Friday, 2 February 2018

Ravi Teja interview: ‘Touch Chesi Choodu’ and why he prefers ‘entertaining’ movies



Ravi Teja is a ball of energy, but a man of few words. It might sound like a paradox, but it couldn’t be more true, every time he begins talking about his work.


Sample this; At a recent interaction with the media when he was asked about the difference between his style of humour today compared to what he done a decade ago, his reply is terse at best. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m sure you know it,” he says. The awkward pause following his statement is broken by a wide grin from the actor, who moves on to the next question.

Yet, you can’t get over his unique sense of humour that has enthralled the audience for several years now. And he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

In his upcoming film Touch Chesi Choodu, the actor plays a cop for the umpteenth time in his career. He had done it earlier in Venky, Vikramarkudu, Power, and also played an undercover cop in Mirapakay, Khatarnak to name a few.

In his recent film, Raja The Great, in which he played a visually-challenged person, his character (Raja) aspires to become a police officer. This obsession with playing a cop doesn’t seem to end anytime soon. What more, Ravi Teja confesses that he hasn’t grown tired of it. “Most of the roles that I’ve played so far (as a cop) have been kind of serious in nature. But in ‘Touch Chesi Choodu’, I’m playing someone who’s very witty and sarcastic. Although it’s also a serious character who’s duty-minded, there will be lots of fun,” he assures.


Having said that, the actor abides by a simple rule that has been, sort of, a guiding force in his career. “I don’t think about the past. I only try to focus on what I’ve at the moment. Besides, I don’t believe in planning. You just have to do what you feel is right,” he opines. Ask him if anything has changed in his career over the years, the actor confesses, “In the beginning, I don’t think I took my career so seriously. Now, the stakes are high and naturally, I have a lot more responsibility on my shoulders.” Interestingly, he also says that he fears nothing and he has nothing to lose now.

Yet, there’s always a catch, which explains why his range of choices, at least in recent times, haven’t been so bold so to speak. “Whatever (film) I choose, I make sure that it’s entertaining because that’s what is working for me. There was a time when I did some really good films like ‘Autograph’ and ‘Nenithe’; however, none of them worked at the box-office. Maybe they would have worked well (at the box-office), if they had released now. That’s the reason why I give so much importance to humour in all my films.”

Talking about humour, Ravi Teja opines that his films, even though he plays similar hyper-energetic roles, vary depending on the director’s sensibilities. “Anil Ravipudi’s sensibilities are different from those of Vikram Sirikonda; Harish Shankar has a different approach compared to Sampath Nandi. All of them understand what my style of humour is like and it’s a collaborative effort. Thankfully, I haven’t gotten bored of what I do because the young directors today are coming with some really cool ideas. It’s an encouraging sign for the industry.”


The actor is all praise for Touch Chesi Choodu director Vikram Sirikonda, who was a former associate of VV Vinayak, and had also worked as a screenwriter for Ravi Teja starrer Mirapakay.

“Vikram came to the industry to become a director and he worked with the likes of VV Vinayak and Raghava Lawrence. I was supposed to work with him for another story; however, that didn’t work out. Thankfully, he took up a script written by ‘Vakkantham Vamsi’ and he approached the story in his own way. You’ll see a different side of my acting persona with this film and full credit to Vikram. Both my co-star Raashi Khanna and Seerat Kapoor have done a wonderful job.”

Interestingly, Ravi Teja is one of the most popular Telugu actors in the hinterlands of North India. Nearly all his films that released in the past few years were dubbed in Hindi, and thanks to multiple telecasts on SET Max, Sony TV network and other TV channels, the actor has found a new legion of fans in places as far as Darjeeling.


Recalling a funny incident when he was filming for Raja The Great, Ravi Teja says, “I was stunned when several people in Darjeeling recognised me while I was filming there. That’s when I realised the reach that Telugu films (dubbed in Hindi) had in all these markets. They seem to be loving our brand of commercial entertainers.”

On the contrary, the actor admits that he has no specific plans to cater to this market in near future. “The market for Telugu films has increased, thanks to Rajamouli and his films like ‘Eega’ and ‘Baahubali’. If I get an offer to act in a Hindi film, I will consider it, but at the moment, I’ve lot of work to focus on in Telugu,” he says.

It goes without saying that no one has ever been able to emulate his style of dialogue delivery or comic timing. Be it his style in Venky or Mirapakay, Ravi Teja’s brand of comedy has been one of the most popular phenomena for close to 18 years now.

“You know what? No matter what the script is or dialogues are, a lot of things are improvised on the set because comedy is all about getting the timing right. If you liked some of the stuff that I have done, then it’s the result of that last-minute improvisation,” he quips. The wide grin is proof enough of a popular belief when it comes to Ravi Teja - There’s absolutely no difference between his onscreen and off-screen persona.

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