MUMBAI: Six years after Telugu superstar Ravi Teja’s ‘Virkramarkudu’ stormed the boxoffice, news comes from Hyderabad that the makers are all set to do a sequel to the blockbuster.
Interestingly the sequel to ‘Rowdy Rathore’, the Hindi remake of ‘Virkramarkudu’ is also being planned. But at the moment Ravi Teja has an edge, since his director already has an idea for the sequel. The ‘Rowdy Rathor’e team are clueless as to where the sequel goes from here.
Ravi Teja, the topmost leading man of Telugu cinema is suddenly a recognizable face in the Northern belt, thanks to the interest in Ravi’s ‘Virkramarkudu’ the Telugu original superhit version of ‘Rowdy Rathore’. Post the blockbuster status accorded to ‘Rowdy Rathore’, Ravi Teja’s ‘Virkramarkudu’ has been dubbed into Hindi and shown extensively on the Hindi television channels.
Speaking amidst his hectic schedule in Hyderabad Ravi said, “I was shooting for a Telugu film at the Taj Mahal in Agra and there were all these women and children pointing and screaming , ‘Rowdy Rathore’. But I am not really ‘Rowdy Rathore’. I am the guy who did the original version of ‘Rowdy Rathore’ six years ago.”
Ravi Teja has wonderful things to say about Akshay Kumar, but has some quibbles with the remake. “Some of the scenes were done in Prabhu Deva’s style.They were good. Akshay has done a fabulous job with the comedy. When he says I’ve done a better job in the original he’s just being humble. Fact is, he has caught on to the mood of the original and given it his own twist. Ever since Akshay worked with Priyadarshan his sense of comedy has become brilliant.”
However Ravi Teja finds some elements from the original missing in the remake. “Some of the highlights from the original were missing in ‘Rowdy Rathore’. There was this big scene where I fight with the women-folk. That has been done away in the remake. I asked Prabhu Deva about that scene. And he said, ‘Akshay fighting with women would have looked politically incorrect.’ But in the original women loved that scene. Anyway the remake has worked. It’s a blockbuster. And we cannot dispute success.”
Ravi Teja is surprised to know about the plans of a sequel to ‘Rowdy Rathore’. “Really? They’re planning a sequel? My ‘Virkramarkudu’ director Rajamouli and I are also planning a sequel. He has an idea. We’re working on it. Rajamouli is a very hard worker. He is the Aamir Khan of Telugu filmmaking.”
Ravi Teja is open to Bollywood offers. “Arrey yaar, mujhe koi mauqa to de!” says the superstar of Telugu cinema who is known as the Mass Maharaja. “I want to do Hindi films. But a proper one and a good production. I’m even open to multi-starrers because those work better in Bollywood. But it should be with only Bollywood technicians, not the South Indian team. There’s no point to my going to Bollywood if I work with the same artistes and technicians.”
Though Ravi is from Andhra Pradesh he has spent a lot of his formative years in Mumbai and Jaipur. “Hum banjare hain. I’ve struggled a lot to get where I am. I initially got rejected by every producer. But no complaints. I enjoyed each and every moment of the struggle. My first break came in 1997 from Krishna Vamsi and then Puri Jagannadh who is my closest friend. I owe everything I am to him. Our careers have evolved simultaneously.”
Ask him about the pressures of stardom and Ravi Teja quips, “I don’t take myself seriously. Others should take me seriously, I don’t. Zindagi mein yeh karma wohkarna hai yeh phadna hai who phadna nai, none of that for me. I’m happy with whatever comes my way. Basically I believe only in entertainment. Audiences like me doing action and comedy. I am a jovial person from childhood and so I remain. I like to laugh my way through my work. And that attitude reflects in my roles. Even women hate me doing rona-dhona roles. So I don’t do emotional films. I did a fantastic emotional film Autograph. But audiences rejected me in it. They like to see me laughing and fighting. Like Akshay Kumar. I’m often compared with him. I guess our destinies are joined together.”
Ask him how he feels being known as Mass Maharaja Ravi Teja bursts out laughing. “One of my directors named me that. It has stuck. It feels good when fans shout that out.”
Ravi Teja’s wife keeps completely out of his profession. “She is a full fledged housewife. My wife and children never come on my sets. Aisa nahin ki main unhe rok raha hoon. They don’t come. They watch all my films in the movie theatres.”