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Teja (director)

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Teja at a shoot in the Maldives in 2011
Jasti Dharma Teja[1]

(1966-02-22) 22 February 1966 (age 56)
Years active1985–present

Teja (born Jasti Dharma Teja; 22 February 1966) is an Indian cinematographer turned director and screenwriter, known for his work primarily in Telugu cinema.[2][3] He ventured into direction with hits such as Chitram, Nuvvu Nenu, Jayam and Nijam.[2][3] He has garnered several state Nandi Awards, and Filmfare Award for Best Director – Telugu for Nuvvu Nenu.[4]

Teja debuted as cinematographer with Ram Gopal Varma's 1992 bilingual film Raat, for which he won Nandi Award for Best Cinematography.[5] As a cinematographer, He is known for his works in films such as Baazi, Ghulam, Sangharsh, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain, Krodh, Krishna, Shastra, Rakshak, Money, Tere Mere Sapne, and Vishwavidhaata.[6][7][8][9] Teja also worked as a crew member in films such as Kshana Kshanam, Rangeela, Drohi, Antham, Gaayam, and Govinda Govinda.[10]

Early life[edit]

Teja was born on 22 February 1966 in Madras (now Chennai) of Tamil Nadu in an affluent family.[11] His father J.B.K. Chowdhary was an industrialist and exported, based primarily in Tokyo, Japan. Chowdhary suffered heavy losses in his business which forced Teja to start working at an early age.[12]

Teja identifies himself as anti-caste, anti-religion, and anti-region. He has legally dropped his surname for the same reason.[1]


Teja in 1994, shooting for Bollywood film, Ghulam

Teja doing any work he could get, ended up working in Tamil film shoots as a lighting assistant.[citation needed] After working in lighting and sound departments he moved into the camera department and worked under Ravikant Nagaich, and W.B. Rao. He then took up assignments for documentaries presented in National Geographic Channel.[13] He then joined the bandwagon of Bollywood.[14]

Working as cinematographer, Teja used to frequently schedule Hindi film shoots in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh as to spend more time with his wife and son. Many schedules were planned in Ramoji Film City. Chitram, Teja's directorial debut was planned entirely in Ramoji Film City on budget of forty lakh rupees. The film became a huge hit and paved way for a variety of new age romantic films in Tollywood.[15] Teja gained notability post the release of Nuvvu Nenu,[16] an all-time blockbuster and that year's highest grosser.[17] The film received six Nandi Awards and had a total run of three seventy five days.[18] The film was also remade in Hindi starring Tushar Kapoor and Anita Hassanandani.[19][20][21]

Teja's next film was Nijam, was released in 2003 starring Mahesh Babu and Rakshitha in lead roles. Nijam was a low grosser at the box office but gained critical appraise. In the following year, Teja made Jai.[22] Actor Navdeep debuted with the film, he was paired with Santhoshini and Ayesha Jhulka. It was dubbed in Tamil as Jairam. The film had an average run in both the languages.

Teja later directed Dhairyam and Avunanna Kadanna, simultaneously. Halfway through Dhairyam's shoot, Teja dropped the project stating that the producer, N. Sudhakar Reddy, Nithiin's father, had changed and edited a part of the film without his consent. Teja returned his remuneration, arranged a press meet, and declared that he had nothing to do with the film. Dhairyam failed at the box office, whereas Avunanna Kadanna had a seventy-five-day run and was declared a hit.[23][24]

Film distribution[edit]

Teja also set up Chitram movies distribution offices in Hyderabad and Vizag. He distributed films such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and many others in Nizam and other districts.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Aurov Teja, Teja's younger son, died of prolonged illness in Hyderabad on Saturday, 19 March 2011.[26] Aurov had been suffering from breathing problems and cerebral palsy, caused by faulty medical procedures followed by the hospital at the time of birth. The baby was taken to Beijing, China, New York, United States and Berlin, Germany for medical treatment. On the morning of 19 March 2011, the baby's condition deteriorated and was pronounced dead at 12:11 local time. [27][28][29]


As a writer, director or producer[edit]

Year Film Director Story Screenplay Dialogues Producer Language Notes Ref.
2022 Ahimsa Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2019 Sita Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2017 Nene Raju Nene Mantri Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2015 Hora Hori Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2013 Veyyi Abhadalu Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2012 Neeku Naaku Dash Dash Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2008 Keka Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2006 Lakshmi Kalyanam Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
Oka `V` Chitram Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu [30]
2005 Avunanna Kaadanna Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
Dhairyam Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2004 Jai Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2003 Nijam Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
Sambaram Yes Telugu
2002 Jayam Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
Pitaah Yes Yes Yes Hindi
2001 Yeh Dil Yes Yes Yes Yes Hindi
Nuvvu Nenu Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
Family Circus Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu
2000 Chitram Yes Yes Yes Yes Telugu

As a cinematographer[edit]

Year Film Language Notes Ref.
2000 Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain Hindi
1999 Sangharsh Hindi
1998 Ghulam Hindi
1997 Vishwavidhaata Hindi
1996 Prem Hindi Special Thanks
Tere Mere Sapne Hindi
Raja Hindustani Hindi
Rakshak Hindi
1995 Baazi Hindi
The Don Hindi
Money Money Telugu
1994 Theerpu Telugu [31]
1993 Rakshana Telugu
Money Telugu
1992 Drohi Hindi
Antham Telugu
Raatri Hindi
Raat Hindi Debut as cinematographer


  1. ^ a b "విజయ తేజ హాసం". Andhra Jyothi (in Telugu). 19 August 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Hero Prince indebted to director Teja - BeyondTollywood - News, Reviews, Gallerys, Wallpapers, Trailers, Videos, Lyrics". 3 September 2013. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b "RK's Open Heart with director Teja". 10 May 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ 25CineFrames (30 July 2013). "Director Teja Approached Nagma For His Next Film". 25CineFrames.
  5. ^ P Sai Swaroop. "Director Teja Comments On Mahesh Babu". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  6. ^ "I am indebted to director Teja: Prince". 31 August 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Director Teja offers a role to Nagma". ApNewsCorNer.Com. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  8. ^ Sheela Panicker (27 November 2009). "Director Teja in Search of New Teenage Face for his forthcoming film 'ATU ITU'". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Teja: Our heroes know nothing about story". AP NEWS LIVE. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Director Teja Speaks About His Movie 1000 Abaddalu Telugufilmnagar " - Telugu Video News". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  11. ^ Kala, Surya (22 February 2021). "Happy Birthday Director Teja : చిత్రం, నువ్వునేను, జయం వంటి సినిమాలతో ట్రెండ్ సెట్ చేసిన దర్శకుడు తేజ పుట్టిన రోజు నేడు". TV9 Telugu (in Telugu). Retrieved 21 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ Vattikuti, Chakravarthy. "నాలుగంతస్తుల నుంచి నడిరోడ్డు మీదకు..." Eenadu. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Down — but not out". The Hindu.
  14. ^ "Saavn - Hindi Songs Free Download, Old, Latest, New, mp3, Bollywood Music, Online". Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Director Teja's movie with newcomers". Sify. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  16. ^ "Tejas Keka in Tamil - Telugu Movie News". 22 October 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Director Teja — AP NEWS LIVE". AP NEWS LIVE. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Director Teja - Still 8 - 1000 Abaddalu". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Director Teja in Open Heart with RK - 6th May". ManaTeluguMovies. 7 May 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Teja lost his sync with Tollywood?". Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Teja Love Flick Movie - Teja New Movie - Sri Productions New Movie - Teja New Movie Selections - Teja New Movie Artistes Selections -". Telugu Film News - Telugu Movie Ratings - Telugu Film Reviews - Telugu Movie News - Telugu Movie reviews - Tollywood Latest News.
  23. ^ "Director Teja turns to Comedy Movies". 2 November 2013. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  24. ^ "Naughty Speech by Director Teja at 1000 Abaddalu Press Meet". 2 November 2013. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  25. ^ "Director Teja To Direct Under Sri Productions Banner Again". The Hans India.
  26. ^ "Latest News Archives - Reviews, Movie Rating, News, Censor Talk". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  27. ^ "Teja falls prey to credit card cheat". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Director Teja Opens Up On 'Weakness'".
  30. ^ "Oka Vichitram - Oka 'V' Chitram press meet". Idlebrain. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  31. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Theerpu Full Movie | ANR, Jagapati Babu, Aamani | Uppalapati Narayana Rao | M M Keeravani". YouTube.

External links[edit]