#BingeRecommends: Darlings is an acquired taste of a dark-comic revenge fantasy with an impactful lesson on domestic violence

Sakshi Sharma
New Update

An accurate tale of marital abuse that takes a turn on its head, Darlings works best as a fulfillment of fantasy for revenge while teaching you a lesson or two about how the world works.

Domestic Violence or Marital Abuse is not something that is uncommon or unheard of but is something that we usually tend to not talk about or hide under the rug. And while the internet world or Twitter buzzes with debate and discussions about it but the conversations to convert into actions are yet to be seen on a broad spectrum. It's that uncomfortable horrible truth of our society that often is best ignored or adjusted with but that doesn't make it an unnecessary invalid truth. So while you and I can still indulge in having endless debates on domestic violence or bring about a change, but Darlings on Netflix is a huge step forward towards representing a mirror to society as well as teaching women a lesson in standing up for themselves in the right way.

This dark comedy (Darlings) follows the story of a sweet, naive, full of fantasy girl Badrunissa (Alia Bhatt) who is irrevocable in love with Hamza (Vijay Verma) and gets married to him. But after some time in her marriage, we see Badru constantly being beaten up by Hamza for something as trivial as finding a stone in food, or a new pair of heels, to something as crazy as accusing her of having an extramarital affair. Her constant support is her mother Shamshu (Shefali Shah) who always gives her crazy ideas of killing her husband so she could be free from him. But Badru is an optimist believer who thinks she can change him and tries everything but shit heats the fan ceiling when she miscarries her baby. And that's when this dark comedy turns into a revenge fantasy as Badru starts torturing Hamza with the help of her mother Shamshu and a humdard, Zulfi (Roshan Matthew). 

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But the way the film ends and the story of the scorpion and the frog doesn't make this film an entire revenge fantasy and rather leaves a strong message with you while teaching Hamza a lesson. It's evident that violence in all its domesticity takes the forefront of the film whether against a woman or a man but the film also teaches you that it is not the end solution to the problem. Rather the fable of the scorpion and the frog helps in underlining the message of the film to a highlight which is don't become a scorpion to stop one rather beware of the scorpions of this world and don't carry them on your backs as a frog. This fable as a metaphor is a really smart and interesting addition to the film.

Dark comedy is itself a hard genre because this form of comedy is not haha funny, but rather the situations in which these characters are placed and their reactions to it make it look funny. To imply this genre to tell a topic as sensitive as domestic violence could be considered a gamble but one that paid off brilliantly for this film. Why? It employs our own perceptions against the plot of the film while also pitting characters with each other and giving us something to relate to. For instance, kadipata churana, mother-daughter jugaad to buy things from Zulfi, or Shamshu-Badru's interaction with the police, a newly to be wedded bride getting ready in a parlor getting scared of the noises of domestic violence that she can hear, and how just like us, the film's own characters also find it hard to believe that a woman could beat up and torture a man in her own home. All of these instances and many more are sure to make you chuckle but, interestingly enough put up a mirror on our society as well.

But the most interesting method used here is not showing you the immense abuse and instead making you listen to how it sounds. This non-visibility and yet being visible through your ears presents an actual metaphor of how society behaves towards domestic violence. And then Shanshu's line that Twitter ke liye duniya badli hai asal mein nahi puts a hardcore stamp on it.

The setting, the costumes, the hair and make-up, the accent, the dialogues, and even the performance of all of these talented actors makes the Darlings world all the more real. But it's the genius writing and the direction by Jasmeet K Reen that makes this film a pertinent chapter in domestic violence to be definitely seen and heard. Because while the film fulfills the female's outmost and first most desire of giving the same hell to that man who gave her hell, it doesn't glorify it and teaches a lesson in what not to do. It also masters the art of telling the real picture of domestic violence; how it works not in a physical sense but in a psychological sense. Case in point - how every time Hamza slyly convinces-manipulates Badru.

Darlings while being a film that tells us exactly what happens inside a house it also becomes a film about what happens inside our society. And most all while it goes inside the mind and the heart of a woman (why shamshu did what she did, why badru believes) it also goes inside the mind and heart of a man (Hamza's job and boss), and doesn't demonizes while doesn't justify him as well. And while it is a film about domestic violence yet it also leaves you with a little hope (Badru's freedom, and Zulfi)! And while it takes a little while for the film to be etched in your mind making it an acquired taste (this might be because of the unique tone of the film) but once etched you can't get it out for sure.

And who thought Gulzar Sahabh could write lyrics like these which just tells you that the jodi of Vishal Bhardwaj-Gulzar Sahabh should be more and more utilized in films and music!

Darlings currently streaming on Netflix is a must-watch in all its senses! 

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