Dozens and dozens of couples have a fixer-fixee dynamic. It only intensifies in Indian society when the wife spares no effort to fix her husband, even if it means glossing over his abuse—mental or physical— in the process.
Taking a step in the right direction, Netflix’s newest dark comedy-drama Darlings explores a similar equation between a couple and mirrors nothing but brutal reality.
Captained Jasmeet K Reen, this film stars Alia Bhatt as a loving wife Badru, and Vijay Varma playing the violent husband Hamza, in which Badru is trapped in an endless loop of being mistreated, getting love bombed, and hopefully allowing second chances.
To give a wake-up call to every woman, these scenes in Darlings prove that no abusive husband deserves a second chance.
1. When Hamza pretended that he was guilty of mistreating Badru the previous night.
Hamza tried to strangle Badru with his own hands the previous evening only because he detected little pieces of stone in the rice. The way Badru extends her palm to allow him to spit the stone indicates that a similar incident has happened before, just like Hamza’s drama of feeling guilty. The first time is a mistake, the second time it’s a conscious choice. It’s not meant to be pardoned.
2. When he behaved monstrously the moment he found out that Badru has mixed anti-abuse medicine in his dinner.
When several attempts to make him quit alcohol failed, she mixed the meds in his food which could do him no harm. To make a point, Hamza practically grabbed her by the neck and forced her face up to the gas-lit utensil. This should have been a clue for Badru to leave him, yet she stayed.
3. When Hamza humiliated Badru in front of all the colony members.
Hamza would lash out anytime he felt like it, regardless of where he was or who he was speaking to. When Badru attended a society meeting without his knowledge, his rage knew no bounds.
4. When Hamza’s psychotic maneuver got worse as he played the Five Finger Fillet with Badru.
After Badru attended the society meeting, Hamza also discovered that she had ordered stylish heels for herself. Despite Badru telling him that it was an attempt to literally woo him, he frantically started stabbing between her fingers… with the heel.
5. When he tried to masquerade his cruelty as love right before his arrest.
In a desperate attempt to make Badru drop the complaint, he started manipulating her like he always did, knowing that the tricks up his sleeve will always work.
6. When he persuaded Badru that her dream of having a happy life with a child is impossible without him.
Hamza was well aware of Badru’s weakness. He convinced her that he will change after they had a child, something she has been fervently hoping for. Little did she know it was only an attempt to get out of jail.
7. When he stepped over the line and attacked Badru’s mother.
He was furious about the complaint against him and suspected Badru’s mother Shamshu. When he received a befitting response from Shamshu, Hamza didn’t flinch away from hitting her in the face too.
8. When Badru realised that alcohol wasn’t the reason for his abusive behaviour but his own nature was.
After discovering that her friend Zulfi complained against him, Hamza barbarically assaulted Badru despite knowing that she was pregnant. Although he had been sober for weeks, the demon that still lived inside of him caused Badru’s miscarriage.
9. When Hamza, until his last moment, kept spewing filth for Badru.
Hence proved: No number of chances could transform him into a better human being.
Second chances are an exception to the rule and abusers never deserve that.