Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, and Vijay Verma starrer Darlings was released on Netflix on August 5. This dark comedy-drama is directed by Jasmeet K. Reem. The movie’s comedy stems from the dark topic of domestic abuse and toxic marriage. With the stellar performances of the well-talented actors, Darlings make a good watch. While there are some misses, the movie still manages to grab your attention and root for Badrunissa as you hate her husband with every move.
This movie is just a reminder of how the patriarchal mindset runs so deep among many Indian men and Indian women. With powerful hard-hitting scenes, this movie reveals the ugly reality of many women stuck in toxic and abusive marriages.
Here is the much-needed disclaimer. Some of the details of the article may be distressing. We advise readers’ discretion.
1. When Badru pulls her palms in front of Hamza to spit out the stone found in the food
This powerful scene is just a reminder of how women struggle in an abusive marriage. This scene reveals the ugly reality of Badru and Hamza’s marriage. When Hamza bites a stone in his food, Badru brings her palm for him to spit out the stone. And, when he finds another stone, the face of Badru instantly tells you the horror story of her suffering.
2. When Badru reveals the choke mark on her neck to her mother, Shamsunissa
When Shamsunissa saw that choke mark, her first reaction is “ab kya ki?” (what did you do now?). Knowing how Hamza treats her daughter, she often tells her to leave her abusive husband and move in with her. But, sadly, Badru believes that her husband is good but it’s alcohol that makes him mistreat her. Like many women in toxic marriages, this scene is just a revelation of how Badru normalized violence in her life.
3. When the movie reveals how Hamza the gaslighter manipulates Badru
“Pyaar nahi karta, toh maarta kyun? Tum pyaar nahi karti, toh sehti kyun?” (If I didn’t love you, would I hit you? If you didn’t love me, would you tolerate it?) And, so easily, Badru falls for this standard manipulative trick of any gaslighter or an abusive partner. She refuses to file any complaint against Hamza. And, just like many victims of abuse, she believes that her abusive husband has changed. But, with time, it is revealed how much wrong she was!
4. Powerful scene between Shamshu and the policeman reveals the ugly reality of many abusive husbands
The powerful scene is one of the finest moments of the movie. In this scene, the cops tell the mother-daughter duo that they can take a stand against domestic abuse now. But, Shamshu tells the policemen that the reality is very different.
Shamshu further asks the cop why men treat women so brutally after drinking alcohol.
To which policeman had a simple but hard-hitting reply – because women allow them to. This scene just reflects how Badru normalizes Hamza’s abuse.
5. When Shamshu tells Badru how some men don’t change.
In One of the most powerful scenes in the movie, this scene captures Shamshu telling her daughter the story of a frog and a scorpion. She warns Badru how some men are like scorpions and hurting others is part of who they are.
6. When Badru chooses Hamza over her mother.
This scene gives the audience the most hard-hitting glimpse into the mind of the victim, who has been manipulated and gaslighted. When Hamza hit Shamshu, Shamshu had enough and asks her daughter to leave her husband. But, sadly, Badru is so much manipulated by Hamsa that she chooses him over her mother. This scene breaks Shamshu as even after hitting her, Badru chooses him and ignores his abusive nature.
7. When the mother-daughter powerful team realizes that Badru is not an abuse victim anymore
This beautiful scene doesn’t have many words or grand gestures. This simple scene touches your heart as you witness the gleaming hope in their eyes that tells you that things have indeed changed for the better.
There are some scenes that can act as a trigger for domestic abuse survivors. While the movie may have received mixed reactions, you couldn’t stop yourself from rooting for Badru. In case you want to watch it, here’s the link.
All images are sourced from Netflix. You can watch the dark comedy.