Vanaja is a 2006 Indian Telugu-language drama film written and directed by Rajnesh Domalpalli on a story that constituted his Master of Fine Arts thesis at Columbia University. The film was made on a shoestring budget using a cast of non-professional first-timers for two and a half months.
The film stars Mamatha Bhukya as the title character: a 15-year-old daughter of a poor fisherman set in the backdrop of a rustic state of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. She learns Kuchipudi, a classical Indian dance form, while being employed at a local landlady's house. All seems to be going well for her until sexual chemistry evolves between her and the landlady's son, and this eventually leads her being raped by him. The ensuing pregnancy disrupts her simple life, and she must choose how to deal with the child.
Vanaja was screened at several international festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, among others. It was nominated for the Diesel Discovery Award at the former and won the Best First Feature award at the latter. Beside this, it won several jury prizes at other film festivals, and was nominated for the Best First Feature and Best Cinematography awards at the Independent Spirit Awards. Vanaja found favour with many international critics as well. Roger Ebert ranked it among the five best foreign language films of 2007. It runs for 111 minutes in with subtitles in English.
Vanaja is a former municipality of Finland. It was located in Tavastia Proper about north of Helsinki. It is also speculated that it might have been the name for an Iron Age and early Middle Ages settlement found opposite to the Häme Castle.
Vanaja may mean:
- Vanaja (2006 film), an Indian movie by Rajnesh Domalpalli
- Vanaja (Finland), a former Finnish municipality and Iron Age archaeological excavation
- Vanajavesi, a lake in Finland
- Vanajan Autotehdas, a defunct producer of Vanaja heavy vehicles in Hämeenlinna, Finland