Parched: Movie Review

Wide Angle is a Films and Books segment at continnect. Here we discuss films and books about women. The segment aims to look at films and books, encourage you to look them up as well, that are about the daily battles, the small wins, the big losses and the immense courage of women from across the world. Prajwal Shali is our Wide Angle segment Editor and she talks about the Indian Film ‘Parched’

The movie follows the journey of 3 women who break away from centuries-old regressive Indian traditions. Writer-Director Leena Yadav’s ‘Parched’ was released in 2015.

Story

Set in India’s western rural landscape ‘Parched’ exposes the dark reality of the Indian villages. The village is a microcosmic reflection of the male dominated Indian society, where women often have subservient and submissive roles. They are exploited emotionally, financially and sexually.

In the movie men are opposed to women’s education and even technology like mobile phones and TV as they will expose women to modernity. The movie is presented through the lives of four women. Rani, 32 (Tannishtha Chatterjee), a widow, is in search of a bride for her son Gulab. She mortgages her house to get him married to a very young Janaki (Leher Khan). Rani hopes her son won’t turn out to be like most of the village men, interested in abusing women or drinking. Rani’s best friend Lajjo (Radhika Apte) longs for a child but is unable to have one and is battered almost every night by her drunk husband. The fourth woman in the movie is Rani and Lajjo’s friend Bijli (Surveen Chawla). Bijli is a dancer with a touring group and a sex worker. She represents the ‘other’ for village women like Rani and Lajjo, a woman who is free from the society’s regressive shackles. Yet we see Bijli is also emotionally and sexually victimised by the society.

Here’s the trailer of the film. The video contains strong language which may be offensive to some viewers and is inappropriate for children

‘Parched’ literally means thirst. There is a thirst, a longing in all the four women. They all desire companionship, passion, love and affection, which they find within each other and what binds these women to each other. And it their love and bond with each other that enables them to break free of the society Despite the dark issues depicted in the movie, ‘Parched’ is vividly shot. The location, colour, costumes and language are vibrant and lively.

Cast & Crew

The movie has some of India’s finest talents working in it. The central women characters Rani, Lajjo, Janaki and Bijili are played by Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Leher Khan and Surveen Chawla. These strong performances are supported by many including Adil Hussain and Sumeet Vyas. Russell Carpenter is the cinematographer of the movie. Carpenter won the Oscar for Best Cinematography for ‘Titanic’ in 1998. The movie won the Stockholm Impact Award at the Stockholm Film Festival in 2015. It also won the Grand Jury and Audience Award at the the Indian Film Festival of LA, 2016.

Director

With a degree in Economic from Delhi’s prestigious Lady Sriram College and diploma in Mass Communications from Mumbai’s Sophia College, Leena Yadav moved on to film editing. She was an editor for several commercials and TV serials. In a career as TV director, spanning over a decade, Leena has produced shows like This Week That Year – for Star Movies, Say Na Something to Anupam Uncle and Sanjeevani. Leena debuted as a mainstream director with ‘Shabd’ in 2005. Her second movie was ‘Teen Patti’ in 2010. ‘Parched’ is Leena’s third movie as writer-director and premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival. She is married to Indian cinematographer Aseem Bajaj.

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