May 08, 2009, Y.Sunita Chowdhary
At a set in Ramanaidu Studios, choreographer Raju Sundaram screams cut and asks Ravi Teja for another take. This time the actor gets it right, he then rushes to the monitor for a dekko. Satisfied, he flashes a smile and settles for a break as his stylist indulgently sets his streaked hair right. Ravi Teja is eighteen years old in the industry but what we love is the effortlessness he brings to all his roles.
In Puri Jagan's Neninthe he essayed with amazing ease the complex role of an assistant director whose only dream is to direct a film. The film crashed at the box office but Ravi Teja says given a chance he would do Neninthe once again, "Just like Na Autograph, this one too is close to my heart. Jagan once came to the sets of Ninne Pelladutha and after a long hunt for a hero for his subject he was enraged and pointed out at me and said one day he'll make me a hero. He knows my struggle to stardom." The actor claims that 99% of Neninthe is a faithful recreation of recorded facts of strugglers in the film industry.
The actor agrees that a mixed response to meaningful film is an occupational hazard. Sometimes a very good subject that one has pinned hopes on becomes a flop and sometimes a superficial script is labeled as a feel good entertainer with a just sufficient core of sanitised reality to make it worth discussing beyond the usual acting, music, humor and star power rating game. Ravi Teja adds, "True, but bottom line is irrespective of all that, entertaining people is my priority. One single line compliment that comes from people like – 'I enjoyed your film', makes my day, I don't need anything else."
Ravi feels he doesn't believe in working on scripts and story sessions that go on endlessly for months together. If he likes the plot he tells his director to go on from there and develop it, and most of the time he never refuses a film because all the directors who approach him know what role and subject suits him the best. He says he has high regard for the film industry and terms artistes as sensitive people who do no harm, "Industry lo durmaargulu undarandi!"
He says he has an aversion for lazy, slow and aimless people. Also he cannot stand people who indulge in loose and malicious talk. He'd prefer to move around with a sensible person, even if he is the only one around. Has he envied anyone in the industry? Never, he says and adds that there are times when he was hurt when he lost a particular role by a whisker to another hero and felt that he could have done a better job. That is simple confidence, but he always felt happy if the role went to a deserving artiste.
Did he refuse to work with Krishna Vamsi when the director was going through a low patch? He quips, "Never. Krishna Vamsi is one man who recognized me as an actor when people still had inhibitions about my work. There were certain misunderstandings but that is all over. I'm close to all the directors, most of us are contemporaries and we share great vibes."
Ravi Teja has a niche audience. The speed with which he speaks, his tongue-in-cheek dialogues, the naughty and good for nothing and street smart characters which retain the sincere, even affecting quality at key moments continue to draw repeat audiences. He however is never seen celebrating his birthdays or mingling with his fans. He questions, "There are guys who come for my autographs without slippers. Antha Avasarama? I tell them not to waste money and study, build a career, a future. I am what I am, I find it uncomfortable to hold a mike, give endless discourses, and distribute cheques while the media takes my photographs. It's just not me. Watch my films, have fun but end it there."
Kick starring Ravi Teja and Ileana is releasing today and the actor is already busy with Anjeneyulu. He refuses to divulge details of the film and says would prefer to talk after its release. In Anjeneyulu which is currently on the sets he plays an employee of a TV channel. After a grinding day's work he prefers to run home to his family. Mokshada his daughter two and a half years old, Mahadhan his son wait to play with him and his better half keeps him grounded. The family is complete.