It is hard, very hard, for a woman to let go – Darlings is the story of every abuse victim – or at least those who had the strength to leave, or got lucky enough to be free.
Making waves, trending prior to its release – Darlings ticked those boxes. We’ve watched the latest Netflix release starring Alia Bhatt, Vijay Varma, Roshan Matthew and Shefali Shah, so here’s an honest viewer opinion. Plus, find out ke dekhni chahiye ya nahi.
What’s The Plot?
Darlings isn’t a film with the typical plot. It’s a dark comedy, with some heady realities of society and most importantly, it may resonate with many.
The story is seemingly about a girl, Badru, played by the powerhouse, Alia Bhatt, who ends up marrying Hamza, played by Vijay Verma. Things soon take a sinister turn as their lives coil up with secrets, fears and burst the bubble.
What happens next, well, that’s what kept us hooked and that’s something for you to find out on your own.
The Chunks Of Reality
Come what may, a woman endures everything. Pain, damage, heartbreak, and the list goes on. But for how long can she take on these worldly burdens? When it’s on her, she’ll accept it, but then when children are involved, she has to be the superhero of her own story. That’s just how life is. And Darlings has executed this concept beautifully. Plus, Alia has outdone herself once again!
The fact that Badru felt guilty about murdering her abuser and how hard it was for her to leave him or let go, connected so deeply with the story of many, many women who struggle hard to rid themselves of the emotional dependence on a deeply damaging relationship that is so transparent to others around them, but the abused stays in denial and hopeless hope forever.
Point To Note
Not to take away from the creative liberty of the makers, however the dark comedy … Perhaps the humour could have been inserted at points in the narrative, but not this one, at the police station where Badru needed to show women that she summoned up the courage or at least tried to rid herself of her abuser.
On the other hand, it was great to see that the narrative addressed the mistaken view that alcoholism or addiction is responsible for instigating abuse. This misconception was laid to rest and drove home the point that abusers cannot blame their behaviour on substance abuse or addiction.
The fact that Hamza chose Badru instead of Zulfi to release his wrath drove home a very critical message – the abuser will continue to abuse the weakest link in his circle – the one he feels will surrender most easily, the one he can control mentally and emotionally.
Badru’s story proves as many women have in the past, that they might continue suffering abuse their entire lives unless their children are threatened. Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned … a lasting message for all men who think they will always get away with it
Changing your partner and thinking he can improve might not be the answer in every relationship, but leaving him might.
Furthermore, Badru’s miscarriage held in it, a vital turning point in the narrative. However, it seemed to be glossed over even as the makers sought to magnify it. Despite the fact that she reacted almost instantly and batted Hamza, Badru’s subsequent meltdown didn’t go down with the same vitriol & fury we expected her to feel or direct at Hamza. She uttered a single dialogue regarding the gender of the baby and that’s it… that was it? Keeping in mind that Badru wears the very large hat of Alia Bhatt, we expected more. The sheer impact of an actor like Alia playing Badru would have been mind-blowing if the monologue that went with the tragedy was impactful enough.
We expected a tearful, gut-wrenching outburst of emotion & dialogue, one that made us feel the pain, tears, and sheer rage of a mother who just lost her baby to insanity. We wanted to grieve for Badru’s unborn child, but we couldn’t grieve the way we wanted to. But unfortunately, both the script & screenplay failed to deliver the moment.
On To The Cast
Alia Bhatt is a chameleon who takes up a role and just transforms herself complete. Whether it’s as Badru in Darlings, Gangu in Gangubai Kathiawadi, Isha in Brahmastra (upcoming), Alia does it all. She’s it. Carrying a narrative on her back without a typical ‘hero,’ she’s done that too.
Shefali Shah needs no introduction. With a career spanning over nearly two decades and an award winning actress has nailed it as Shamshunissa. Expressions, witt, you can count on her.
Vijay Varma as Hamza Sheikh is getting a lot of attention. Negative characters are slightly difficult to pull off but he’s given a stellar performance and we hope to see more of him onscreen soon.
It was great to see the story picking up on positive male role models too. Zulfi as Roshan Mathew delivered a fab performance and held up the reassurance that all men do not need to be flagged under a red banner.
Shout-Out To The Team
Darlings is written by Jasmeet K. Reen, produced by Alia Bhatt, Gauri Khan and Gaurav Varma, under the banner of Red Chilies Entertainment and can be streamed on Netflix.
Darlings has stepped into uncharted waters and the makers must be applauded for a courageous script, sensitive performances, and a narrative that needs to be highlighted in all its complex dimensions. Despite the criticism it has received by many among fans with whom the second half of the show didn’t go down too well – there was a message and an all too familiar story played out in a narrative that related it differently & from an eye-opening perspective. We’ve seen marital abuse play out amongst us all too many times in real-life scenarios. And just for that reason alone, Darlings deserves a watch, applause, and a conversation. So go ahead and watch it, for all the right reasons.
Will you be watching Darlings this week? Let us know!