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Parched - Bold and beautiful

Written By Indiagreat .in on Sunday, 25 September 2016 | 08:24:00

For the second consecutive week one gets the chance to see a women-centric film from the Bollywood stables.  This time it is a holds no bar narrative on sexuality rights of women.  Exactly half way down the film, the protagonist mother cautions her wayward adolescent son: don’t be in a hurry to grow up as a man, first become a good human being. Such brilliant pieces punctuate this honest storytelling with fluidity and a rawness that makes for some serious soul searching. It is another matter that a crass audience that does not tune to the social relevance and the honest narration. 

In a parched Rajasthan village, we see the lives of three (actually four) women.  All of them are victims of sexual exploitation in one way or the other and all are willing to make a statement about it. Films like ‘Paroma’ (Aparna Sen), ‘Rihaee’ (Aruna Vikas), ‘Ek Baar Phir’ (Vinod Pande), ‘Ek Pal’ (Kalpana Lajmi) have made bold to deal with the theme of women sexuality without having to necessarily deal with sensuality (‘Utsav’).  None, however, have the raw honesty that this film and its maker Leena Yadav brings on board. This is a bold film. This is perhaps a long overdue film which paradoxically seems ahead of its times. 

Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a 30 plus widow fighting hard to take care of her ailing mother-in- law and errant son Gulab (Ridhi Sen). The film starts with her deciding to have him married to Janaki (Leher Khan).  Living a claustrophobic life, she has a spirit yearning for free space and marital life she has been deprived of by her late wayward spouse. There is Lajjo (Radhika Apte) who too is a victim of being constantly battered and bruised by her husband Manoj (Mahesh Balraj) who blames her for not bearing him a child. Then there is the moving tent dancer Bijli (Surveen Chawla) who is also a sex worker belting raunchy numbers to the voyeuristic village deprived of any entertainment. Though Janaki marries Gulab leaving behind her boyfriend, she finds no peace or harmony in her new matrimonial home. She has an unwilling husband who is busy paying regular visits to professional sex workers and a mother-in-law who is yet to come to terms with the fact that she had cut her long hair and had thus become a source of embarrassment to the entire village. 
The four women deal with their deprived sexual expectations in their own way. What threads them together is that three of them are willing to discuss it and talk it out. They continue to suffer. They are unwilling to take the crucial decision that would spell deliverance from social or societal inhibitions. Fortunately this script knoweth the value of a woman scorned and gets to deal with the issue hands on. 


This is a must see film. Do not miss it for anything. It is gender cleansing exercise told with unprecedented honesty. It portrays that women too have a right to cuss words and sexual expectations. Below the belt it can no longer be a man’s world. It strongly advocates for the legitimate space for women not just on the street but even in the bedroom. May be the solutions are over simplified but that is the director’s prerogative and surely finding a solution is not part of the task.

The performances are brilliant. Radhika Apte and Surveen Chawla have roles that women have played for centuries. They give it a new twist and an effervescence that leads not just honesty but a new dimension to the film. Even in compare to their fine performances is the brilliance of Tannishtha Chatterjee in a mind-boggling yet restrained performance. These three ladies remind you of Meena, Nutan and Shabana. Can you believe this! At least to check it out watch ‘Parched’- we after all are parched for good cinema.

Cast : Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Leher Khan and Adil Hussain
Direction : Leena Yadav
Genre : Drama
Thumbs Up: Honesty 
Thumps Down: Nothing really





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