Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Today The Stranger Suggests | Okay, Who's the Fag Taking Pic... »

Monday, October 1, 2007

Vanaja vs. Vanaja

posted by on October 1 at 11:53 AM

There was a mistake and two short reviews of Vanaja (mine and Lindy’s) were sent to the film editor, Annie Wagner.

Annie published Lindy’s review:

Fourteen-year-old Vanaja, the fisherman’s daughter, wants desperately to be a dancer—and it looks like she might get her wish, after sassing her way into a job at the rich landlady’s house. But plans are derailed when the landlady’s hot son, Shekar Babu, arrives from America, and youthful flirtation begets grown-up horrors. The sight of bendy, stompy, preternaturally graceful Kuchipudi dancing is worth the price of admission—but it’s Shekar Babu’s beautiful menace (“Sometimes I want to hurt you because… how should I explain? So that I can then protect you”) and Vanaja’s willowy resilience that give the film its heft.

And not my review:

As a work of art, Vanaja’s greatness has nothing to with its story but with the tension that exists between the way it looks and what it is about. Vanaja looks like a Hollywood film, but it’s about an Indian peasant. It looks expensive, but its subject is dirt poor. The amount of the money that went into the cinematography, lighting, and set design does not correspond with the simple life of the villagers, fisherman, and servants. Even the richest person in the film, a woman who teaches the poor girl magnificent dance moves, has a quality of life that does not match the quality of the filmmaking. But the direct conflict between the film’s look (First World) and its story (Third World) generates visual surprises that are more often successful than not. In this film, photographing a poor girl in a chicken coop is a big production.

I will say no more about this matter.

RSS icon Comments


Not an incorrect decision, I think.

Posted by mattymatt | October 1, 2007 12:06 PM

So your saying you missed the point entirely.

Posted by Rotten666 | October 1, 2007 12:11 PM

You were doomed from the moment your embryo DNA first formed with an extra Y chromosome. Dance movies have something that no man can truly grasp intuitively. Hence, your marxists analysis fails to notice the metaphysical link between flesh and cosmos. The poverty of the characters opposes itself with the richness of the movie, but that is because it's these poor creatures build these treasures with their body.
A teenage girl dancing is genuinely richness building through body, albeit in arts. But this process wouldn't be complete in a poor decoration, because the richness produced should have a cosmological scale in order to match the effort that is given by the subject to his treasure-making task.
The subject ought to be poor in the world without the body, and it's its mastering of the body which makes it in position of power towards the world. Yet feminine body is weak, so its power should be outside of the normal powers which wealth symbolize.
The teenage girl, just like any girl in any dance movie, is just a very litteral image of what it is to be a woman. Lynda's review doesn't miss that point, because it is obvious and evident for her (whether consciously or not) whereas yours only grasp a very small part of the problematic.

But I hate journalistic reviews, as they lack both discretion and authenticity, so I still prefer your review by far.

Posted by Mokawi | October 1, 2007 12:46 PM

Do you mean 'versus' rather than 'verses'?

Posted by Matthew | October 1, 2007 2:20 PM

Who is this Linda everyone keeps talking about?

Posted by Meagan | October 1, 2007 2:40 PM

Lindy's a great writer, I hope she gets paid and promoted accordingly.

Posted by Katelyn | October 1, 2007 4:03 PM

One review tells me to expect a run of the mill chick flick.

One review tells me to expect something visually intriguing and unique.

The target demographics are amazingly disparate.

Posted by opticsdoug | October 1, 2007 5:25 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).