Most movies end with a marriage and a guarantee of ‘happily ever after,’ but not Darlings. This unconventional movie begins with a marriage that too one which was founded on the grounds of unconditional love. Most marriages have fights, this love marriage though has intense domestic violence. Women telling women’s stories are a rare sight but delightful nonetheless. Directed by Jasmeet K Reen, Co-Produced by Gauri Khan, Alia Bhatt and Gaurav Verma, Darlings is set in the genre of Comedy-Thriller. It is a dark comedy with an objective to unmask the nefarious crimes of an abusive partner. Set in the dream city of Mumbai, Darlings is a movie about a middle-class family of three – husband, Hamza, his wife, Badru, and her mother and their endeavours in relationships and life together.
Darlings stars Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah as a mother-daughter duo striving against all difficulties together. Alia’s husband Hamza is played by the very talented Vijay Varma. There is also Zulfi, a side character, played by Roshan Mathew. The movie also casts The fast-paced movie breaks the myth of being a dark comedy thriller which was assumed from the trailer. It does not host plot twists or thrilling mystery. We see a rat race for employability but what’s bigger than life in this movie is that it also shows the rat race in the love life of a married couple and the problems therewith. Darlings is a satirical portrayal of the existence of abusive marriages and how everything and everyone functions around it.
Jasmeet K Reen’s debutante performance as the Director is commendable alongside the screenplay by Parveez Sheikh. The music of Darlings is by Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar but not that lovable regardless. The direction and cinematography are quiet simple in their linear portrayal of a simple story. It is the actors that give life to this film. Shefali Shah and Alia Bhatt have a command over their acting like none other. They speak with expressions as much as they do with words. Roshan Mathew in his rather short role as a meek family friend speaks volumes as Zulfi. It is Vijay Verma that outshines through the whole film. It is a extremely difficult to be seen amidst such a glorious group of actors but Vijay with his dynamic acting skills and an oscillating character sketch wins hearts. They say if you hate a villain enough, the actor disguised is surely a genius.
Darlings is a simple film written about simple people with simple jokes. It overshadows the minds of its viewers to let them know that it is in this simplicity that heinous crimes like domestic violence are masked. The movie entails friends and colleagues that find the likes of Hamza normal. It has a parlour owner who hears the beating every now and then and only notes sympathetically. It is a wide web of people either being ignorant, giving bad advice or pretending that it is fine. Even in between the couple, it is a fight of man versus woman and how easily the husband accepts he is a bad person and justifies his abuse as bad because he is simply bad.
There is nothing fancy or out of the world about this film. What puts this movie above the rest is its way of storytelling. There seems to be a lot happening in the movie from kidnapping to torture to love to insanity. It mirrors the society in its ways of functioning. Altogether, Darlings is entertaining and mindful of itself. A good watch indeed.
‘Darlings’ is now streaming on Netflix.