Friday, 30 September 2016

Parched: Film that boldly celebrates women's sexuality

“So, how was the movie? Did you like it?” asked the boy
“Ajeeb lagi” says the girl. I stopped for a while as I heard this conversation while coming out of the theatre after watching “Parched”. But there was silence the girl didn’t say anything after this.
I just smiled! But was the movie weird? I asked myself. 

The film ‘Parched’ directed and written by Leena Yadav surprised me, intrigued me and made me happy at the same time. Set on the rural context, the film is about three women; Rani (played by Tanishtha Chatterjee), a 32 years old widow who is desperately trying to get his son Gulab married to a beautiful girl Janki from neighborhood village; Lajjo (Radhika Apte) a childless woman who desperately wants a child. Though she appears happy and free spirited, her husband tortures her and beat her everyday blue and black; Bijli(Surveen Chawla), a local dancer who is an eye candy and feast for local villagers. Rani and Lajjo are friends who are skilled and work for local entrepreneur Kishan (Sumeet Vyas). Both of them share their lives, happiness, miseries and pain, for them the only source of pleasure is the erotic stories shared by Bijli. “Mazza to ussi mein aata hai jo Bijli bolti hai se….xx mein”

It’s heartwarming, powerful and liberating to witness that amidst of all the chaos and almost every form of violence be it eve teasing, physical assault, child marriage, sexual abuse, forced sex after marriage and obsession around married women to have child, these three women expresses their sexuality. The film has very simple, strategic and pointed dialogues with no flowery language. The rawness with which story is woven and dialogues are delivered stumps me. The film speaks leaps and bounds of sexuality and about women’s desires. The scene where brutally beaten Lajjo comes to Rani’s home is one such scene where longing and pain of not having experienced intimacy is beautifully presented. Also when Rani asks “kya mein abhi bhi aurat jaisi lagti hoo?” and then Lajjo with her jovial and sensuous way answering that question is superb!

Bijli expressing her desire to finally settling with a man who not only impressed her sexually but also won her with his words.

Lajjo gets physically intimated with another man to fulfill her desire of giving birth to a child. Bijli questions the various abuses and slangs that are used and she hits the chord straight by saying that maybe all these were made by man that’s why they involve f***ing women!

The film has some really powerful and intriguing conversations. In one such scene, Rani shouts at her son, “Mard banna band kar, phele insaan ban” when she sees her son beating his wife in the same way that she experienced in her married life too. It was empoweringto see 15 years old Janki cut her long and beautiful hairs so that she could stop her marriage. 

Another conversation between Bijli and Lajjo where Bijli shares how she met Rani, became friends with her and this friendship is something that she cherish the most in her life.

‘Parched’ clearly showcases the deep rooted patriarchal system where women has no say in almost every aspect of life, among all the man who believed the women’s role was just to handle household chores and provide sex to their husbands whenever demanded, there was Kisan who was continuously helping women to become financially sound by engaging them into craft and artifacts. Clearly he was a threat to the other men in the village who used to ignore his presence or bully him because for them he was misleading their women! Also I feel we can chose how we want to see things happening in our lives just as Rani does when she frees her daughter in law and sends her with the guy she loved. 
The movie ends with the beautiful analogy- its time for dusshera which is marked by the victory of good over evil and at the same time, these three women taking hold of their life and setting themselves free from unwanted shackles and barriers imposed on them.  

“Do rahe par khadi hoo, soch rahi hoo ki left loo ya right, jo bhi hoo iss baar toh mein dil ki sunugi!”

Overall the film “Parched” makes you uncomfortable, poses questions, is intriguing but at the end leaves you with a hope :-) No wonder many people might be left feeling weird!


  1. Thank you Purvi! What a lovely analysis! This is Leena Yadav - the writer, director of the film. A friend of mine shared your review with me.

    1. Thank you so much Leena ji :-) i totally loved the film. Also, we are running a social enterprise Sahas and we screened the film "Parched" on International Women's day- i have also written a blog about how women reacted to it. If you have time please also read it-