Deep in the deserts of Northern India, three women thirst for more than just a good source of water. On nearly every level, these women lack dignity and respect from the longtime patriarchal traditions of their rural community.
The widowed Rani suffers through her teenage son’s rude and entitled attitude toward the village girls—while at the same time she goes into debt so as to finance his upcoming arranged marriage. Rani’s spirited best friend Lajjo works to support her ne’er-do-well husband—who rewards her with beatings because she has not been able to get pregnant. Meanwhile, exotic dancer Bijli makes ends meet by resorting to prostitution, where her services are decried as immoral immediately after they are enjoyed.
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In exploring Rani, Lajjo and Bijli’s quests for liberty and self-realization, director Leena Yadav has constructed a lush fable, at once tethered to a dusty, socially retrograde reality while embracing a vision of a future still under construction. Parched is vibrant, colorful and sensual, benefiting greatly from lush photography by Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter (Titanic), and is vivacious and surprisingly comic in its narrative twists. – Jaie Laplante
Leena Yadav is from Northern India. She has directed the feature films Shabad (2005), Teen Patti (2010), which starred Ben Kingsley, and Parched (2015).
Director: Leena Yadav
Producer: Ajay Devgn, Aseem Bajaj, Gulab Singh Tanwar, Leena Yadav, Rohan Jagdale
Screenwriter: Leena Yadav
Music: Hitesh Sonik
Cinematographer: Russell Carpenter
Editor: Kevin Tent