The story of Vanaja was Domalpalli's project submission in his first semester at Columbia University in the Fall of 2001. The story was inspired by a child's scream at being separated from her mother in the film, Sophie's Choice. Over the next three semesters, however, it veered away from his original intent about mother-child separation, towards a study of what Domalpalli later described as, "elements of class distinction and conflict that continue to infuse our society and culture even today." He also said that the film was about "fading institutions of folk art, old buildings that are collapsing, things which we should be protecting - that are a part of our heritage." Referring to preservation of Indian culture and heritage, he said that he took the film to be an opportunity to emphasize the Indian folk arts.
Vanaja went on to win 24 international awards at major film festivals including the Best First Feature award at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival.. In 2008, it was also nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards: for Best First Feature and Best Cinematography.
The Toronto International Film Festival: reflecting on the films of oppressed women: gone but not forgotten.(women and media)
Jul 01, 2007; The Toronto International Film Festival, the largest film festival in the world, celebrated its 31st anniversary from September 7...