New Delhi: 2016 seems to be an year of films with strong, liberated and spunk women as their focus.After 'Angry Indian Goddesses', 'Neerja' and...
New Delhi: 2016 seems to be an year of films with strong, liberated and spunk women as their focus.
After 'Angry Indian Goddesses', 'Neerja' and 'Pink', Leena Yadav's 'Parched' is yet another film with women's freedom and liberation as it's underlying theme.
A strong storyline, adept direction by Leena Yadav and excellent performances by the main cast, make 'Parched' fresh and innovative take on women's liberation.
Produced by Ajay Devgn films, 'Parched', set in a fictional village called Ujhaas, is a story about lives of Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), Bijli (Surveen Chawla), Lajjo (Radhika Apte) and Janki (Lehar Khan) - their oppression and their struggle to survive in a patriarchal society with its age old customs and traditions and their journey to break free from its shackles to pursue their desires.
32-year-old Rani, who became widow at the age of 16, has just one desire and that is to marry off her son Gulab (Riddhi Sen) to a girl named Janki from the neighboring village, even if that means paying a hefty dowry to the girl's parents.
Unfortunately for Rani, her son Gulab falls into the wrong company.
Gulab and his friends are just interested in prostitutes and are constantly indulging in boozing.
They see the local entrepreneur Kishan (Sumeet Vyas) and his north-eastern wife as a threat to the village as they feel that progress and development of the village will bring changes in the village's women which is something that they fear.
Lajjo, Rani's best friend and a free spirited woman, is regularly beaten up by her alcoholic husband due to her not having been able to conceive a child.
Bijli, a cabaret dancer and a prostitute, is a close friend of Rani and Lajjo .
Life for Rani takes a drastic turn when on the day of her son's marriage Rani discovers that Janki has cut off all her hair thus bringing her shame in her village.
It also earns Janki the wrath of Gulab.
Meanwhile, Lajjo starts doubting about her 'barren' tag and wonders whether it is her husband who is the cause for her not conceiving.
Also, Bijli finds out that a new girl might soon replace her in the troupe.
Dissatisfied with their lives, the four women start questioning the shackles on their freedom and embark on their journey to live their dreams.
On the face of it 'Parched' seems like another film dealing with oppression of women in a patriarchal society.
However, what lends an element of freshness to the film is the fact that the three protagonists are shown finding their moments of joy in the midst of their oppressive and torturous lives.
It is refreshing to see Rani, Lajjo and Bijli find their private moments in which they are seen discussing 'taboo' subjects like love and sex.
Even while living in a patriarchal set up, these women do not feel ashamed of their desires.
Another heart warming aspect of the film is watching the female protagonist bond with each other away from the eyes of the patriarchal set up.
Amid the stark depiction of issues like marital rape and domestic violence, it is the light hearted banter indulged in by the female protagonists that lend a unique appeal to the film.
The chemistry between the protagonists, especially between Lajjo and Rani is a highlight of the film.
In terms of performance, Tannishtha has come up with a superlative act as Rani.
She brilliantly balances her 'strict mother in law' act with that of a woman who expresses her dreams of love and sex in her private moments alone and with Lajjo.
As the free spirited woman Lajjo, who is open about her desires on love and sex, Radhika Apte has come up with a 'natural' act which could fetch her awards at the national level.
Surveen is brilliant as the boisterous Bijli, who opens about her sexuality and flaunts it.
The cast, including Sumeet Vyas, Riddhi Sen and Lehar Khan provides able support.
The music by Hitesh Sonik carries the film forward.
The cinematography by Russel Carpender brings out the vibrancy of the deserts.
In a nutshell, 'Parched' is a brilliant celebration on women's liberation after 'Pink' with performances by the main cast and the bonding of the women protagonists as its highlight.
Rating: 4/5: one for the fresh concept and story, one for direction, one for performances by Surveen, Tannishtha and Radhika and one for the excellent bonding between them.