A/B Switch (India on My Mind)

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Before I get to the intended content of this post, let me (recall Greenness and Its Discontents) state this (as Alan Scheller-Wolf emailed it to me just a few minutes ago as I was finalizing the post):

Shell’s climate transition plan wins shareholder blessing. Why it matters

The new strategy commits to halving Shell’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, compared to 2016, and to reducing the carbon intensity of Shell’s products, rather than cutting absolute emissions. “We operate within a financial system and a financial market … and there’s a complex reality we have to relate to,” said Wilhelm Mohn, global head of active ownership at Norges Bank Investment Management, the manager for Norway’s $1.6 trillion sovereign wealth fund and Shell’s third largest shareholder after BlackRock and Vanguard.

Exactly what we predicted in our paper! If you are going to be at MSOM (in Minneapolis!👌) later this month, please stop in to hear Nilsu Uzunlar present our paper there.

Now to the Main Topic.  (Obviously a play also on Georgia on My Mind.)

A few of the Amitabh Bachchan films that I still somewhat remember:

1970. Anand. 1973. Zanjeer. Namak Harram. Abhimaan. 1975. Deewar. Chupke Chupke. Sholay. Faraar. 1976. Kabhie Kabhie. 1977. Amar Akbar Anthony. 1978. Don. Trishul. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar. 1979. Mr. Natwarlal. Kala Patthar. 1980. Shaan. 1981. Laawaris. Yaarana. Silsila. 1982. Namak Halaal. Satte Pe Satta.

I knew I would like the book Amitabh: The Making of a Superstar by Susmita Dasgupta:

I grew up in what one can call the ‘Amitabh era’…Amitabh Bachchan’s peak period falls between 1973 and 1985… My book is not a biography…is not a critical study of his films either. What I have done is to try and present Amitabh in the same way that we discussed and gossiped about him…He got into films because he could not get into IITs and did not qualify for the civil services.

Zanjeer laid the foundation for the image of the angry young man… The hero is angry at the system because it does not realize its full potential… a hero who is at once conservative and progressive, who is both respectful of the order and yet defiant of it.

The scene [in Deewar] where [he] fights the goons in the closed warehouse is one of the best-composed fight scenes in Hindi cinema…he breaks the law in order to expand it so that he can come into the fold.

Thanks to YouTube, here is the Deewar clip.

As I was re-watching it, it reminded me a bit of Denzel Washington in Equalizer (2004).

In 1981/82, my dad took me to see (Happy (early wishes) for  Father’s Day!):

Live and Let Die is a 1973 spy film. It is the eighth film in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the first to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It has box office receipts of over $160 million. (on a budget of $7 million).

I switched from Amitabh to Bond. And that began the 40+ years of Bond fandom!

The first Bond movie I saw when I joined IIT-Madras (in 1982):

The Spy Who Loved Me is a 1977  spy film, the tenth in the James Bond series . It made over $185 million on a budget of under $14 million.

As I wrote in The Artist of Bond:

When I joined IIT-Madras, I remember The Spy Who Loved Me was playing in theatres in Madras (now Chennai), and a handful of us went to see it. I remember it being a late-night show, and I was so fired up that I could not sleep after returning back to Godavari hostel. Next morning, in Chemistry class, I finally dozed off, and was rudely awakened by Professor Kuriacose:

Would you rather be sleeping in the dorm?


I got up and left the class (to the amusement of my classmates, and the annoyance of the professor, who was also the Dean of Students 😏).

My cockiness was not entirely unfounded. In 1982, when I graduated from High School, HPS Begumpet, I received a Gold Medal in Chemistry, and was likely All India Rank 1 in A-Level (ISC) Chemistry that year. (I also received a Gold Medal in Physics.)

In any case, not to worry! In 2018, I was awarded Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT-Madras:

For his pioneering work in monetizing Operations Research, and seamless integration of academia with entrepreneurship, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award on Dr. Sridhar R. Tayur.

The first (new) Bond after I joined Cornell (in 1986):

The Living Daylights is a 1987 spy film, the fifteenth entry in the James Bond series, and the first of two to star Timothy Dalton as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It had a box office of over $190 million on a budget of $40 million.

Here is a story that I don’t think I have told before. So, I cancelled a meeting with my PhD advisor, Robin Roundy, and the following week:



Is everything okay?


Yes. Why wouldn’t it be?


You canceled our meeting on Friday. You never do.


It was the opening day for the new James Bond movie. I wanted to see the matinee show.


(shaking his head in disbelief)

That was the reason?


(as he is a devout Mormon😉)

Pope: Sunday Mass == Me: Friday Bond.

As I wrote in Portrait of an Academic Capitalist as a Young Man, he is an amazingly tolerant and open-minded person, and the perfect advisor I could have ever hoped for. Indeed, as you know from Riches to RAGS, I have created a PhD Fellowship in his name at Cornell.

The first (new) Bond after joining CMU (1991):

GoldenEye is a 1995 spy film, the seventeenth in the James Bond Series, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Box office revenues were over $350 million on a budget of $40 million.

The first Bond film that I have seen twice in a theater, was during my Sabbatical at MIT (in 1997) that I have fondly written about in Having Fun with Groebner Basis and Algebraic Geometry:

Tomorrow Never Dies is a 1997 spy film, the eighteenth in the James Bond series and the second to star Pierce Brosnan as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It had revenues of $333 million on a budget of $110 million.

As many of you know, my 1995 Mathematical Programming paper (First Version was submitted  in 1992, revised in 1994, mostly because it took the editor nearly 18 months months to find referees who could evaluate it!) is the seed ☺️ behind our Hybrid Quantum-Classical Graver Augmented Multi-seed Algorithm (GAMA) developed in 2018.

Herb Scarf had emailed me (in 1994):

Dear Sridhar: Your work will be of historical significance.

Well, let us see if he was right!

I remember I brought this up with George Shanthikumar at a POMS lunch some years back (was it 2019?):


Scarf was not good at forecasting.


You may have the time horizon incorrect.

Let us see if George was right!

The first Bond after founding SmartOps (in 2000):

Die Another Day is a 2002 spy film and the twentieth film in the James Bond series. Box office revenues are over $431 million on a budget of $142 million.

I think I took all of our employees to see it at the Homestead Cineplex!😊 Yes, I was that kind of Founder and CEO.

The first Bond after founding OrganJet (in 2011):

Skyfall is a 2012 spy film and the twenty-third in the James Bond series. The film is the third to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film was nominated for five awards at the 85th Academy Awards, winning two. Its box office revenues exceeded $1.1 billion (on a budget of under $200 million).

The first Bond after selling SmartOps (in 2013):

Spectre is a 2015 spy film and the twenty-fourth in the James Bond series. It has box office revenues of over $880 million on a budget of under $300 million.

The only new Bond after I created the Quantum Technologies Group (in 2018):

No Time to Die is a 2021 spy film and the twenty-fifth in the James Bond series. The film was nominated for three awards at the 94th Academy Awards, winning Best Original Song. It had box office revenues of over $774 million on a budget of about $300 million.

I have already written about Bond Songs in The Sound of 007.

Here is my short playlist of Amitabh Bachchan movie songs (that I downloaded from iTunes recently) for nostalgic reasons. Some of them I had not heard since (before) 1984!

Faraar. Main Pyasa Tum Sawan (Kishore Kumar)

Don. Khaike Paan Banaras Wala; Pag Ghungroo Baandh (Kishore Kumar)

Laawaris. Mere Angne Mein (Amitabh Bachchan)

Yaarana. Sara Zamana; Chhu Kar Mere Manko (Kishore Kumar).

Shaan. Yamma Yamma (Mohd. Rafi and R.D. Burman)

Naseeb. John Jani Janardan (Mohd. Rafi)

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar; O Saathi Re (Kishore Kumar)

Kabhi Kabhie. Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shair Hoon (Mukesh)

Now – as I did yesterday – I can switch between Amitabh and Bond songs while cruising top-down in my McLaren!

PS. Yes, of course, I have introduced Bond to my two boys. One of them even did a college homework paper on Bond! (It goes on!)


  1. I watched the Amitabh Bachchan warehouse fight scene clip. It was fine, even though I couldn’t understand.

  2. … & “Equalizer” too.

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