Vanaja, the 15 year old daughter of a financially troubled fisherman goes to work in the local landlady's house in hopes of learning Kuchipudi dance. She does well, but when the Landlady's ... See full summary »

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26 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Mamatha Bhukya ...
Urmila Dammannagari ...
Ramachandriah Marikanti ...
Krishnamma Gundimalla ...
Radhamma
Karan Singh ...
Bhavani Renukunta ...
Lacchi
Krishna Garlapati ...
Ram Babu
Prabhu Garlapati ...
Yadigiri
Ram Babu Tarra ...
Yagnesh
Veeramma Sadula ...
Padma
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Storyline

Vanaja, the 15 year old daughter of a financially troubled fisherman goes to work in the local landlady's house in hopes of learning Kuchipudi dance. She does well, but when the Landlady's son returns from the US, what begins as innocent sexual chemistry turns ugly, ending in a rape - a rape of a minor. Set in rural South India, a place where social barriers are built stronger than ancient fort walls, the film explores the chasm that divides classes as a young girl struggles to come of age. Written by Anonymous

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Drama

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31 August 2007 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,771 (USA) (31 August 2007)

Gross:

$145,927 (USA) (2 November 2007)
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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
An extraordinary film!
17 October 2007 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Vanaja (2006), written and directed by Rajnesh Domalpalli, is an extraordinary film from South India. Mamatha Bhukya plays 15-year-old Vanaja, who lives in a rural area with her loving but alcoholic father. If she is going to succeed in life, she will have to overcome the liabilities of low caste and poverty.

I went to the film expecting the depiction of a wretched girl who is crushed by society. This isn't what "Vanaja" shows us. The young woman is attractive, intelligent, and ambitious. She won't accept her fate with tears or simple resignation. She wants to succeed, and it's never clear that she won't succeed, despite the odds.

The acting that Mr. Domalpalli draws forth from his cast of amateurs is miraculous. Mamatha Bhukya is outstanding in the title role, and Urmila Dammannagari does an exceptional job as Mrs. Rama Devi, the wealthy landowner who is a formerly famous classical dancer.

In the film Vanaja learns South Indian classical dance, as she did in real life. I couldn't tell how good Vanaja's dancing was by Indian standards, but the many dance scenes were spellbinding. (Don't think Bollywood--this is classical dance. It's also very different from ballet, because in ballet the dancer lifts her heels away from the floor. In South Indian dance, the heel is the primary contact point.)

This is a movie that is not to be missed. It will work on DVD, but will be better on a theater screen because the dancing will be shown to better advantage. However, if DVD is your only option, then see it that way. Just be sure to see it.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How good was the dancing? Red-125
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