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A note from Ram Gopal Varma on "Bruce Lee"

A note from Ram Gopal Varma on Ram Gopal Varma's "Bruce Lee"

I am a huge Bruce Lee fan and my film Bruce Lee is the story of a Bruce Lee fan

Hence the title,"Bruce Lee"

There was an extreme excitement in all us youngsters at Panjagutta Colony in Hyderabad when word got around that a new film called “Enter the Dragon” was coming ..It was supposed to have some mind blowing martial arts sequences. I never heard of the word Karate or Kung Fu before but when I finally got to see the film its star,Bruce Lee just blew me away or shall I say kicked me away.

To say that I was awestruck and mesmerized by him will be an understatement. I used to cycle all the way to a theatre which was 7 km away and I saw “Enter the Dragon” 17 times and after that his subsequent film “Return of the Dragon” 23 times which was made earlier but released in India later.

I was obsessed about knowing of him and knowing about him to the smallest and minutest of details possible.

Bruce Lee was a dream like man who many aspired to be and the actual existence of Bruce Lee was the proof that if we work hard enough it could become a reality. Bruce Lee for me was like a real life Howard Roark who stepped out of the pages of Ayn Rand's Fountainhead...After "Enter the Dragon" released i too like millions of others in the world ran to join the nearest martial arts school and needless to say after a few sessions I abandoned my dream of becoming Bruce Lee and settled for the less painful art of filmmaking.

But inspite of abandoning Martial Arts my study of Bruce Lee and his thinking continued to create a huge impact on me in various ways which would eventually influence both my life and my films.

Lee said “True understanding of the art of fighting begins when one sheds set patterns, and true freedom of expression in art occurs only when one is beyond systems. Regardless of their many legendary and colourful origins styles are eventually created by living men and hence they should not be taken as a gospel truth. Man, the living creating individual should always be more important than any existing style”.

These words of Bruce Lee made me feel that there is nothing wrong with being different. Being different means being an individual. If I can’t be an individual martial artist atleast let me be an individual human being and an individual filmmaker. “I am all styles and no style”, said Bruce Lee. That’s where my “I am all isms and no ism” in the context of explaining my own ism came from.

Coming to the point I always wanted to make a film on my understanding of what made Bruce Lee such an influence and I finally wrote a script to justify this ambition of mine.