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Ashdoc's Movie Review---Parched

Discussion in 'Theatre, Movies & Cinema' started by ashdoc, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc India
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    Movie Critic SPNer

    Jul 19, 2011
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    This film is a a typical film made for the western audiences who shower awards on it after lapping up all the grime and poverty that is showcased in the movie . It is a well oiled machine ; a film maker makes a film showing the horrid life of people in some corner of India , shows it at western film festivals , and the awards come tumbling in . This gives the chance to publicise the film in India and earn moolah at the box office . Critics duly write favourable reviews in order to boost earnings of the film . In all this the image of the country takes a beating ; India becomes known as the land of poverty stricken people living with all sorts of unimaginable injustices . Forget that Africa is poorer , that the middle east has more violence , that China has more repression ; India is shown as the epicentre of the world's horrors because it has a population that does not care about it's own image in the world .

    So in a rural and semi desert part of the Indian state of Gujarat live three women who form the centre of the story . They live among men who are the worst specimens of humanity---presumably only India produces them according to the director . The director packs all sorts of injustices forced on women by men into two hours of the film--women are beaten , sodomised , raped by their fathers in law , married off at early age , are neglected by their husbands who go to prostitutes , forced to marry with persons not of their choosing . One is forced to wonder why such an overload of tyranny is shown in the haste to lap up the awards .

    Tannishtha Chatterjee plays Rani , Radhika Apte plays Lajjo and Surveen Chawla plays Bijli . Rani is a widow in her early thirties , and marries off her son to find out that his wife has her hair cut off . This angers him and he begins to go to prostitutes and being physically abusive to his wife . Lajjo cannot produce a child , and this brings on savage beatings from her husband . The two women have a friendship with the local {censored word, do not repeat.}---Bijli . The three women have to live lives restricted by age old customs , but in their private time they talk about sex and relationships . If there is anything remarkable about these women , it is that they are parched---parched for love , parched for kindness , and parched for physical intimacy and sex . The scenes between them have a touch of homoeroticism as they are free and intimate with each other caressing each other's half nude bodies in private , though they don't actually cross the limit .

    Bijli's profession allows her the freedom to do what she wants and the restrictions on the other two women do not apply to her , because she is considered beyond the pale of society . This brings her into contact with a man who can fulfil the dreams of Lajjo of bearing a child---and she takes Lajjo to him...and thus is created a passionate rendesvouz in the middle of the desert ; Lajjo has a night full of passion with this mysterious man in full glory of her nudity , and afterwards the three women frolic in their joy fully naked in a lake nearby . The Indian censors have blocked some portions of their bodies in screen , but I was able to get my hands on a whatsapp clip of part of the scene . One must say that Radhika Apte ( Lajjo ) has a really lovely body and watching her shamelessly show it on screen without inhibitions is a treat . A sex kitten has been born on the silver screen !!

    But what will be the reaction of Lajjo's husband on hearing of the pregnancy caused by the passionate encounter ? It can well be imagined . And what about Rani's daughter in law---the girl who has been abandoned by her husband because she has cut hair ? When her story comes tumbling out , then Rani shows a humanity that can be seen only in works of fiction like films . But the violent reaction of her son is another matter altogether . Bijli secretly hopes that her pimp loves her and will bring her out of her miserable life , even as another younger girl now threatens to upsurp her position as town {censored word, do not repeat.} . But like all men in the film he is a hypocrite .

    As the three women find themselves at the receiving end of increasing physical brutality , they realise that they have reached the crossroads of life . And the three decide to shake off their past and their relationships and begin a new journey together....but this ending is too filmy and belies the claim of the film to be an art film ; it is more fit for a commercial film .

    Acting is good by everyone , and music and photography is good . Only two men in the film ( lover of Rani's daughter in law , and another who brings jobs for the women in the village and marries a woman from the state of Manipur in the north east ) are good , and message of the film is that rural Indian men are bad bad bad ; of course , none of the bad men belong to India's minorities---the film is a politically correct film after all and political correctness requires that no blame should be put on minorities . The director has some directorial talent , and I wished that it had not been wasted on maligning the already bad name of the country---a name made bad by a slew of such so called 'art' films made in the past .

    Verdict--decent .

    Three stars .
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