Journalists covering the release of VANAJA
can RSVP for one of the listed press screenings by emailing Gitesh Pandya at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Interview opportunities with director Rajnesh Domalpalli are also available.
Official site: www.VanajaTheFilm.com
After winning a remarkable 15 awards from over 60 film festivals around the world, the acclaimed film VANAJA will begin its theatrical run in the United States on August 31 when it opens in New York City at Cinema Village. Winning more film festival awards than any other Indian film in 2007, the coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl in rural South India will then open in Los Angeles and Chicago on September 14 and will debut in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Austin on September 21. VANAJA
will continue to expand across the country with openings in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and other cities.
Winner of the Best Feature Debut award at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, VANAJA
has won over audiences and critics alike during its highly successful festival tour which took it to countries such as Australia, China, South Africa, Norway, Chile, France, Egypt, and Thailand.
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.
She is hired as a farmhand, and her vivacious ways and spunk soon catch the landlady's eye: when she is entrusted with tending the chicken, she's caught, instead, chasing them into a general pandemonium, and lying unabashedly to conceal her pranks. To keep her out of trouble, Rama Devi promotes her to a kitchen underhand, where she comes up against the old, crusty and extremely loyal Radhamma (Krishnamma Gundimalla) - Rama Devi's cook.
It isn't long before Vanaja gets herself invited to play a game of ashta chamma against Rama Devi. Seeing that losing isn't the mistress's forte, Vanaja deliberately gives up her game - a fact that doesn't go unnoticed - and which eventually secures her the landlady's mentorship - first in music, and then in dance. Vanaja excels at the art, and seems to be on a steadily ascending path when Shekhar (Karan Singh), Rama Devi's 23 year old son - handsome, muscular and rather insecure, returns from the US to run for local political elections.
Sexual chemistry is ignited between Shekhar and Vanaja (still a minor at 15), as flirtation and innuendo bloom. But, the situation suddenly turns ugly when Vanaja's superior intellect pits her against Shekhar 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.