Teja Sajja interview on Ugadi: HanuMan was an eye opener for India, hope my next film makes waves too - Hindustan Times
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Teja Sajja interview on Ugadi: HanuMan was an eye opener for India, hope my next film makes waves too

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
Apr 09, 2024 06:15 AM IST

In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, actor Teja Sajja reflects on the success of HanuMan, talks about his upcoming film, plans for Ugadi and more.

Riding high on the success of superhero film HanuMan and ready to gorge on some delicious Ugadi pachadi (chutney), Teja Sajja is in a good mood. “I am a massive foodie, so I love the festive season. While I won’t get to let myself go all out because I’m shooting for a film, I still look forward to celebrating Ugadi with family,” says the actor candidly. (Also Read: Amit Shah applauds Teja Sajja, Prasanth Varma for ‘commendable job on superhit film HanuMan')

Teja Sajja interview: The actor will soon be seen in an action adventure film that will also star another Tollywood actor.
Teja Sajja interview: The actor will soon be seen in an action adventure film that will also star another Tollywood actor.

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Teja opens up about his festive plans and upcoming work, reflects on the success of HanuMan and more.

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‘I love the Ugadi pachadi’

Every year, numerous Telugu households worldwide prepare a special pachadi made of the first raw mango of the season and other ingredients for Ugadi (the Telugu New Year) and Teja’s home is no different. “I love Ugadi pachadi so much, I would have it all year long if I could. My family whips up a feast for the festival, like every other Telugu home,” says Teja.

Teja Sajja reveals he's a massive foodie, discussing his favourite dishes.
Teja Sajja reveals he's a massive foodie, discussing his favourite dishes.

“I am a massive foodie; given my way, I would eat anything and everything. Between shots, I sit and discuss food with my friends (and co-stars) like Getup Seenu and Satya. There’s just something magical about mudda pappu and pulusu (dal and stew)...” he trails off. “But this Ugadi, I hope that my next film makes waves too, HanuMan continues to get acclaim, and I deliver good films,” he adds.

‘This success can’t change anything for me’

Through the years, Teja might have gone from the little boy in Chiranjeevi’s Indra to the young blood in Samantha Ruth Prabhu’s Oh! Baby to becoming a household name with films like Zombie Reddy and Adbhutham, and finally, a recognised actor nationwide with Prashanth Varma’s HanuMan, with even Home Minister Amit Shah lauding the film's team. Much like his most recent character, Teja is the underdog who reached new heights. But surprisingly, he says nothing much has changed.

Teja Sajja on how HanuMan's success doesn't change much for him.
Teja Sajja on how HanuMan's success doesn't change much for him.

He explains, “This success can’t change anything for me. In the sense that I believe it’s every film for itself, I have to prove myself with my next film. So, it doesn’t make a difference. I have to sustain what I’ve been given.” But prod him that there must be something he enjoys post HanuMan’s success and he admits, “I enjoy that I have a bigger audience now…that I have more credibility. Most importantly, I’ll now have better budgets.”

‘More than the box office, audience’s love satisfied me’

HanuMan might have grossed 330 crore at the box office, emerging as the highest earner in Telugu and the second-highest earner in India this year, but these numbers are just that for Teja. “For me, what gives me more satisfaction is that the film was an eye opener for India; for a non-star hero to do this well, it’s quite rare,” says the actor, adding, “It proves that as long as there’s a great idea, there’s scope for anyone.”

Teja Sajja reflects on the success of his latest superhero film HanuMan.
Teja Sajja reflects on the success of his latest superhero film HanuMan.

And while Teja is happy he has such a blockbuster film in his career, he says, nothing matches the satisfaction he got from watching the film's first show with the audience. “We had a premiere on Thursday evening. I remember the audience staying hooked to every scene. Halfway through the film, I knew we had a hit on our hands. By the time the film was done, I was already worried about what I would do next,” he laughs, adding, “Nothing since has matched the high I felt at that moment.”

‘Kids like me a lot more now’

One would think that with the success of HanuMan, offers must be pouring in for Teja. But the actor claims just the opposite. “I used to listen to at least 20 scripts yearly while shooting for HanuMan (for three years). But now, very few scripts come my way because people hesitate to approach me. It’s good…it means makers understand I’m looking for quality over quantity now. They only want to approach me if they have something exciting,” he says.

Teja is currently shooting for a project that’s yet to be announced. Buzz is that it’s a multi-starrer, I ask. “The film has another Telugu actor playing the antagonist, and I play the lead, so it’s not a multi-starrer,” explains Teja, adding, “My next film too is backed by a grand idea and is an ambitious project; it’s an action-adventure film. I will also be a part of Jai Hanuman (the sequel of HanuMan). The film will be all about Lord Hanuman, but I will be a part of it.”

Teja Sajja wants to continue making films that are family-friendly.
Teja Sajja wants to continue making films that are family-friendly.

Ask him if he’s clear now on what kind of projects he wants to say yes to and he replies, “I noticed that kids like me a lot more now; I feel like they’re my target audience. I want to make exciting films, that families can watch together without feeling conscious of what’s happening on-screen. Romantic films are not at the top of my list right now. Age and time are on my side; I plan to make the most of it. I want to continue making films that leave a mark.”

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