stage was also an important criteria.”

With a 15-minute performance before the two Bond screenings On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and For Your Eyes Only, the duo have chalked out a 007 setlist spanning Diamonds Are Forever, All Time High, Tomorrow Never Dies and a medley of popular Bond songs. “Sumith has sequenced the tracks minus the guitar and vocals because we won’t have much time to set up or wrap up our instruments. Another reason why we’re travelling as a duo and not the complete band,” said Rila. “We’d love to do a repeat show (in Calcutta) coinciding with the new Bond film Skyfall’s release; but before that we’ll give it a go whenever someone will have us!” she added.