Films From India – Our Movie Review of Parched
Movie: Parched (2016)
Director: Leena Yadav
Producer: Ajay Devgn, Aseem Bajaj, Gulab Singh, and Rohan Jagdale
Cast: Surveen Chawla, Tannishtha Chateerjee, Radhika Apte, and Leher Khan
Review: The northern state of Rajasthan is one of the most picturesque and massively popular tourist destinations in India — and it has two sides.
One side is evidenced by an ever-burgeoning tourist trade (on account of its vibrant culture and rich heritage), and the other, a deeply unfortunate one that lies unvisited in the deep interiors, where a lack of education and prosperity run amok.
The latter is the result of unprogressive ideas, which have prohibited growth and the most basic tenets of life.
What often fails to meet the public eye is the deplorable conditions facing women, especially those marred by personal losses and poverty.
And Parched is a brave and colorful attempt to represent the misery and plight of village women in Rajasthan, who are not part of the glowing image of the larger urbanized India, women who are not always able to truly advance and celebrate life.
Parched‘s lead characters tidily narrate the close chemistry and friendship between four women who face life’s tragedies and unruly village behaviors. And while they succumb to pangs of everyday melancholy, they try their best to smile and endure.
The story warms the audience’s heart with an earthy and humane touch.
The main heroes here: Rani (Chatterjee), a widow who’s caught between an unruly son and the shambles of her villagers who won’t let her grow; Laajo (Apte), a woman repeatedly abused by an alcoholic husband who can’t see her progress; Janaki (Leher), Rani’s young daughter-in law who’s been caged in a marriage where the husband seems totally uninterested in her; and Bijli (Chawla), a village dancer who’s been victimized by poverty and deplorable societal conduct.
Rani and Lajo’s bond is a testimony to true friendship and the balm that heals ravaged hearts and troubled souls.
The two characters are desperate for male attention, one having had no contact whatsoever with any male, having lost her husband at the prime of her youth, and the other having to commune with a man outside her caste in order to embrace the joy of motherhood.
Rani and Lajo look after each other and will stick by each other no matter the situation.
And there are plenty of situations here.
The real hero and charmer to me is Bijli (played with supreme self-confidence by Surveen) who, prior to this, was usually cast in films as the good-looking woman. In this movie, she’s more than a beautiful actor. Bijli is unruffled by constant calumny and graces the film as a wild and free spirit who isn’t afraid to stand up to oppression and tyranny.
Parched grows on you and forces you to think of an India that sometimes lies buried under the hold of village and fails miserably in according women the respect and affection they deserve. It is a free-spirited march toward the liberation of women who deserve to win and live and along with their victory you feel your own bondages have been snapped once and for all. It’s a must-watch.
Rating: (one to five whistles, five being the best): 4 Whistles
Contributor Dev Tyagi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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