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Parched Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Radhika Apte is outstanding as the bruised and battered Lajjo, a woman whose zest for life never wanes no matter what hits her. She is a brave actress and her no-holds-barred performance in Parched is another glorious feather in her cap. Surveen Chawla is perfectly cast as the robust dancer who refuses to sway to the tunes of her manipulative employer and her smarmy clientele. Tannishtha Chatterjee, a true-blue veteran of cinema of this kind, gets into the skin of her character as effortlessly and as effectively as ever. Two of the younger actors in the cast – Leher Khan and Riddhi Sen – contribute their mite. They do not put a foot wrong.
Parched Review by Meena Iyer on The Times Of India
Leena Yadav’s Parched takes you into a disturbing and thought-provoking territory. Even as it cleverly intertwines the stories of the three protagonists all of who have had a raw deal in life, it simultaneously puts the spotlight on how there is still an India where a woman is treated as a sex object; where her only role is to serve her man. Rani who was married off at 15 to an alcoholic Shankar has been widowed for 17 years and has to fend for herself and her callous son.
Parched Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
Genre-wise, ‘Fem-jep’, or female in jeopardy, is how you’d describe this film as a cliché. But there is still much joy in the air as the three ladies — married, single, and a whore — form an unlikely but fun trio dealing with sex, lies, and life itself. Despite obvious flaws in the story-telling, it’s downright impossible not to be drawn to these characters. If you were to draw a parallel, this would perhaps be the rural equivalent of Pan Nalin’s upper-class, super-urbane ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’, a terrific ensemble pic, from last year. Of course we’ve been seeing very entertaining and explosive feminist films lately (‘Pink’ is an even more recent example). They only reflect an irreversible revolution on the Indian streets, homes, and workplaces. A fine sign of our times, I’d say, and if the arrow also leads to theatres, yes, it’s worth going, and supporting, for sure.
Parched Review by Suhani Singh on India Today
Parched packs in many social issues into the film – from violence against women to the need of education of girls – and it does so without screaming from the rooftop. There are some memorable moments here with the best being a near-silent encounter between Lajjo and Rani, in which, Parched says volumes about a woman’s desires with great subtlety and depth. It’s a pity then that after hitting the right notes for most part, the film in its quest for emotional liberation quickly jumps to a rather far-fetched ending that leaves more questions.
Parched Review by IANS on Zeenews
“Parched” celebrates the joie de vivre of shared grief among women who live their wretched lives on the edge and are only too happily to topple over when pushed and provoked. Sometimes, feminism doesn’t need a full-blown messianic clarion call. A little tug, a firm push, will do. “Parched” hits us where it hurts the most.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The connect between the three women is so amazing, you wish all the other domestic things they are shown involved in go on for too long. You wish the filmmaker had been inspired by Thelma and Louise and had learnt the art of brevity and precision from there. The story wanders along the pains and the suffering so much you begin to groan each time the women are tortured by the menfolk. The violence is not new but there’s only so much of slapping across the face one can watch on the screen without cringing. Some moments are luminous, but you fail to understand why no one sits down to edit, edit, edit.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
As for the film itself, when the trailer had come out, I had expected an ‘arty’ fare about the challenges that women face in rural areas, but Parched is not just a heavy tear-jerker. Yadav has infused the film with a raw and earthy humour, which makes the film an enjoyable watch. Though the humour might come across as crude for some people, it is real enough to evoke hearty guffaws. This is not to say that the film ignores the basic premise or the message that it is trying to send out, but at the same time, Yadav deserves a pat on her back for not making a film full of sadness and tears, though the milieu and the plot could have tempted any filmmaker to weave a tragic tale. However, the film stretches quite a lot and could have done with some nifty editing.
Review by Rashma Shetty Bali on Bollywood Life
I gotta admit, after Shabd and Teen Patti, Leena Yadav has improved tremendously in terms of direction. A lot of frames and how the story has been weaved together is commendable. It’s not something you’d see in a conventional Hindi cinema. So you’ll probably enjoy the fact that the film is way different from what’s usually expected of a Hindi film. I think this is the second sexual awakening film I’ve seen since Margarita With A Straw. While the film did a little goof up with the way it was promoted (focussing on the Down Syndrome part), the intent was different. Similarly even Parched speaks volumes of sexual awakening as you will pin point in the film when you watch it. That again makes it an intriguing watch. What I really liked was the rural feel of the film. Not exactly mentioning the name of the village, Yadav has basically made a good point that can happen anywhere. Of course, when it comes to acting, all the ladies did a phenomenal job. Tannishta as the widow who once again faces with her lost sexuality is very convincing. You can see how parched she has been without the touch of a man in her life. Radhika‘s Lajjo character was oh so adorable! She was a sweetheart! Wasn’t a big fan of Surveen‘s character but we’ll get there later. Finally, the intimate scenes have been shot very aesthetically and with a realistic approach.
Review by Aseem Chhabra on Rediff
The film’s leads — Chatterjee and Apte — are two of the finest Indian indie cinema actresses of our times. And both give strong moving performances, including a brief tender scene between the two — a rare moment in Hindi cinema. The rest of the supporting cast is equally good. The film is lovingly shot by Russell Carpenter (Titanic, Jobs). He makes the characters and Rajasthan’s landscape glow. And under Yadav’s able guidance, Parched genuinely shines.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
A little restraint, leaving some things to our imagination, would have served the film better. Because it is saying something whose importance is paramount: that unless women become a little more empathetic to their own kind, change will not come about. Rani becomes that change agent, and we cheer. Good way to wrap: you only wish the journey was not as problematic.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Of the cast, Tannishtha, who’s clearly having her best year in films so far, infuses her Rani with resolute decisiveness and an uncertain vulnerability. As an actor, this one gets close to her career’s best (Brick Lane). The most natural of the three, Radhika Apte’s Lajjo blends her lingering vulnerability with a glimmer of guilt in seeking out what she truly desires. Hate Story 2 actress Surveen Chawla caricatures her Bijli as a loud and insufferable presence who bifurcates her screen time in self pity and giving gyaan on life and everything else. The expansive desert landscape lends itself to cinematic frames and cinematographer Russel Carpenter (of Titanic fame) translates the director’s vision in a manner that complements storytelling.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
On the performance front. All the three Tannishtha, Radhika and Surveen give a standout performance in which Surveen finds herself lucky in getting more exposure, lines and dimensions. From the supporting cast Sumit Nijawan as the educated do good guy married to an educated foreigner and the nasty son of Rani – Riddhi Sen make good impact. On the flipside, the dish antenna episode and the idea of having a bed ridden granny was out of sync. All said and done Leena Yadav’s PARCHED is an undeniable triumph on screen, a beacon on power of woman PARCHED demands attention from all woman around the globe and asked pertinent questions. If you love woman and care for art and quality in cinema PARCHED is your ticket.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
As for performances, Surveen impresses as a self-contained prostitute who takes charge of her own life, Tannisththa and Radhika are convincing as housewives living in a panchayat-ruled village. Sumeet Vyas is adorable as an educated man who is living in the village and helps the women in marketing their handicrafts. It is all close to the reality of rural India, but Leena’s canvas is not a view from the inside. There is a lot of tokenism involved in portraying the culture, and that is where Parched falls short of a great film. It will definitely be a celebrated film among intellectual circles and international audience, but it is not a film that will touch the people it talks about. It has great actors in Tannishththa, Radhika, Surveen and even Summeet (of Permanent
Roommates fame), but the screenplay that is written in pseudo-rural lingo keeps it from being authentic. The dialogues are written in urban Hindi sentences, just ending with “karu su” and “ke se”. It is like ending a proper Hindi sentence with “ba” and calling it Bhojhpuri.
Review by Suparna Sharma on Deccan Chronicle
I’ve always been captivated by Radhika Apte. She’s gorgeous, expressive and oomphy. And I’ve always found Tannishtha Chatterjee overrated. And yet, here, in Parched, there was too much acting in both Radhika and Surveen’s performances, while Tannishtha is natural, comfortable in her role, in her look, and light-footed. Apte, with her big grins and coyness, was trying too hard to be cute and sexy, and Chawla, continuously speaking in sharp, loud one-liners, got tiresome after a while. Lehar Khan, who’s grown up since she received the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 2013 for Best Child Artist for her role in Jalpari, is better than both Apte and Chawla.
Parched Review by News18
Rani’s confidante is Lajjo, who is regularly beaten up by her alcoholic brute of a husband because she cannot conceive. Radhika Apte plays Lajjo with an intriguing mixture of carefree spirit and vulnerability. Bijli, a travelling erotic dancer and prostitute, is an old friend of Rani’s and Lajjo’s. The two see Bijli as the bold, free one, but she, ironically, can’t escape the clutches of the men in her own life. Surveen Chawla as Bijli practically lights up every scene she’s in. She plays the character with spunky humor that barely conceals her deep-seated frustration over her plight. Alas, you wish that Yadav didn’t tar all the men in the village with the same brush, except for a couple of characters here and there. The film is also over-indulgent with both exoticism and eroticism, leading viewers to feel as if they are stuck in an unwieldy loop. But for these hitches, it’s an entertaining ride. The three friends, parched both emotionally and sexually, will have you rooting for them and cheering as they find their feet and their freedom in the end.
Best Rated Films in 2016
- Pink – 4 stars
- Neerja – 4 stars
- The Jungle Book – 3.8 stars
- Airlift – 3.7 stars
- Kapoor & Sons – 3.7 stars
- Udta Punjab – 3.5 stars
- Fan – 3.5 stars
- Budhia Singh – Born To Run – 3.4 stars
- Sultan – 3.3 stars
- Dhanak – 3.3 stars
- Phobia – 3.3 stars
- Waiting – 3.3 stars
- Sarbjit – 3 stars
- Happy Bhag Jayegi – 2.9 stars
- TE3N – 2.8 stars
- Dishoom – 2.7 stars
- Madaari – 2.7 stars
- Akira – 2.6 stars
- Rustom – 2.6 stars
- Azhar – 2.6 stars
- Kabali – 2.6 stars
- Baar Baar Dekho – 2.4 stars
- A Flying Jatt – 2.2 stars
- Freaky Ali – 2.2 stars
- Mohenjo Daro – 2.2 stars
- Housefull 3 – 2.2 stars
- Veerappan – 2.2 stars
- Rocky Handsome – 2.1 stars
- Raaz Reboot – 1.7 stars