Basking in the sunshine

GIVE HIM one chance before the first take and one would hear the director yell `OK, good shot' over the megaphone. Well, that's one than the current heartthrob of the Telugu film industry, Raviteja.

After a string of successive box-office hits, the star seems to be in the same place mentally where he was a decade ago--simple, unmoved by stardom and friendly as ever.

Ravi was passionately in love with the silver screen ever since his childhood. In fact, he confessed in an interview with this scribe that he used to spend more time in cinema halls right from his high school days than in the classrooms.

Though he spent most of his childhood and early teenage in Mumbai and Bhopal as his father was a pharmacist who had a transferable job, he moved to films only after settling down in Hyderabad. Ravi is one actor from the present crop of stars who underwent a grind of 10 to 12 years in the industry before becoming a hero, unlike the star sons and star brothers who are hustled into instant stardom. He did odd roles right from small sidey jobs with a screen presence of a few minutes to side-villains whose only role was to get thrashed by the hero. And that's how he learnt the nuances of acting.

"I liked the hard way to the top, as it has given me the right exposure and today I can handle any role with ease. Moreover, I do not believe in acting schools and getting trained by teachers. Acting is one thing that has to come from the bottom of one's heart and it should come spontaneously. I take one film at a time and virtually live with the character till the film is completed,'' says Ravi. His statement is justified by the series of hits he has given in the last two years.

And moreover, he is considered to be one among the most versatile stars in the industry today.

Though he has done many films before, the first film to give him that big break was `Sindooram', which was directed by Krishna Vamsi.

And ever since that break, he has not looked back. It was followed by `Idiot', `Khadagam', `Amma nana oh Tamil ammayee' and `Itlu Sravani Subrahmanyam'. All the films topped the box-office chart, including his present one, `Veede', that is running to full houses.

Ravi is modest about his success and dedicates this to his favourite directors like Krishna Vamsi, Puri Jagannath and Vytla Sreenivas. "I am grateful to them for recognising my talent and giving me the right break at the right time. Puri is more of a friend, philosopher and guide to me than a director,'' says he. Talking about the present trend in Telugu films he says, they are not only healthy but Telugu films have become trendsetters of the film industry in the country. He supports his statement citing the number of remakes by the Hindi filmmakers.

Ravi does not take any film that comes his way for the sake of money. He is very choosy about the storyline and script. "I believe a good film should have a strong script and if that is good I accept the challenge.'' No film personality is complete without having a few matinee idols in the back of his mind.

He is an ardent fan of none other than the big `B' apart from idolizing Chiranjeevi, Mohanlal, Rajnikanth and Govinda.

"I have lost count on how many times I must have seen Sholay and Deewar,'' he admits.

By Sumit Bhattacharjee

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