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Vanaja (2006)

 |  Drama  |  31 August 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 364 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 34 critic

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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Title: Vanaja (2006)

Vanaja (2006) on IMDb 7.2/10

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26 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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


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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Official Sites:




Release Date:

31 August 2007 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


$145,927 (USA) (2 November 2007)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Do frogs consider their babies beautiful?
16 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Winning 26 out of the 28 awards it was nominated for, there is no doubt that this film will stand as one of the best of 2007. The fact that it was made with non professionals who were trained to act and dance makes it that much more special.

It is not a Bollywood production, but it is about art. A lower caste girl wants to sing and dance. She wants to move up in society, but there is a limit. Everyone cannot be President in India, there is a caste system, and the narrow minds will not allow it to be breached.

Vanaja (Mamatha Bhukya) quits school at 15 and goes to work for the Landlady (Urmila Dammannagari), who was once an accomplished dancer. After some time working the animals, she is taught to sing and dance. The film is strikingly beautiful with rich color. It is amazing what can be done with $20,000, as this film was a Master's project for the writer director.

The Landlady's son (Karan Singh) returns from America to run for office and is struck by the girl. But, she is lower caste and can only be a vessel for his lust. Things are no better at home as her father drinks and eats and steals her money. She ends up pregnant and has to sell the baby to the Landlady.

In the end, she never rises above her caste, but the story was fascinating and the acting was really good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Vanaja matthew-platt
How good was the dancing? Red-125
Amazing music!! stan-geurts
Awesome Movie... Dae1
Vanaja showing at Tongues on Fire Asian Film Festival, London March 08 tonguesonfire-1
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