Its dawn you son f#@$&* says a sex worker Bijli (Surveen) to her two friends – Rani (Tannishtha) a widow and Lajjo (Radhika) a childless woman. The three beauties from a remote desert in India had just had a night long escapade with their feminism and the desired freedom.
Speaking candidly on the long-taboo subject on women oppression, PARCHED is a powerful statement that cracks a striking, captivating and humorous code on the age-old belief and boundaries set on woman.
Writer director Leena Yadav in an amazing turn around rises above the push and pull of art and box office essentials from her previous SHABD and TEEN PATTI to deliver a thought provokingly nourishing PARCHED that demands attention on the map of world cinema with pertinent questions for example why abuses/cuss words are made on woman and not on men.
Exploring the misogynist mindset that still prevails in rural India, Leena Yadav’s PARCHED weaves together a magnificent tapestry of femininity with the bonding of three women from the western parts of India’s desert region.
Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a widow since 17 years. Victim of child marriage and alcoholic husband, Rani tied the nuptials at the age of 15 with Shankar. Rani fends for herself and her bed ridden mother-in-law. Rani is keen to get her teenage son (Riddhi Sen) get married to Janaki (Lehar Khan) from the neighboring village. She is accompanied by her friend Lajjo (Radhika Apte) who is cursed, abused and beaten by his husband for being a ‘baanj’ (barren) infertile to produce a child.
The marriage is finalized and Rani gets Janki as her bride after paying a good sum as ‘dowry’ to Janki’s family.
But Janki holds a secret, she is already in love with a boy from her village and in protest she has chopped off her hair. Rani who gets aware of Janki’s untidy and chopped off hair doesn’t rebel and takes her along with her.
The threesome gets complete when a desi bombshell and the desire of most men in the village cabaret performer Bijli (Surveen Chawla) comes to congratulate Rani for her son’s wedding. Bijli is Rani’s friend since decades and how Rani, Lajjo and Bijli join force together to break the boundaries and the shackles to overcome the hurdles and be on their own is shown on screen with a perfect balance of undeniable starkness and likable imaginary that successfully makes you feel for the women over here wanting you to follow them in their journey.
Be it giving a hint of Rani’s carnal interest in Lajjo, or the outburst by Bijli on why cuss words are on woman not on men. Leena Yadav’s presentation of the relationship between the three women is remarkably captivating that inclines more towards their longing for care and affection that they have been denied and that’s where the filmmaker gets the rare winning edge.
TITANIC fame cinematographer Russell Carpenter mastery over the locales serves as a boon to Leena Yadav’s storytelling, Hitesh Soni’s music perfectly blends with the authentic folk and Bollywood dhinchak (raunchy item numbers).
On the performance front. All the three Tannishtha, Radhika and Surveen give a standout performance in which Surveen finds herself lucky in getting more exposure, lines and dimensions.
From the supporting cast Sumit Nijawan as the educated do good guy married to an educated foreigner and the nasty son of Rani – Riddhi Sen make good impact.
On the flipside, the dish antenna episode and the idea of having a bed ridden granny was out of sync.
All said and done Leena Yadav’s PARCHED is an undeniable triumph on screen, a beacon on power of woman PARCHED demands attention from all woman around the globe and asked pertinent questions. If you love woman and care for art and quality in cinema PARCHED is your ticket.