Darling’s Rating 3.5/5 & Rating
darlings is a hilarious entertainer and at the same time packed with badass moments
DARLINGS is the story of a woman trapped in an abusive marriage. Badrunissa aka Badru (Ali Bhatt) is the daughter of Shamshunissa Ansari aka Shamshu (Shefali Shah). Her father died many years ago. Badru and Hamza Sheikh (Vijay Varma) are in love with each other. After Hamza gets a job on the railroad, he proposes marriage. Both get married and move into an apartment in Barha Chawl, Mumbai. Shamshu also resides in the same chawl, also on the same floor.
Three years pass, and Hamza is revealed to be an alcoholic and a womanizer. He would attack Badru at night over trivial matters. In the morning he would apologize or express regret for the violence. Badru would then forgive him. Shamshu hates seeing her daughter get beat up by Hamza. She suggests that she get rid of him and even kill him if possible! However, Badru feels that he will change one day and that might happen when they have a baby. She tells him to stop drinking, but he doesn’t.
One day he finds out that he has cirrhosis of the liver. The doctor warns him that if he drinks he could die. Hamza hides this information from her and pretends to have stopped drinking alcohol for good. Her life gets better and Badru is on cloud nine. She gets pregnant. All is going well until Hamza becomes violent again, this time without drinking, attacking Badru so violently that she miscarries. She is taken to the hospital. Here she decides to take revenge and stop suffering. She asks the doctor for sleeping pills because she complains of insomnia. She lies about it and gives Hamza the pills without his knowledge. As soon as he goes to sleep, she ties him up. Shamshu becomes her accomplice, although she doesn’t understand what her daughter is up to with Hamza. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The story of Jasmeet K Reen and Parveez Shaikh is impressive. The script, written by Jasmeet K Reen and Parveez Shaikh, is extremely entertaining and effective. It provides laughs while making an important comment on domestic violence. The characters are also well developed by the authors. Vijay Maurya, Jasmeet K Reen and Parveez Shaikh’s dialogue brings the house down
Jasmeet K Reen’s direction is excellent and it’s hard to imagine this being her feature film debut as she has handled the subject so well. The topic chosen is correct as several can relate to it; and it will be cathartic for them to see Badru and Shamshu teach Hamza a lesson. In addition, the film does not become complicated and is told in such a simple way that it can appeal to a large part of the audience. However, some aspects and nuances are creative and enhance the impact. For example, the way mother and daughter communicate through the window is very beautiful. Also, it’s unforgettable how Badru dresses up in the hot red one-shoulder dress but is careful not to hide her scars. On the other hand, some developments are very practical. It’s also baffling why Hamza doesn’t scream for help when he’s kidnapped, especially when it’s clear what’s happening in her home is being heard by other residents. Finally, after one point, the redevelopment angle and Shamshu’s cooking shop somehow doesn’t sit well with the main narrative.
Favorites | Official Trailer | Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma, Roshan Mathew | Netflix India
DARLINGS starts on a sweet note. The first installment of domestic violence leaves you shocked, even though the creators don’t show the violence. The film gets a bit repetitive here, showing Hamza losing his mind and beating up and Badru would forgive her the next day. It’s important, however, as the creators needed to lay solid groundwork for Hamza to teach her husband a lesson.
The police station scene in the first half is quite captivating, as is the sequence where Shamshu Badru tells the story of the scorpion and the frog. Badru, Shamshu and Hamza’s drama in the taxi and Hamza intimidating Zulfi (Roshan Mathew) are also quite memorable. After the break, the movie gets better as Badru and Shamshu have to hide Hamza while keeping him tied up. Two scenes stand out here – Hamza’s boss Damle (Kiran Karmarkar) arrives at Hamza’s house and Hamza at the police station. The climax could have been better, but it’s still fine and entertaining. The last scene is inspirational.
Alia Bhatt delivers another award-winning performance. She slips into her character beautifully and looks absolutely convincing as a devoted wife with simple dreams for the future. Her brutal transformation is immaculately portrayed by the actor too. Shefali Shah is a capable support, and as expected, she ups the madness by many tiers. Vijay Varma delivers one of his best performances. You can’t help but hate his character thanks to the way he portrayed him. Roshan Mathew is gorgeous and gives another fine performance. Kiran Karmarkar causes laughter. Vijay Maurya (Inspector Rajaram Tawde) is decent and the same goes for Santosh Juvekar (Constable Jadhav). Puja Sarup (Noor; beauty salon owner) leaves a mark. Rajesh Sharma (Kasim Kasai), Ajit Kelkar (Raman Kaka) and Divya Vinekar (Constable Divya) are fine.
The music is well woven into the film, although none of the songs are of any chartbuster variety. The title track is funky. ‘Dil Lailaaj’ is soulful during ‘Bhasad’ is evil. Prashant Pillai’s background music fits the mood of the film. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is decent. Garima Mathur’s production design is very realistic. Veera Kapur Ee’s costumes come directly from everyday life. Sunil Rodrigues’ action is realistic. Nitin Baid’s cut is sharp.
Overall, DARLINGS is a hilarious entertainer while also being riddled with hard-hitting moments. Award-winning performances by Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah and Vijay Varma serve as the icing on the cake. Recommended!