“Teja ” a film director of the Telugu film industry whose complete name is Dharma Teja and the surname is not known to any one as he claims to be an anti to caste system and hence he removed the surname from the records in the very early age.
Teja was born in Madras city of south India on 22-02-1966. His life took so many cinematic twists by throwing him from palace to the roads in the early child hood and then to a famous film director.
BIGGER ACHIEVEMENTS: Teja made a whole movie named “Chitram” in “Ramoji Film city” ( a film studio in HYD) with the budget of APP Rs.70 lakhs which is relatively low budget to make a film of good content and qualified actors.
He made a best use of the locations and resources in the film city ( the movie was produced by the Owner of the Film city Ramoji Rao) and Introduced new actors as lead pair.
80% of acting crew in the film were new to the film career and hence demanded no high remuneration. The movie went to be a biggest hit and collected 10 times more than the money invested by the producer.
The lead actor of the movie was young “Uday Kiran ” who went on to be biggest star in the Telugu cinema with unbeaten craze among youth in the following years.
The Director “Teja” , the lead actor “Uday Kiran” and the music Director ” R.P.Patnaik , the trio teamed up once again in 2002 for their second movie ” NUVVU NENU” which went to be one of the biggest hits in the history of Telugu cinema which made the Lead actor ” Uday Kiran” a star hero over night.
Director Teja was born to JBS choudhary a rich and noted business man in Madras in those early 1960’s. His family was in to exports and imports business and was very famous Telugu family in the city of Madras.
Due to some unknown circumstances his mother who used to play significant role in the business passed away and the business organisation collapsed. It soon followed by the death of his father which made him and his sisters to get on to the streets. His sisters took shelters at his uncles places and Teja ran away from one of his uncles as he felt being exploited by his family by making him do house hold works through out the day.
He ran away from the house at the early age and did all sort of child labor works such as Lorry cleaner, car wash, selling drugs, marijuana etc.
In one of the interviews with the famous journalist RK, Teja mentions about his unforgettable nights where he and his friends on street had to run away in order to protect from the night shift police who use to sexually assault young boys who sleep on the streets. He quoted that the homo policemen wantedly will request for night patrolling duties and will start harassing the little boys on the roads.
Later on his fate changed when he joined as a servant under a Camera man “Ravi kant Nagaich” . He gradually learnt the photographic skills and rose to the level of assistant photo grapher and started exposing his talent and gained a little attention by the fellow folks in the film industry and was awaiting to get a chance to become a “camera man”.
One fine day his fate changed when he met the young “Ram gopal verma” who was about to start his career’s first movie and a trend setter “SHIVA” . Ram was keen to know to some tricks in capturing the scenes in new angles and making them look technically better. Teja could give him ideas about capturing the sunlight passing through a ventilator in multiple angles and this impressed young Ram who asked him to join him in the making of Shiva.
Thus , teja had to leave Madras and left for Hyderabad and started working for Shiva by staying in the house of Ram gopal verman. He was paid Rs.1500 per month but didn’t get a chance as a photographer but the assistant director of Ram who made the epic movie of Telugu film industry “Shiva”.
Teja impressed the film unit heads such as Akkineni Venkat who is brother of Akkineni Nagarjuna and son of yesteryear super star Akkineni Nageshwar rao and the director Ram by making the film logos and posters in a complete new look and in contrast to the tradition which is being followed by all other film industry. The posters till then used to have Yellow back ground in an understanding that the poster would be clearly seen from far by public but our Teja has introduced the posters in Red back ground with an image of lead actor carrying the cycle chain.
This impressed the director and Ram and the success of the Movie “Shiva” has made this pair to continue working together for their next movies like Ratri. money money, Kshana kshanam etc.
While working for these movies with Ram , he got opportunity as photographer to capture few scenes in the absence of Cameramen. Worked as Assistant director /part time cameraman but for the movie “Ratri” he worked as Cameraman which bagged him the prestigious Andhra Pradesh state Award called ” Nandi” as best cameraman for that year.
Raat is dubbed version of “Raatri” which was made in Telugu and simultaneously dubbed in Hindi.
While working in Mumbai Teja had to come often to Hyderabad to visit his Family, once he had to come across situation where in his own two year old son was not able to recognize him sitting next to him in the car and was kicking him to get out of the car, then he decided to shoot most of the movies /Advertisements in Hyderabad as he realised how his kids are missing him.
Then in order to justify his decision of selecting Hyd for most of his movie songs or Ads for shooting, Teja was in search of good locations in and around the city. Then, the majestic RFC studio grabbed his attention as he felt it was huge with lot of resources but was not being used by many film directors. He started shooting many of the songs in RFC.
While working for a shoot of the song in which Big B Amitabh was the lead pair, the head of RFC Mr. Ramoji rao visited the spot to appreciate the camera man “Teja” but Teja being ignorant of the fact that the visited man was the chairman of “Eenadu group” and RFC (owned Etv network across India then), he didn’t acknowledge him much as he was busy in shooting.
Later when he realised that it was a big shot who came to meet him , he walked in his office at Eenadu building at Somajiguda and had few words. Then the master mind of Ramoji asked the efficiency of RFC studio to be called as the best, then Teja replied that an entire movie can be shot in the RFC studio and that is the caliber of the place. Then, Mr.Ramoji curiosly said that if this is the fact, then the movie cost go down and asked what could be the invest of a movie if it is made entirely in RFC. Teja immediately replied “Rs.60 lakh” which shocked Ramoji and asked to make a movie for him for that amount and that is how Teja got an opportunity to direct his first movie ” CHITRAM” the picture, which is a immatured love story based on it’s wrong effects.
This brilliant man is famous for introducing so many young talents who later on went to become bigger stars and the list goes as :
For most recent Teja’s Interview you can watch this video.
In this process of introducing new talents to the industry, Teja become so popular and attracted many young teens who wanted to get an acting chance. Thousands use to wait in front of his office every day holding the files of their selfie pics and few went on to attempt suicide if the chances were not given.
Teja initially had to take the help of police to control the candidates who use to trouble him at his office and home for roles in his movies.
CONTROVERSIES : Teja was in the news about slapping few of the actors in the set when they troubled him in delivering the performance which he expects as a director. Teja later on agreed that he hit couple of actors to make them understand what it takes to be a movie actor for the crew in the set and the crowd who used to stand at his office and home every day for the roles and also some times to create sensation for the movie to get publicity.
He is famous for being good at heart for the team who worked with him and delivered good results, when the movie Jayam went on to be a big hit under his own production ” Chitram movies” he gifted plots to all the important members of the crew with the profits he made.
This pissed off few of the producers in film industry as he was creating new system where in producers have to share the profits with the crew instead of filling their own pockets.
Director Teja and Chadalavada Srinivas rao controversy : Teja lost his second son due to ill health who was on bed for few months and at the moment , he need huge amount but due to the situation he could not concentrate on work. He spent lot of money for the treatment and for the better treatment he was asked to take his son to Germany which made him to sell the house to “Chadhalawada srinivasa rao” but Teja claimed that this guy dramatically took the signatures on the agreement but didn’t pay the amount and due to which he could not take his son for advance treatment and finally lost him in few days.
He says this to be a drastic situation in his life and claims Mr. Chadalawada to be responsible for his son’s death as per the Interview he gave to ABN ANDHRA JYOTHI channel.
Multiple Criminal cases were filed against him by ” Chadalawada Srinivasa Rao” who claimed to own his house but the local court had dismissed all the cases in short time as it was proved that Teja didn’t get the amount he was supposed to be paid by Srinivasa Rao.
Teja Directed movies:
Family circus (2001)
Nuvvu Nenu (2001)
Lakshmi Kalyanam (2007)
Avunanna Kadhanna (2005)
Veyyi Abadhhalu 2014
Neeku naaku dash dash2013
Samba ram (Directed by Dasharath)
Teja after working for the movie “Hora Hori” with the new actors is likely to pair up with ” Kamal Haasan” the south Indian star in the movie with Rain as special effects through out the movie.
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