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I see Bruce Lee-type intensity in Pooja Bhalekar: RGV

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 • Telugu Comments
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Ram Gopal Varma awaits the theatrical release of his movie 'Ammayi' ('Ladki' in Hindi) this July 15. In this interview, he talks about the movie and beyond.

Produced by Jing Liu, Naresh T and Sridhar T, the film is edited by Kamal R. Rammy has cranked the camera. RGV has described 'Ladki' as a Bollywoodised version of a south masala film.


Martial arts is a fighting technique. In the name of showing martial arts, our films resort to props, wires, VFX, body doubles and clever cuts. I haven't done anything of the sort in 'Ammayi'. We have shown what debutante Pooja Bhalekar is capable of doing as a martial arts practitioner. Even Bruce Lee only did what he could. His flights were not cinematic. That's why I call 'Ammayi' India's first martial arts movie.

In the name of martial arts, I have not shown gimmicks. The action choreography is realistic. In 'Shiva', the effect was enhanced by Nagarjuna's expressions and the sound effects. 'Ammayi', on the other hand, has got risky stunts. There are air-bound stunts as well.

Pooja Bhalekar is a trained martial arts exponent. She has pulled off risky stunts by the virtue of her training. When you do an action film with a big star, he doesn't risk it beyond a point. Even the producer wouldn't want that, coz a severe injury will put the project in peril!

We took 60-70 days to shoot the film. The China schedule went for 20 days. Besides martial arts, there is a strange love story in the film. The female protagonist likes Bruce Lee for the whole world. Due to her mania, she gets into a dangerous situation. A character brings her out of the Lee-induced stupor. It's like your 'Rangeela' where Jackie Shroff is a Lee and the other two characters are Aamir Khan and Urmila Matondkar.

We haven't used ordinary cameras. Some shots were shot using extreme speed cameras. We used a 1000-frames per second camera.

When 'Enter The Dragon' was released decades ago, I watched it 27 times. I was inspired by 'Return Of The Dragon' in writing 'Shiva'. The restaurant backdrop in that film was changed to a college in 'Shiva'. I am a fan of Bruce Lee. Although I have not tried martial arts myself, I have studied them.

Lee was unique and was a class apart. He was not heavily built. He would pulverize people many times weightier than him. What if a woman is cast as a Bruce Lee-like fighter? That's what made me make 'Ammayi'.

If this film is being released on 40,000 screens in China, it is because the distributors there have loved the film's rushes so much.

Pooja is a talented actor who had to imagine persons in front of her and do the stunts. A bad actor is one who is camera-conscious or is incapable of imagining.

The action scenes were designed by Pooja herself. She conceived them herself. She has got a beautiful body but it took me time to convince her to wear short outfits for her role. She comes from a conservative Marathi family. For the auditions, she appeared with her father. I told her that she would be committing a sin if she hides her beauty from the world!

When I watched Bruce Lee, I used to go mad about his physique. A woman's body is even more beautiful. So, a female-oriented martial arts film has to carry an oomph factor.

I am doing an English-Arabic movie with artists from the Middle East. The film is about an al-Qaeda terrorist.

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