In the arid landscape of Rajashthan, four women navigate their way through personal and cultural difficulties.
‘Parched’ is a story about women set in the heart of parched rural landscape of Rajasthan, India. It traces the bittersweet tale of four ordinary women Rani, Lajjo, Bijli and Janaki. We see them unapologetically talk about men, sex and life as they struggle with their individual boundaries to face their demons and stage their own personal wars.
The film revolves around four women living an unwanted life in a village of north-western region of India, which still suffers from old, age-ridiculed traditions like forced child marriages and other social issues like financial difficulties, spousal and familial rape, and physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic husbands. Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), who has been a widow for half of her life, is trying with all her might to get her son, Gulab (Riddhi Sen), married to a beautiful girl, Janki (Lehar Khan), from the neighboring village. Then there is Lajjo (Radhika Apte), a friend of Rani. They both are skilled and work for a local entrepreneur named Kishan (Sumeet Vyas). Lajjo is childless and wants to conceive desperately but fails. On top of this, her alcoholic husband, Manoj, batters her every night. The fourth woman is Bijli (Surveen Chawla), a local erotic dancer, who is a feast for the eyes of village men. She not just dances but fulfils inner desires of many men during dry, sensuous nights of the village. The men of village fear the development and skill of the women and want to live the lifestyle left by their forefathers. The entwined story of these four women shows how they live in a tightly controlled world, hemmed in by tradition, but in their private spaces, they talk about love, sex, and their dreams for the future. The twist to the story comes when Rani discovers Janki is dishonored in her village, Lajjo is tired of the brutality of her husband, and Bijli is jealous of a new girl who might replace her. This leads to a journey of freedom and finding solace in each other together.