By Shambhavi Saxena:
“Who needs men when a mobile can get us off,” says one of the women in the drama film, ‘Parched‘, followed quickly by a loud declaration of “hail the vibrating signal provider!” And it’s by this point in the trailer you realise that director Leena Yadav is pushing beyond the usual female-victim-of-the-patriarchy narrative, with “four ordinary women [who] begin to throw off the traditions that hold them in servitude.“
Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte and Surveen Chawla – who play the principle characters of a widow, her best friend, and an erotic dancer – bring alive the hostilities, and little joys of rural Rajasthani society in a film that appears to be really invested in telling the story of who these women are, rather than who they are expected to be. The premise which brings these women together is child marriage, a chronic problem in the state the film is set in, but what really keeps them together is their rebellion in a society that actively encourages the silence and brutalization of women. What’s also really great is how the trailer seems to be tearing down that dichotomy of ‘liberated’ city women on the one hand, and ‘oppressed’ village women, with characterizations that are fresh and complex.
‘Parched‘ could be next in a line of films like ‘Queen‘, or ‘Angry Indian Goddesses‘, that wrest women from the mire of clichés, and tropes, and gags, and bad writing, and put them in interesting stories.
“We too will find our share of happiness,” goes one of the other dialogues from the trailer, and you kind of really want to stick around with these women until they do.