Director Teja who tasted success too early in his career has later delivered flops. He came bac strongly with Rana’s Nene Raju Nene Mantri. But, his last film Sia with Kajal and Bellamkonda Sreenivas was a flop. Meanwhile, Teja shared why he is against directing top stars and shared the secrets behind his starry tantrums.
On his name changed from DharmaTeja to Teja, he joked that, “Dharma must have deserted him as he is doing all adharmas." On his similarities with RGV, he said he wondered whether he think alike RGV or RGV think alike him but both gelled since they think alike.
He revealed that RGV was the first person to invite him for a dinner in Chennai after inquiring about what to do to get a shot of sun rays falling through the window since he worked under cinematographer Ravikant Nagaich.
He said RGV in the Chinese Restaurant proposed that both will do a film as he has experience in cinematography. Teja revealed when he told the same to Rao Gari Illu cinematographer Mahidhar, he remarked, 'vaadiki idi modatido, rendo cinemako panichestunnadu… Anubhavam ledu. Nuvvu camera department lo unnavu. Paiga Hyderabad lo industry kooda ledu'. Teja said however he told him that both will come with a super hit. Mahidhar got angry and told 'Vaadiki anubhavam ledu.. neeku ledu. Meeru superhit teesatara.. Pondi'.
Teja said though RGV offered him cinematographer for Shiva, they settled for Gopal Reddy. Teja designed Shiva posters. Later for Kshana Kshanam, Gopal Reddy turned producer and so they couldn't remove him and so he got chance as a cinematographer for Raatri.
He said Raatri turned Kala Ratri but he got good name as a cinematographer and he went on to do Antam, Money, Rakshana and Teerpu. He said he directed few scenes like bank robbery, chase scenes in Kshana Kshanam when RGV was not available.
He said later he went to Mumbai as he got a call from Aamir Khan who offered him as a script writer in Ashutosh Gowarikar's Baaji. He said he did 30 films in Hindi after that film.
Teja said he was scared to do films with top stars as he doubts whether they will listen or not if he suggests changes. He said in Mumbai they used to listen. He also said he cannot write stories suited for him.
On walking out of NTR biopic, he said he got scared as to whether he can do justice to legend like NTR. He said there were no differences between him and Balakrishna and Balakrishna later enquired what happened but he did not meet or answer him.
Teja differentiating between Bollywood and Tollywood heroes said, “Bollywood heroes are good and friendly. Once I was doing a film with Aamir Khan. There was a big house. Shooting should be shifted to the backside of the house and there was only a small passage and the other side was empty. However from that side it will be roundabout. So we decided to go through the small passage. Aamir used to smoke cigarettes. A light boy was carrying the light and entered the passage and Aamir was smoking obstructing his way. He went to Aamir and told 'Thoda Baaju Khadona Boss'. Amir at once told 'Sorry' and moved aside making way for the light boy. Had the similar incident happened in Hyderabad, shooting would have been cancelled with stars showing their tantrums at light boy asking them to move away.
"Once we were doing a film with Jackie Shroff. I was the cameraman. He should move to the mark told by us and stand there after delivering the dialogue. However he was not coming towards the mark and he was asking us to adjust it. I told 'Why should I adjust. Ask him to stand properly and utter the dialogue’. Despite repeated takes, the shot was not okayed. I went to Jackie Shroff and told 'You should come and stand near the mark properly. You are wasting the time'. He looked at me top to bottom. After the shooting when I was planning to leave in an auto, his makeup man came and told 'Sir dada pilustunnaru'. I was tensed and went into his caravan. I planned to run out of the caravan as the door was open. But the moment I entered, someone closed the caravan. I was scared. Then Jackie Shroff came and told 'Sorry Tejaji.. It will not happen in future. I couldn't concentrate on the work. I am sorry'. Then I understood that they are very good. This was the reason why I am not doing films with top stars here. I did films with Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Amitabh Bachchan and many more. Their dedication is wonderful. I do not say stars here are wrong. But that is Bollywood culture and this is Tollywood style."