Darlings is a whimsical social thriller that breaks down the barriers that allow patriarchy to stroll into the house. It is a melodrama about a bad marriage that values restraint and simplicity. Provocative wit and quirky humour are used to present a tale about marital conflict in the manner of a revenge drama.
Shefali Shah, Vijay Verma, and Alia Bhatt’s innate grace often sanitises the conventional parts they play. Shefali Shah is as as vivacious as ever, and both Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah excel in a challenging role.
Story – Darlings
The three major characters in Darlings, Jasmeet K. Reen’s first film as a director, are a violent husband, a hopeful wife, and the mother of the latter. The individual who is prone to violence does not acknowledge that his mistakes are unforgivable. The domestic abuse survivor also appears to be at peace with her lot. Only the elderly lady, who is aware of how such toxic relationships typically end, is adamant that the miscreant deserves to be disciplined. There is not much drama when a mother and daughter argue. There is also no genre constraints on plotting or carrying out revenge.
Despite all the warning signs in their relationship, Badru (Alia) chooses to love her spouse, Hamza (Vijay Varma), without conditions. Additionally, her mother’s (Shefali Shah) repeated cautions went unheeded. The young wife, who comes from a modest family, keeps holding out hope for a brighter tomorrow until things go a little too far.
Badrunissa Shaikh, commonly known as Badru, marries Hamza Shaikh when he accepts a job as TC in the government. Darlings female heroine, Badru, struggles to hold on to her waning dreams while supporting her violent, inebriated husband. Alia delivers the role with complete sincerity, portraying all the contrasts in both the character’s plight and her hesitant response to it.
Her neighboring mother, Shamsunnisa (Shefali Shah), has been through a lot and is wiser because of it. She implores her traumatised daughter to act because she believes Hamza is beyond salvation.
The Netflix Drama
Three years later, in Bhatt’s post-marriage life, we see her getting beat up every night for a different cause. A kankar in the meal, or she may just have gone to a colony gathering without her husband’s consent. Secondly, he believes she is having an affair at the moment. The torture gets worse every day, until one day Badru decides to stand up and take charge. Following that, Darlings shows how a middle-class mother-daughter pair (Shah and Bhatt), who are troubled by their own personal problems, progressively discovers their inner strength to persevere in a big city like Mumbai, despite all challenges.
Darlings opening song, Pleaj, features lyrics by Gulzar and is set in a lower middle-class Muslim neighborhood in Mumbai. This makes it evident that the creators of the movie intend to break the mould. Pleaj perfectly captures the atmosphere and spirit of the narrative.
Darlings, a Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt co-production from Red Chillies Entertainment and Eternal Sunshine Productions,
Darlings clearly lays out all of its cards, but it shuffles them such that it is difficult to see how they all fit together. The story of a young lady living in an unpleasant marriage seems to be the focus of the film.
However, the film expands beyond the walls of one house and what transpires there to expose the horrors of toxic masculinity, the underlying gender imbalance in the institution of marriage, and the destiny that middle-class ambitions endure when they clash with societal and economic reality.
Without Shefali and Alia, Darlings would not be the gripping case study on domestic violence that it is today. The exceptional performances and chemistry of the two women more than make up for the occasionally slow pace.
The highlight – Darlings
The mother and daughter’s connection sets the tone for this movie, whether it be via heartbreaking emotional scenes or harsher events made lighter with subtle humour. They effortlessly assume the identities of their characters, rely on one another’s zeal for acting, and enthrall you with their story. The bravery of this domestic drama, which confronts male power, physical and emotional abuse, and intimidation, is most seen in how, after being left by the men in their life, the women decide not to perceive themselves as victims. The amazing performances by Shefali and Alia are among the many good reasons to watch this film.
Mother and daughter swiftly devise a plan to hold Hamza accountable for his wrongdoings. And when things completely spin out of hand and they are placed in a scenario from which there is no way out. The action is risky and sets off circumstances over which they have little control.
The fourth major character in Darlings is Zulfi (Roshan Mathew), who contrasts Hamza in every way. The self-effacing man was an aspiring screenwriter in addition to being Shamshu’s sole delivery boy and having a job advertising household goods.
The relationship between the mother and daughter sets the tone for the whole film, whether it be via tragic, emotional scenes or harsher ones that are made fun of inadvertently. They seamlessly adopt their characters’ skin, feed off of each other’s enthusiasm as performers, and carry you along with their narrative. There are numerous reasons to see this movie, but Shefali and Alia’s excellent performances top the list.
Review of the film Darlings
Alia Bhatt has once again proved why she is not overhyped. She is only proving all that was said about her in the most recent Koffee with Karan season. She has embodied Badru better than anybody else could have, even down to the accent and body language.
Despite Alia’s super performance in Darlings, Vijay Varma is the movie’s most fascinating component. The artist in him takes ownership of his animosity towards Hamza to the point where it nearly seems as though he is feasting on it to develop his persona.
Performance by a Star Shefali Shah carries the story like butter. Shefali Shah carries the emotional weight behind the mask of her eccentric personality immaculately well. Following Choked, Roshan Mathew chooses yet another intriguing persona that best represents his abilities. Notably, his part is used as comedic relief in the second half. Despite having less speech, Rajesh Sharma gives his portrayal some depth.