Three women in a parched land. Feisty, fulsome, intrepid, they dream of freedom. And sexual nirvana. Their men are predators and marauders. Typical. Men driven by the hardness of their manhood and the limpness of their lives in an almost dystopian rural phantasmagoria.
Rani. Those smouldering eyes, that searing look, the gravity of manner that unnerves, but beyond that, a little girl waiting to be touched and tickled, that playfulness with a mobile ghost-lover and the denouement that delivers.
Lajjo. A girl-woman with an impish smile, a battered body that houses an uninhibited soul, woman on top in more ways than one, a free-spirited belle that burns to cinders violence and demonic patriarchy.
Bijli. The quintessential who** who pretends to play by the men’s rules and takes them by their groins. She is a brutalised Queen. Her body gyrates with a consuming electricity, her soul, pristine and unsullied, yearns to dance under a moonlit sky.
Parched is cinema that provokes. That shatters a cosy beguiling numbness and shakes and rattles sexual feudalism.
This is a celebration of the sisterhood of oppressed women, united by their empathy, their deep caring for each other and the desire to reword the grammar of their lives.
Parched is a feminist daring at its best, especially in the bleak Indian context.
Leena Yadav, take a bow!
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