In this colourful, energetic film we meet four women who rise up against the centuries-old traditions of their small village in India, where girls are still married off as young teenagers.
Rani must save all the money she earns for her son’s dowry, yet Janaki, his bride-to-be, cuts off all her hair in the hopes of preventing the marriage. Rani’s best friend Lajjo is abused by her husband because she has not gotten pregnant. Because Bijli works as a striptease dancer and prostitute, she is a pariah in the village. Amongst themselves, these women speak freely about men, sex and their lives. Their friendship and their longing for freedom lead them to stand up to the patriarchal system.
Despite the subject matter, Parched remains remarkably breezy; for every scene about injustice there is also a fragment with a glimmer of hope. Although the film includes several exciting dance numbers, and the local festival with its carnival is magical, director Yadav succeeds in finding the right mix and avoiding phoney romance.