Parched “PARCHED” is deeply provoking yet entertaining! Director Leena Yadav's PARCHED is surprisingly fresh in the way it manages to entertain you even while telling the story of four women troubled by caste system, obsolete customs, restricted sexuality and sexism. Always upbeat in the way it takes on complicated and dark issues, it’s a gem of a film which is highly recommended for all adults. PARCHED is an emotional drama centring around four women living their insipid lives in a village in north-western India, who gradually learn to disregard the phoney cultural traditions that limit their rights while also realising their erogenous fantasies. The world premiere of “Parched” happened at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, much before its Indian release today, the 23rdof September 2016. The film, throwing light on a women centric subject in rural India, starring no big Bollywood superstars, ought to garner a lot less attention and popularity. But let not the gravity of subject fool you into believing that the film is aimed at art house film lovers. This is as entertaining as any other mainstream cinema you’ll see, perhaps even more. The film’s strength lies in its core matter that takes a dig on the bogus male-chauvinistic traditions, that still prevail in rural India (and many-a-times behind the veil of modernity even in urban India). The patriarchal hypocrisies are depicted with utmost subtlety, which is thought-provoking and impactful. All this is handled in a surprisingly funny tone that keeps you consistently glued. Also mature is Leena Yadav’s treatment of the sexual side of the female gender that is often regarded immaterial. The nude scenes look totally natural and the journey of their sexual exploration that the ladies go through is truly immersive. The sets are terrific, the costumes are great, the dialect is authentic and visually the film scores high. The performances are mind-blowing. Radhika Apte is a complete natural. Her expressions portray the innocence of the village girl with as much perfection as her sorry state of marital affairs. Her bold nude scenes are worth all praise and it’s amazing how she carries it off with such great ease. Tannishta Chatterjee too is superbly poised and plays her character of a young widow with desires in a manner that’s rarely seen in Indian cinema. Also brilliant is the lively yet deep, Surveen Chawla, who steals the scene every time she appears on screen. Bold and uninhibited, she gives a winning performance. All others are terrific. In all, PARCHED is a contemporary morality tale that critiques the often harsh treatment of women in the absence of egalitarian social norms. It is a confronting film, set in a world of incredible chauvinism. If you’re an adult, do not miss it.