Inspired by a true story, ‘Parched’ follows the lives of four women in rural Rajasthan. The film tackles gender inequality without hesitation, addressing difficult and important themes surrounding domestic and sexual violence.
The film first centers on three women, who are good friends: Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), a widow, who attempts to arrange her son’s marriage with a girl from a village close by; Lajjo (Radhika Apte), who wants children, but whose abusive marriage prevents her from doing so; and Bijili (Surveen Chawla), an erotic dancer who seeks a different pathway in life. The three seek solace in each other when their village turns its back on them.
‘Parched’ successfully portrays the difficulties of being a woman in a society where women are undervalued, and often abused.
The scenes depicting sexual violence are confronting and visceral. Here the film reveals the extent to which these women have and will continue to endure. However, they maintain their desire for a loving family, hope being their means of survival.
The power of Rani, Lajjo, and Bijili’s relationship allow the three an emotional escape from the violence they face. Their friendship becomes a source of strength where they share their experiences and find support in one another.
‘Parched’ is a spectacular drama, with elements of comedy allowing its viewers moments to come up for air. The film brings to the forefront the fact that the emotional and physical abuse that these women go through is the reality that many women face globally.
The film captures with precision the lives of these women as they find strength in themselves and each other, overcoming the gendered violence inherently bound to patriarchal tradition.
Parched is showing at the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival on the 23rd of November as the Opening Night. Go grab your tickets here.
Director: Leena Yadav
Starring: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla
Language: Hindi (with English subtitles)