Leena Yadav’s “Parched”

Leena Yadav’s movie about the bonded lives of three women was premiered during 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

“Try to become a human before you become a man” yells Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) to her 15-year old son Gulab (Riddhi Sen).

Gulab’s frustration towards his young wife, Janki (Lehar Khan), who is still a child when they were married only a year ago, is not just because he is arrogant. Having lost his father at a very young age and the acquaintances, per whom, the definition of manhood is how restricted is the wife of the home and kitchen. As the movie progresses, this gang of youngsters beats up Kishan (Sumeet Vyas), who is, unfortunately, the only male character in the movie who strives for the empowerment of downtrodden women.

Rani is friends with Bijli (Surveen Chawla) who is a prostitute and sleazy dancer that visits the village as a part of dancing troop along with Raju (Chandan Anand). Raju might be leading the troop but he is the most innocent character in the entire movie. His admiration towards Bijli, despite her antics as a prostitute, speaks a ton about being able to accept the women as is. It is the character that struggles a lot in the movie to move the needle positively.

The most charming character in the movie is Lajjo (Radhika Apte). I am searching desperately to find an adjective to describe her skillset and the performance in this movie. She is just brilliant in this movie. She steals the show in this movie – she is a fighter, she is a friend, she is a lover, she is a revolutionist, she is innocent, she is just brilliant. Lajjo is the dearest friend to Rani. She is Barren (as referred to multiple times in this movie as someone who cannot bear children). She gets hit by her husband every night and she seeks the comfort of her friend, Rani.

There is even a scene in the movie where she goes semi-naked but what you observe are not the tender breasts but the scars that lead up to them. For a moment, both the women get carried away, not in passionate love like the Mira Nair’s but just a touch that means comfort, confidence and a sense of belongingness.

As the movie progresses, the story pans across the small village of Rajasthan where despite the biggest concerns they have with the attitude of men towards them, they collect money to buy a Television, where a 14-year old girl’s family is paid 3.5 Lakh rupees for marriage, where a daughter comes home beaten up by her in-laws yet unaccepted by their family, and a tantric saint who worships the place of our origination before he engages with it.

Overall, Leena Yadav’s “Parched” sends out a very strong undigestible message across the board about how women are treated in a rural set up where education is mostly forbidden for girls. She demands a change in our attitude towards women- not only as a man but as a woman too.

Ajay-Devgn-presents-PARCHED-movie-poster.jpg

 

Release: 2016 | 

A | Runtime: 118 Mins |

Direction: Leena Yadav |

Screenplay: Leena Yadav |

Cinematographer: Russell Carpenter|

Editor: Kevin Tent |

Music: Hitesh Sonik |

Production: Ajay Devgn Ffilms |

Cast: Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chaterjee, Surveen Chawla 

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