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Set in rural South India, a place where social barriers are built stronger than fort walls, Vanaja explores the chasm that divides classes as a young girl struggles to come of age.
Vanaja (Mamatha Bhukya) is the 14 year-old daughter of a poor, low caste fisherman, struggling with dwindling catches and mounting debt. When a sooth-sayer predicts that she will be a great dancer one day, she goes to work in the house of the local landlady, Rama Devi (Urmila Dammannagari), in hopes of learning Kuchipudi dance while earning a keep.
Sexual chemistry is ignited between her and the landlady's son, but the situation suddenly turns ugly when Vanaja s superior intellect pits her against him in a public incident which ultimately humiliates him in front of his mother. Matters escalate, spiraling downwards and she is pitched into a tale of class, family and animus from which there is only one escape.
Top 5 Foreign Films of 2007 "Beatuful and heart-touching film from India, represents a miracle of casting... Domalpalli tells his story with tender precision, and never an awkward moment" --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, 20th Dec 2007.
"Absolutely Timeless" - New York Times
"Auspicous Debut.. makes you eager for Domalpalli's next work" - Newsweek
"A film that touches the heartstrings" - Variety
"This is a movie exotic in look but recognizable in truth, the venture of a novice filmmaker very much ready for prime time" - LA Times
"If Domalpalli keeps this up, he might become something new for movies - a discreet combination of Satyajit Ray and Douglas Sirk" - Boston Globe
"Meet bright-eyed Vanaja.. possessed of a spirit as large and a smile as wide as the Indian Ocean" - --Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Sublime Direction... Wonder Filled Film" --San Francisco Chronicle, 5th October, 2007
Vanaja, this is a well thought and real life depiction of a young girls life. While that might be a bit less than positive, it is real. I enjoyed the honesty conveyed in the movie.Published 2 months ago by lucipearl
Unique and appealing vision of a fading part of Indian culture. Loved the choreography. Mamatha Bhukya is a delight to watch. Excellent directing. Worth owning.Published 6 months ago by Cherokee Sky
The characters are so vivid and pictures and colors are quite bright that it doesn't look like a debutante movie.Published 15 months ago by Sathish
Got a defective DVD so was unable to play it on any of 3?DVD players or the two computers I tried. I bought it on the promise in the marketing messages but the product was... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Old Hand at Tech
For those who are taken by rhythms of India, it's daily cares and challenges, and for those who love dance, this movie astounds with a beauty natural and deep. Read morePublished on August 22, 2013 by charles vega
Enjoyed the dance pieces but the acting was subpar and inexperienced. I also didn't appreciate the demeaning portrayal of women and young girls in this movie, as if there was no... Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by NWSteph83
Wish it was in Hindi, but, thank goodness for english subtitles. Vanaja has it's own flavour. I like it. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by Syra