Parched comes in a week after the extremely well received Pink, a film that is being hailed for portraying inherent misogyny in our urban society in a restrained and yet effective manner. It portrayed three girls, with a mind of their own and how they had to face the world for being their own person. The heavily awarded Parched takes us into the rural India, in this case, a remote corner of Gujarat, to tell the story of three women, who are not quite independent.
Three women, the first who has no man, the second has a rather abusive man and a third who has multiple. And there is a fourth, a child, who is all set to tread the path of an abused wife. What sets Parched apart from Pink is that Parched does not quite delve into misogyny. It is more a journey of these three characters into finding their own space rather, rather than making the world see straight.
There is Rani, a window barely into her thirties and yet with a teenage son; there is Lajjo who desperately wants to bear a child but just ends up beaten and bruised by her husband; and there is Bijli, a local dance who doubles up as a prostitute. There is nothing holding them from making their lives different, except their own lack of awareness.
The story moves ahead lazily, without any real development for the entire first half. The duration is used to set up the characters and expose the audience into understanding why the women are the way they are. Of course, the men are at play too. There is a general fear of the new, the change. There is a fear in the women’s mind of how the men would react. But there are the good ones too. The ones who actually work towards making the change, without gender bias. Parched does not intend to make a one-sided statement. But it does not offer much justification either.