The Indian drama Parched, is a riveting film by writer, director and producer, Leena Yadav (one of the leading female directors in India). Parched shines a light on the plight of women in a rural part of Indian who are married off at an early age and are abused by men. The film is timely, with the disturbing news coming out of India lately about the woman ganged raped, beaten and killed just for being a female.
Ms. Yadav, through her lens gives voices to these women who live in a misogynistic society that treats women as objects of sex, where their greatest role is to serve men.
The inspiration for Parched, came to the director as she went searching for stories in the parched dessert of Kutch, Gujarat. This is a remote stretch of scenic land in North-West India, home to 2 million people living in small clusters and villages, governed by ancient patriarchal “norms” decreed by the village council, which is largely made up men.
In a village Ms. Yadav met a woman called Rani. She invited her into her hut, cooked lunch and shared her story. Ms Yadav realize she had a story to tell when her host Rani held her hand and said, ” I haven’t been touched in 17 years. I have buried all my own needs and do the right thing for my children.” These words coming from a woman who was married off as a child bride shocked and moved the filmmaker.
Ms. Yadav next encounter was with a woman who was covered with bruises. The filmmaker got enough nerve up to ask her if she was alright, she shrugged it off. “He works hard and gets frustrated sometimes. Who else will he take out his anger on? This is my life…lets talk about something else.”
The stories of Parched is Universal. Abuse of women must be exposed and this film highlights the suffering that many women experience.
Parched will open theatrically on Friday, June 17th in New York (AMC Empire 25), Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall), and the Bay Area (Cine Grand in Fremont and Camera 12 in San Jose).