He was born to Raj Gopal Raju and Rajya Lakshmi Bhupatiraju in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India. Teja 's father was a pharmacist and his mother was a homemaker. He is the eldest of three sons, the others being Bharath (died at June 24 2017 in a car accident) and Raghu, who are also actors. Teja spent most of his childhood in Northern India because his father used to move very often due to his work. His schooling was in Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal. Teja completed his schooling at N.S.M. Public School, Vijayawada. Later on he completed his Bachelors in Arts at Siddhartha Degree College, Vijayawada. In 1988 he went to Chennai to start his career in films.
In his early years working in Chennai, YVS Chowdary and Gunasekhar were his roommates. He had small roles in the films Karthavyam (1990), Chaitanya (1991) and Aaj Ka Goonda Raj (1992). Ravi became an assistant director, working in both television and film. As an assistant director, he worked in several Bollywood as well as Telugu projects including Prathihnbandh, Aaj Ka Goonda Raj, and Criminal. He met Krishna Vamsi and worked as an assistant director under him for the 1996 hit film Ninne Pelladutha. Vamsi also gave Ravi the opportunity to act in a small role in that film. He continued to work as an assistant director for a few other films.
In 1997, while still working as an assistant director, Ravi Teja got an opportunity to act in the film Sindhooram directed by Krishna Vamsi as a lead actor. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu.
Ravi Teja followed up with roles in the films Seetha Rama Raju, Padutha Teeyaga, Manasichhi Choodu and Krishna Reddy's Premaku Velayara. In 1999, he was cast in a leading role by Srinu Vaitla for Nee Kosam. The film won the Silver Nandi for Best Film. Ravi Teja won the Nandi Award for Best Actor Special Jury for his performance . Following this, he started appearing in more significant roles such as Krishna Vamsi's Samudram, Chiranjeevi's Annayya and Budget Padmanabham. He also appeared in lead roles in multi-starrer films such as Kshemanga Velli Labanga Randi, Tirumala Tirupathi Venkatesa, Sakuntumba Sapari Vare Sametham and Ammayi Kosam.
In 2001, Teja's association with Puri Jagannadh began when he cast Ravi as the lead role in Itlu Sravani Subramanyam. The movie was a commercial hit and got Ravi Teja credibility as a solo lead actor. In 2002, his next film Avunu Valliddaru Ista Paddaru, directed by Vamsy and co-starring Kalyani was released. The film was a successful at the box office and won Ravi acclaim. The year also saw Ravi in Idiot. Directed by Puri Jagannadh and co-starring Rakshita, it was a blockbuster hit and Ravi's performance and dialogue delivery were praised by critics and movie-goers alike.
The year also saw the release of Krishna Vamsi's Khadgam. The movie was a huge success at the box office and won the Sarojini Devi Award for a Film on National Integration. Ravi's portrayal of a young wannabe actor won him the Nandi Special Jury Award for the second time. In 2003, Ravi again worked with director Puri Jagannadh for Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi. The film co-starring Asin became a blockbuster hit and Jeevi of Idlebrain praised him: "Ravi Teja did well. His strength lies in his dialogue delivery and reckless body language". The year also saw Ravi working in commercially successful films such as Dongodu, co-starring Kalyani and directed by Srinivas Bheemineni and Veede, co-starring Aarthi Agarwal and directed by Ravi Raja Pinisetty. In the same year, Ravi was also seen in films such as Ee Abbayee Chala Manchodu, Anveshana and Oka Raju Oka Rani, which failed to do well at the box office.
In 2004, Ravi Teja co-starred in Venky, directed by Srinu Vaitla. Idlebrain wrote: "His comedy is very good in the first half. His antics with Siddanthi and the way he curses himself in front of the mirror is hilarious". He appeared in Naa Autograph directed by cinematographer turned director S. Gopal Reddy. A critic from nowrunning.com wrote: "Ravi Teja delivers a stunning performance as a dejected lover". Chanti was directed by Sobhan. In 2005, Ravi Teja's work included Bhadra, directed by Boyapati Srinu and Bhageeratha, directed by Rasool Ellore. He also worked in the crime film Shock, directed by Harish Shankar and produced by Ram Gopal Varma.
In 2006, Teja worked with director S. S. Rajamouli for Vikramarkudu. This Film proved to be the highest-grossing film in Ravi Teja's career till then. Jeevi praised his performance: "Vikramarkudu is the best film of Ravi Teja so far in histrionics aspect. He did both characters of Athali Sathi Babu and Vikram Rathod equally well, His mannerism of "jintata" is simply superb". Later in 2006, Ravi Teja acted in Khatarnak. In 2007, Ravi Teja worked for the third time with director Srinu Vaitla for Dubai Seenu. In 2008, Ravi Teja acted in Krishna directed by V. V. Vinayak. In August 2008, Ravi Teja acted in Baladur. Later in that year, Ravi Teja again collaborated with director Puri Jagganath for Neninthe. Although the film was not successful at the box office, Ravi Teja's portrayal of an up-and-coming assistant director in the film received acclaim.
In 2009, Ravi Teja worked with director Surender Reddy for Kick. Later that year, he appeared in Anjaneyulu. In 2010, his films included Shambo Shiva Shambo and Don Seenu, directed by Gopichand Malineni.
His first release in 2011 was Harish Shankar's Mirapakay. He later starred in Ram Gopal Varma's Dongala Mutha and made a cameo appearance in Katha Screenplay Darshakatvam Appalaraju, also directed by Ram Gopal Varma. His last release of the year was Ramesh Varma's Veera.
His first release in 2012 was Gunasekhar's Nippu. His next release was Siva's Daruvu. His next release was Puri Jagannadh's Devudu Chesina Manushulu. His last release in 2012 was Parasuram's Sarocharu Rediff.com wrote: "Ravi Teja is in a different avatar, a more subdued one. A change of image and role is necessary for an actor and Ravi Teja makes the transition fairly well".
His release in 2013 was Gopichand Malineni's action entertainer Balupu. The Times of India wrote "Ravi Teja has come up with an entertaining performance. His characterization and the flashback episode as Kancharapalem Shankar looked very powerful on the screen. He gets into the skin of the character and has done well." The film turned one of the biggest critical and commercial success of the year.
In 2014, he made a cameo appearance in Sairam Shankar's Romeo and Power with debutant director K. S. Ravindra.
In 2015 he starred in Kick 2, directed by Surender Reddy and produced by Nandamuri Kalyan Ram. After this he started a film titled Bengal Tiger, directed by Sampath Nandi. This film grossed nearly ₹40.5 crore (US$6.3 million)s globally and also became the 8th highest grossing Telugu film of the year.
After taking a sabbatical for one year, he started two films Touch Chesi Chudu and Raja the Great (2017).
Ravi Teja was signed in as brand ambassador for Lunar – footwear and sandals in two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. He later endorsed the liquor brand Lord & Master.
Below is a selected filmography of Ravi Teja.