Darlings Movie Review – A Well Worked Dark Comedy on Abuse
Directed by: Jasmeet K. Reen
Written by:Parveez Sheikh, Jasmeet K. Reen
Dialogue by: Vijay Maurya, Parveez Sheikh, Jasmeet K. Reen
Produced by: Gauri Khan, Alia Bhatt, Gaurav Verma
Starring: Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma, Roshan Mathew
Cinematography: Anil Mehta
Edited by: Nitin Baid
Music by; Score:Prashant Pillai
Songs: Vishal Bhardwaj, Mellow D
Production companies: Red Chillies Entertainment, Eternal Sunshine Productions
Distributed by: Netflix
Release date: 5th August 2022
Running time: 134 minutes
Badru believes that if her volatile husband quits drinking, he would change. When his rage becomes too much for her, she and her mother openly, though clumsily, seek vengeance.
Set in Mumbai’s Byculla district, the story immerses us in the lives of Badru (Alia Bhatt) and Hamza (Vijay Verma). After three years, they look to be a lovey-dovey couple, but Hamza appears to believe violence is also part of the ordinary coexistence of a man and a woman living under a roof. He punches her, she sobs, he apologizes, and she feels it has more to do with the vodka in his stomach than the emptiness in his skull. It’s a destructive trend, a common pattern that we all notice but overlook, similar to one of the beautician who lives a floor below the pair in Darlings.
I don’t think its even obvious that the movie is by a debutant director. The execution was so clean and perfect. While the film has a comical and dark comedy tone, the underlying message is quite different. Jasmeet K Reen’s direction is superb, and it’s tough to believe that this is her feature film debut given how beautifully she handles the topic. The theme is appropriate since many people can connect to it, and it will be therapeutic for them to witness how Badru and Shamshu teach Hamza a lesson by taking revenge.
Furthermore, the film does not get difficult and is delivered in such a way that it may appeal to a wide range of people. However, a few details and subtleties are original and add to the overall impression. The way the mother and daughter connect via the window, for example, is amazing. Furthermore, Badru dressing up in the gorgeous one-shoulder red dress while not hiding her scars is remarkable.
Alia Bhatt selected a tough subject like domestic abuse for her production company’s debut film. It is the characters’ aspirations, desires, and sorrow that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. It is a hard-hitting film that makes you realize that once an abuser, always an abuser is the truth and nothing but the truth.
Alia Bhatt plays the naive woman who feels she can reform her husband. She also carries the film as an actor, as one would expect from someone who has given us Udta Punjab, Gully Boy, and Gangubai Kathiawadi. She is a star of her own indeed. Alia is already at peak and has delivered tremendously amazing films and roles with her stunning performances and here is Badru, another feather in her hat!
Vijay Varma seemed to have mastered the grey-shaded persona, crying sympathy tears to get his way, transforming from a loving spouse to a vicious demon in the blink of an eye. He really nailed his role!
Shefali portrays a sensible mother attempting to show her daughter the realities of her marriage. She plays the eccentric part effortlessly and is the major source of comedic relief in numerous moments. On film, Alia and Shefali are hilarious as mother and daughter.
A title card at the end of the Darlings film warns, “Warning: Violence against women is harmful to health.” It’s a lesson Hamza (Vijay Varma) learns firsthand when his wife Badru (Alia Bhatt) takes him captive in their own house after years of domestic violence.
Domestic violence can be in any way and not just physical. In Darlings, we can see that the victim of an abuse often finds it hard to break the cycle and move forth or take any action until something big happens and reality hits. Its never too late to stand up and fight against an abuse. This film is a good watch for that reason alone. But I do not encourage violence as a resort to sort the issue. There are other means. Films are meant to be both educational and fictional.
Overall, Darlings is a humorous entertainment with a few hard-hitting moments thrown in for good measure. The award-winning performances of Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, and Vijay Varma are the icing on the cake. Excellent!