Director: Leena Yadav
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Lehar Khan, Surveen Chawla, Sumeet Vyas
September has seen some strong women centric movies, after the hard hitting “Pink” here is a movie about four women living in a drought stricken area of Gujarat.
Their existence is surrounded by the reality of outdated superstitions and traditions. Child marriages, gender bias and inequality, marital rape, exploitation by familyand alcoholism.
Meet the characters, Rani played by Tannishtha Chatterjee has been a widow for half of her life. Lajjo Radhika Apte is Rani’s childless friend. The third woman is Bijli played by Surveen Chawla, an exotic dancer who is the only source of entertainment for the ogling village men. The fourth woman is Janki played by Lehar Khan an eligible pretty village girl from the neighboring village. Rani and Lajjo are skilled workers on payroll of a local entrepreneur named Kishan played by Sumeet Vyas.
The men control the lives of these women and we have already seen in the umpteen movies. This is another chapter from the patriarchy drama that plays and replays in the country. The saga of suffering women has several layers and several years of tragic lives destroyed by age old customs.
The men fear that if the women grew in strength, get some education, learned skills then they would start asking questions and demanding answers and who knows maybe equal rights too. This they cannot let happen and only then can they continue to subdue them and continue with their vile ways.
The four women live in mortal disgust of their lives and they literally lead two lives. Rani wants her son to marry Janaki. Lajjo wants a child desperately and is moving towards breaking point due to abuse from her alcoholic husband.
Bijlli lives a superficial life devoid of emotions like an inanimate object and Janaki is ultimately dishonored and thrown out her village. They all have never found true love, hence when they meet in solitude they talk about just that. They have never been credited and cherished for their work and role as a homemaker and earning member, so they discuss that when they meet. They have physical wants which can never be openly discussed let alone with their respective partners.
They have dreams for a future devoid of pain and suffering and they talk about that too. Simple story of any village women, who live tightly controlled lives, in a windowless world, bound by tradition. Then they decide enough is enough. From dishonored Janaki to Lajjo who wants to be free of her husband’s brutality and Bijlli not happy with the entry of a new girl.
This begins a journey of freedom and broken fetters, sisterhood of solace in each other together and each other small success and reservoirs of remaining strength.
Parched stands for the lack of water in the village, the lack of love in their lives and the lack of respect by men for women. Watch this award winning movie produced by Ajay Devgan subject close to the soil of India.
Women choose to underplay their strong points compromising for society and family, set boundaries for themselves. We may seem very progressive, but dig deep and try to discover more and you learn that societies have learned to cover things up, and stay regressive, which keeps rising its head every time there is a something new and bold coming up.