It was a perfect timing for the release of ‘Parched’. The discussion on atrocious patriarchal realities of society in Pink had not even faded yet and within a week Parched struck the theatre. These movies could give the ignorant ones a reality check that how oppression is deep rooted in the society’s framework.
Parched started its journey with a 32 year widow named Rani (Tannishtha) going to a village in search of bride for her son. It started with what one could witness easily in our repressive culture of the son being the ultimate heir of a family. The number of girl gets added each time in the desire of a male child and finally the feminine child is treated as a curse or a material that has to be disposed soon. They find no better option than marriage to transfer their burden onto others. The movie was disturbing due to its violence and explicit scenes but felt flat. While watching the film one is bound to question oneself what went wrong in its narration. From the starting it struck everything in our so called cultured rural civilization, but the movie couldn’t hold one’s attention. Radhika Apte’s Lajjo had a troubled marital life with domestic violence being a regular scenario. She was desirous for both love and sex and is deprived of two in her marriage. It raised the question if illiterate women could not just be a subordinate in love making but an equal partner. Are they deprived of desires or is it the society with biases that had regularly murdered the women in them. Surveen Chawla’s Bijli was the source of their intact dream of living a life once again on their own terms and conditions. She is a dancer and charmer for the villagers and is being traded for sex in exchange of money. Bit rebellious in character but preoccupied by her inner conflicts and struggles, she was searching for a new start where she would be loved.
There was a scene in the movie in which she told Lajjo that men could be infertile too, so why women had been blamed since time immemorial. A scene in the movie in which Lajjo went to get herself checked if she could get pregnant and met a person in cave was more exotic than real. It was more of an exaggeration which sometimes directors get trapped in. The character of Gulab was that of a typical kid being raised in patriarchal regressive environment. It was so easy for him to victimize his 15 year old wife and rape her at very first time after marriage. Though each of the point in the movie was being tried to be kept strongly but movie had some flaws. The ending was the best it could have been. Giving ‘Parched’ that ending was a challenge. So the makers had a nice objective but lacked execution.