Domestic violence and Darlings
In our society, abuse and domestic violence have been kept under wraps. We continue to turn a blind eye to many types of abuse because, “hamara masla nahe hai yeh,” “jinka masla hai wo jaanain,” “dusron ke mamlaat mein nahe bolna chahiye.” And the list goes on. The abuse intensifies. Not only that, but the abuser frequently uses gaslighting and love bombing on the victim as an excuse to keep abusing them. With a touch of humour, Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, and Vijay Verma’s brand-new Netflix film has it all. Which I found to be incredibly strange and eerie.
In Netflix’s new offering, Badru (Alia Bhatt) marries the slick and charming Hamza (Vijay Varma), he quickly begins to binge drink and beat her severely. She doesn’t want to call the police, like many other battered women. Badru is urged to leave Hamza by her mother, Shamshu (Shefali Shah), who was also mistreated by Badru’s father. But even after they complain to the police, who are made out to be fools for comic effect, and Hamza is sentenced to three years in prison, Badru allows herself to be cajoled into dropping the accusations right away. She melts when he says, “Why would I abuse you if I didn’t love you? Hamza becomes more abusive.
He throws her down stairs, resulting in several injuries and a miscarriage, even after giving up drinking for health reasons. Badru and Shamshu question whether they should kill Hamza or merely tie him up and give him sedatives through injection as the attempts at humour continue. They attempt both, another comedic turn of events.
Keep violence and humor separated please!
Darlings fails miserably right off the off because it is rude and inappropriate to utilise domestic abuse as humour. The film frequently treats abuse in a cavalier manner in the name of humour, which is wholly wrong. Why does it take Badru two hours to realise that if she treats Hamza the way he treated her, she will be just as horrible as he is? Hamza is a horrible, unredeemable person, but how is Badru any better once she begins planning to torment and possibly kill him? And what about the humour? How is it helpful to make the police stupid? Would she truly want to kill her husband to put him in jail?
Other offensive points of view are accepted. Someone claims that a forced sterilisation programme is the answer to India’s population issue. Another celebrates China’s one-child policy, which led to the killing of unborn children.
According to a woman, cowardly guys hit women. Why don’t women who hit males act with the same cowardice? (By the way, the man in question gives the woman a bloodied nose right away in response to the “coward” charge.) It’s absurd to think that a battered woman who won’t allow the police put her husband in jail would be able to tie him to railroad tracks and let a train run over him.
Overall, the film’s directing and photography make it enjoyable to watch. Indisputable acting talent belongs to Alia Bhatt. As always, Shefali Shah is fantastic. Vijay Verma is a great addition to the ensemble, but somehow the movie unforgivably mocks abuse victims in many way.
Watch the trailer here
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