Trigger Warning: The article contains distressing content. Reader discretion is advised.
Alia Bhatt starrer Darlingswas released on Netflix on August 5. Directed by debutante Jasmeet K. Reen, the movie has stellar performances by Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma, and Roshan Mathew. As a black comedy-drama, the comedy does emerge from a dark place but, keeping the context in mind, it keeps you glued and you always root for Badrunissa while hating her husband with every move.
Sadly, Badru is the personification of the stereotypical patriarchal mindset which hopes that a child will make the marriage right. The movie paints a real picture of domestic violence. Amidst all the uproar that emerged from people who haven’t watched Darlings, here are 12 hard-hitting moments from the movie that brings you the ugly truth, a woman’s agency, and divine intervention.
P.S: Spoilers ahead.
1. When Badru cups her palms in front of Hamza when he bites a stone in his food.
This was the first time the audience comes face to face with the reality of Badru and Hamza’s marriage. The fact that she instantly brings her palm for him to spit out the stone shows how often this incident has happened in their household. And when he finds a stone again, the face of regret Badru makes instantly runs a chill down your spine.
2. When Badru’s mother, Shamsunissa, sees the choke mark on her neck.
Her first question is “ab kya ki?” (translation: what did you do now?). Shamshu is fully aware of how Hamza treats her daughter. She often asks her daughter to leave her husband and move in with her. But Badru believes in the age-old narrative that it is the alcohol that makes her husband behave that way. All the while bringing us face to face with the ugly truth of how Badru has normalized this violence in her life.
3. When Badru breaks the plates.
This is possibly the only time we see the docile Badru expressing her rage. And this time, unlike usual, she did not say goodbye to Hamza before he left for work. She was almost at her tipping point.
4. Hamza, the gaslighter.
“Pyaar nahi karta, toh maarta kyun? Tum pyaar nahi karti, toh sehti kyun?” (Translation: If I didn’t love you, would I hit you? If you didn’t love me, would you tolerate it?) And just like that, Badru falls for this manipulative trick again and refuses to file a complaint against her abusive husband. She believes her husband has changed, but only the audience knows the worst is yet to come.
5. When Shamshu and the policeman give the audience a taste of reality.
In this scene at the police station, the cops tell the duo that they can take a stand against domestic abuse now. But Shamshu tells the cops how the reality is far from it. Also while filing the papers, Shamshu asks herself why do men treat women disrespectfully after drinking alcohol. The cop says it’s only because the women allow them to. An allusion to Badru putting up with Hamza’s abuse.
6. When Shamshu tells Badru how some men don’t change.
You have to watch this scene where Shamshu tells her daughter the story of a frog and a scorpion just after the situation at the police station. She warns Badru that some men are like scorpions and hurting others is a part of their unchangeable nature. The audience knows who she is talking about, but again Badru is clouded in her judgement.
7. When Badru chooses Hamza over her mother.
In a fit of rage, Hamza hits Shamshu. Shamshu has had enough and asks Badru to leave her husband right then and there. But because Hamza has gaslighted and manipulated Badru to such an extent, she chooses him. This is when Shamshu is beyond hurt because even after he hit her, Badru chose to remain blind.
8. When Badru leaves the hospital.
In a turn of events, Badru has a miscarriage. This leaves her emotionally scarred but also opens her eyes to all the abuse she endured all these years. She leaves the hospital with her mind fixed on doing just one thing – that is teaching Hamza a lesson.
9. When Badru realizes that she cannot ask for her respect from others.
Only when Badru leaves Hamza to his fate on the railway tracks does she realize that she has become just like him. She took this route to make him have some respect for her. But then she realizes that the respect is hers and can only come from within herself.
10. When divine powers take Hamza’s case into their own hands.
After Badru decides to leave Hamza, he taunts her how a docile person like her would do things by herself. But Badru has made up her mind. She leaves him. While they leave from the tracks, divine powers work their magic.
11. When the duo realizes that Badru is free from abuse.
This scene between the mother and daughter doesn’t have much dialogues. But you can see the glimmer of hope in their eyes that things have indeed changed for the better.
12. When Badru learns of her mother’s truth.
The lack of dialogue in this scene makes it even more heart-wrenching. Badru learns of her mother’s truth and then they realize that they only have each other.
Some scenes can get triggering, but overall Darlingsmakes for a good watch. The movie, like every other movie, needs to be seen in its context. In the end, you can only feel happy for Badru.
All images have been taken from Netflix unless specified otherwise.