Parched Movie Review

Leena Yadav's rural tale is an ode to the identity, sexuality and the spirit of Indian women

Brain-o-meter Rating: 8/10

Leena Yadav who had helmed duds in the past including Shabd, Teen Patti and others, is back with a female-centric film which strikes the chords of every woman today. The amazing screenplay, cinematography and acting from the superlative cast adds layers of emotions to overall narrative. Yadav proves that she is a talent to watch out for, who had been subdued by commercial trappings for far too long.

The three female leads: Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Surveen Chawla are the highlights of the film. Radhika's character is tortured by her husband for not begetting a child while Tannishtha's character has to bear with her irate and irrational son who continues to flog his wife like she had been by her late husband. Surveen's character is that of a dancer and part-time prostitute who yearns for good things in life, especially love and affection from someone. These women are friends, who share their problems and grievances and in turn, try to find solutions to their ailments. Their characters are mirrors of the rural society that we live in.

Parched Movie Poster

The music and cinematography do complete justice to the screenplay, note the brilliant lighting techniques and wide landscapes which are beautiful to behold. The arid desert setting and the thirst of these female characters are metaphorical in themselves leading to the title of the film. And the setting does add to the narrative too.

Radhika Apte is terrific in her role, adding gravitas and playfulness in equal measure, since she is accustomed to the beatings; the narrative too does not become melodramatic about it. Tannishtha shows immense maturity in her role, adding pathos to her portrayal. But it is Surveen Chawla who plays the spirited character of Bijli who lands her one of the best roles till date. She does justice to the magnificent character who tries to wear her emotions on her sleeve and even reveals her vulnerability in key moments. The male characters are good too but the main leads steal the limelight here.

The film does have a number of painful moments that will affect the viewers, but nowhere does it feel melodramatic. I felt that the climax could have been tighter and an easy resolution should not have been on the cards. Still, this remains one of the finest movies of the year.

Caution: A fair amount of nudity is involved with some disturbing scenes so the film is not for the conservative class or the faint-hearted.