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Vanaja Wins Awards, A Mighty Heart Draws Interest

June 2007
Vanaja Wins Awards, A Mighty Heart  Draws Interest

Rajnesh Domalpalli's Vanaja, the opening film at Atlanta's Film Festival of India last month, continues to rake in awards around the world. Made on a shoe-string budget, this Telugu film about a lower caste girl in rural Andhra was ignored in India, but it has already bagged 13 awards at 50 international film festivals. These include the Best Feature Debut and Best Feature awards, respectively, at the Berlin and Memphis International Film Festivals. Though Domalpalli, like Nagesh Kukunoor, is an engineer-turned-filmmaker based in Hyderabad, he also continues to spend chunks of time in the States, where they both worked in the corporate world for many years.

A Mighty Heart, based on Mariane Pearl's memoir, is a feature film about Daniel Pearl, her husband, a Wall Street Journal bureau chief who was murdered while pursuing a story on terrorism in Karachi, Pakistan. "In his work, Danny struggled to keep free of dogma and alliance," says Mariane Pearl, who was pregnant with their child at the time of his death. "He didn't represent a country or flag, just the pursuit of truth. He was there to hold up a mirror and force people to look at themselves. What better way is there to respect humanity?" Reportedly, since that murder five years ago, almost 230 journalists have been killed in the line of duty.

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