By: The Cinephiliac (A Toast) –
Imagine being a 15-year-old girl in a nation riddled by strict rules and traditions rooted in suppressing your voice and right to choose the path of your life. Instead of enjoying your teenage years laughing with friends about boys, music, or fashion, you are removed from your hometown and everyone you love so that now you can be bound to a family you have never met. Your happiness and safety in this arranged marriage is a game of Russian roulette. There’s a chance your new husband might see you as an equal, treating you with respect, dignity, and love. If the chamber lands on another option you may land a complete piece of shit who takes out his insecurities and fears on your body daily. Another click from the chamber may grant you a husband who ignores you and gives his attention to other women, leaving the males of his household to treat you as they wish. These are circumstances in the lives of thousands of women around the world. In Parched, writer, director Leena Yadav presents us four women seemingly stuck in these predicaments.
Sup? Please don’t be a murderer.
Lajjo (Radhika Apte) is a beautiful, humorous woman who must endure the pain of a drunken husband who blames her for their childless home. Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a widowed mother facing the challenges of marrying her indignant, troubled son to Janaki (Lehar Khan), his young bride. Janaki must figure out how to find happiness within her new environment filled with agony and pain. Although Bijli (Surveen Chawla) is free of family life, existing on the fringes of society, she still battles with economic and personal survival that comes with being a sex worker with bigger dreams in life. Each woman must face their challenges head on and look within to find the strength to persevere.
It’s like Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but not.
Parched is a phenomenal drama filled with tears and cheers. It’s heartbreaking at times as it combs through reality finding strands of hardships all through it. This is a film that is a service to society. It is a beacon for change of the patriarchal system that pits women as others below men. The tight intimate closeups of scenes places us directly into the situations of the characters. Yadav’s partnered script with Supratik Sen allows Parched to use these women as vessels to expose the oppression women all over the world in similar positions undergo. They are rarely treated with patience or praised for their qualities and strength. They are often abandoned, shamed, and exploited as the men responsible drunkenly brag about their deeds and place blame on anyone but themselves.
Parched is a powerful film and brilliant feminist work. It shows the beauty of these women through their inner qualities and their love for each other. Men receive adequate representation despite the patriarchy being called out for its outdated, unjust treatment of women. Although progressive, caring qualities delivered by men meet resistance from those unwilling to part with tradition.
Girls rule, boys drool.
There are a few films in the grand scheme of movies that make a bold statement loud enough to be heard by the masses. Parched is one of those film. Parched strips away the glamour associated with rural Indian society to show the brutality that many women must endure in their daily lives. This is a film that needs screenings all over the world. There are women stuck in these predicaments who feel alone and cursed by fate. Parched is the perfect film to show them they are not alone, nor are they trapped.
Parched (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Sip: every time a man does something shitty
Take a Sip: every time money becomes an issue for Rani
Take a Sip: every time someone’s hair is mentioned
Do a Shot: every time a woman is told to make dinner, then remember how ridiculous it is to put cooking solely on a woman.