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Parched film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byLeena Yadav
Written byLeena Yadav
Produced byAjay Devgn
Aseem Bajaj
Gulab Singh Tanwar
Leena Yadav
Rohan Jagdale
CinematographyRussell Carpenter
Edited byKevin Tent
Music byHitesh Sonik
Release date
  • 12 September 2015 (2015-09-12) (TIFF)
  • 23 September 2016 (2016-09-23) (India)
Running time
118 minutes
BudgetUS$2.7 million[1]
Box office12.03 crore (US$1.79 million)[2]

Parched is a 2015 Indian drama film written and directed by Leena Yadav and produced by Ajay Devgan under his banner Ajay Devgn FFilms.[3] It premiered at the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] In India, the film released on 23 September 2016.[5]


Parched is the story of four women in a desert village of Gujarat, India. The village and the society are plagued by several social evils, age-old traditions and practices of patriarchy, child marriage, dowry, marital rapes and physical and mental abuse.

Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a widow struggling to support her old mother-in-law and teenage son, Gulab (Riddhi Sen). Following village customs, Rani marries Gulab off to a child bride by paying a hefty sum to the bride's family. Meanwhile, Gulab is disrespectful, rebellious, and prefers to loiter with a gang of friends, spending time with sex workers. Janki (Lehar Khan), the child bride, hopes to stop the marriage by chopping off her hair but is still forced into the relation. Lajjo (Radhika Apte) lives in the same village as Rani, and is a close friend and aid in Rani's struggles. Lajjo is in an abusive marriage with an alcoholic husband, Manoj (Mahesh Balraj). Having failed to conceive, Laajjo is mocked for being infertile and therefore worthless in the eyes of her husband and society. The fourth woman is Bijli (Surveen Chawla), an erotic dancer in a travelling entertainment company. Bijli acts as an advisor to both Rani and Lajjo.

The movie begins with Rani and Lajjo visiting another village to meet Janki and her family. Meanwhile, Gulab and his friends are seen harassing an educated, working woman, until her husband, Kishan (Sumeet Vyas) approaches. While at Janki's house, Rani receives calls on a cell phone given to her by Gulab. The anonymous calls started off as a wrong number but has developed into coy flirting.

Later, at the Gram Panchayat, the village participates in solving local issues. The first issue is of a girl named Champa (Sayani Gupta) who ran away from her husband and tried to return to her parents. The Panchayat forces her to return despite her revelation that her husband's male family members all rape her. Kishan and his wife try intervening but are ridiculed for their progressive opinions. Kishan is a forward thinking local entrepreneur and employs women in the village for craft and handloom jobs. The women reveal at the Panchayat that Kishan has secured a large contract for their handicrafts and so they are prepared to save money for the installation of televisions. The elders reluctantly agree and this angers some men in the village, including Gulab, who resent Kishan for trying to liberate the women.

The conservative and patriarchal village men are seen to be constantly visiting Bijli. She has been increasingly turning down offers for sex work which irks her boss, who threatens to replace her with a new younger girl Rekha (Tanya Sachdeva). Gulab's unhappy marriage exacerbates his anger issues and poor attitude towards women. Janki is repeatedly beaten and raped by Gulab. After being threatened by a pimp, Gulab and his friends take out their anger on Kishan. First they destroy his handicraft goods, and later on they violently beat him, prompting Kishan and his wife to leave the village.

Frustrated, Bijli picks up Rani, Lajjo and Janki, and visit a local fort. Lajjo realizes that her husband, not her, may be the infertile one. In an experiment, Lajjo has sex with Bijli's lover (Adil Hussain) and becomes pregnant. Bijli returns to the company to find that her dancing spot has been given to Rekha. She resorts to engaging in traumatic rough sex with multiple men in order to make money.

Rani discovers that Gulab has stolen her last bit of savings and confronts him. He attacks Janki and then angrily walks away, leaving the women to fend for themselves. The next day, Rani sells her house and pays off her debts. She relieves Janki of her marriage, allowing her to reunite with her childhood sweetheart and continue with her studies. Lajjo informs Manoj of her pregnancy and he begins to beat her, implying that he was aware of his infertility. He accidentally falls onto a fire and is severely burnt, while Lajjo watches. Rani, Lajjo and Bijli finally decide to run away from the village in search for a better life, away from all the misery of customs, traditions and patriarchy.



Box office[edit]

The film failed to have significant box office collections after its release in India.[7] The film grossed 12.03 crore (US$1.79 million) worldwide, including ₹1.98 crore (US$294,663) in India and ₹10.05 crore[2] (US$1.5 million) in other markets.[8] It was most successful in France, where it grossed $1,072,253,[9] from 160,379 ticket sales, the fourth highest for an Indian film, after Salaam Bombay, The Lunchbox, and Jalsaghar.[10] Parched also grossed 235,223[11] ($264,058) in Spain.[9]

Critical response[edit]

The film received critical acclaim. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Parched has an approval score of 90% on the basis of 21 reviews with an average rating of 7.4 out of 10.[12]

Meena Iyer from The Times of India rated the film 4.5 out 5 stars, and mentioned that Parched "takes you into a disturbing and thought-provoking territory".[13] Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 saying that, "The larger narrative of the film is inert and clunky but the spirited female characters will stay with you."[14] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 saying that, "Leena Yadav's Parched is an irresistible beast of a film. As incendiary as it is entertaining, it goes where Indian cinema rarely does without becoming exploitative - into the erogenous fantasies of long-suppressed village women who are no longer willing to countenance their restrictive veils."[15] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave the film a rating of 2 out of 5 saying that, "Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla and Tannishtha Chatterjee's film is failed by too much violence and unnecessary gloss."[16] The Hindu criticized the film saying that, "Parched is an unconvincing indictment of patriarchy that feels staged." and gave the film a rating of 2 out of 5.[17] Suparna Sharma of Deccan Chronicle gave the film a rating of 2.5 out of 5 saying that, "Parched feels like it’s unsettled, struggling between wanting to tell a real story, but also keen on concocting a fairytale happy-ending."[18]

Rajeev Masand of News18 gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 and called it an "entertaining ride" but also wished that "Yadav didn’t tar all the men in the village with the same brush, except for a couple of characters here and there."[19] Aseem Chhabra of Rediff praised the acting performances of Tannishtha Chatterjee and Radhika Apte and said gave the film a rating of 3.5 out of 5 saying that, "under Yadav's able guidance, Parched genuinely shines."[20] Katie Walsh of Los Angeles Times praised the film saying that, "Leena Yadav's "Parched" is a bright jewel of a film, surprisingly funny, fresh and upbeat in the way it takes on the complicated and often dark topic of sexual politics in rural India."[21] Alissa Wilkinson of Roger Ebert gave the film a rating of 3 out of 4 saying that, "Parched" is vibrantly alive, full of color and light and movement and music. There is sex in this movie, and there is dancing, and there are vibrant fabrics and foods and fire. It's a dry place, but one ringed with beauty."[22] Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film saying that Parched is "Well-intentioned, but wide of the mark."[23] Sweta Kausal of Hindustan Times stated that the film is important because it tries to celebrate the long struggle against unjust system of forced patriarchy.[24] Glenn Kenny from The New York Times mentioned that "the movie’s plain and unstinting affection for its lead characters gives Parched a frequently buoyant tone."[25]


Year Name of Competition Category Result Recipients
2016 10th Asia Pacific Screen Awards[26] Best Screenplay Nominated Leena Yadav, Supratik Sen
2016 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne[27] Best Director Won Leena Yadav


  1. ^ JP. "Parched (2016)- JPBox-Office". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Parched - Movie". Box Office India. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Parched". TIFF. 28 July 2015. Archived from the original on 30 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Toronto to open with 'Demolition'; world premieres for 'Trumbo', 'The Program'". ScreenDaily. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Ajay "Devgn's production 'Parched' to release on September 23". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Linaa Yadav on Twitter". Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  7. ^ Sarkar, Suparno. "Banjo, Parched 3-day box office collection: Both movies show muted earnings over 1st weekend". Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Top Overseas Grossers 2016". Box Office India. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b "La saison des femmes (Parched)". Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Charts - LES ENTREES EN FRANCE (Inde)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Spain Box Office, September 23–25, 2016". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Parched". Rotten Tomatoes.
  13. ^ "Parched Movie Review, Trailer, & Show timings at Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 September 2016.4.5/5 stars
  14. ^ "Parched review by Anupama Chopra: Women on top". Hindustan Times.3/5 stars
  15. ^ "Parched Movie Review: Radhika Apte is Outstanding as the Battered Lajjo". NDTV.4/5 stars
  16. ^ "Parched movie review: A good end to a problematic journey". The Indian Express.2/5 stars
  17. ^ "Parched: Thirsting for more". The Hindu.2/5 stars
  18. ^ "Parched movie review: It will leave you high and dry". Deccan Chronicle.2.5/5 stars
  19. ^ "Breaking Free". Rajeev Masand.3/5 stars
  20. ^ "Review: Parched genuinely shines". Rediff.3.5/5 stars
  21. ^ "Unity brightens the lives of Indian women in 'Parched'". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ "Parched Movie Review - Alissa Wilkinson". Roger Ebert.3/4 stars
  23. ^ "'Parched': TIFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  24. ^ "Parched review: Where women celebrate struggles and emerge winners". 23 September 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.3/5 stars
  25. ^ "Review: In 'Parched,' Women in an Indian Village Chafe Against Oppression". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  26. ^ Staff, The Wire. "Anurag Kashyap, Leena Yadav and Others Nominated For 2016 Asia Pacific Screen Awards". Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  27. ^ "Indian Film Festival Melbourne 2016 full nomination list: 'Bajirao Mastani' likely to dominate IFFM 2016 award show". International Business Times, India Edition. 15 July 2016.

External links[edit]