Along with Shefali Shah, Alia Bhatt Darlings on Netflix is making the headlines. While the Indian movie Darlings is doing great on Netflix, it has also stirred the conversation about whether it tried to glorify domestic abuse or not. It’s been a long time since any Indian movie attracted your attention and after watching it you will not regret it.
Darlings is definitely a realistic portrayal of a domestic abuse victim however the ending of the movie belongs to Utopia (imaginary world). The article contains the Darlings review and side by side, we are going to discuss the harsh realities of life.
Let’s take a small look at the storyline of Darlings:
The story is about a girl married to the ‘Darling’ of his life. Vijay Varma is playing the role of Hamza who is always in a drunken state but more than that he believes he has acquired the status of a master. Badru is a typical housewife who cleans and cooks for her husband but she is a lively girl who often forgives her husband’s mistreatment. Her mother Shamshunissa lives in the same neighbourhood and often asks Badru to leave her husband but Badru believes her love will change Hamza one day. Hamza does not change.
Shamshunissa often asks Badru to kill Hamza instead so he would not come back later to ruin her life but Badru has a good heart and besides, she loves Hamza. After Hamza kill her child (their child) and Badru has an abortion she decides not to bear it anymore. She kidnaps Hamza and keeps him in her house in the hope that he would change.
Her mother gives her a reality check many times that it is not possible to trust a Scorpio (that is an important story). Soon, Badru realizes that her mother is right and she decides to kill him. At the last moment, she saves him but this time luck is on her side and Hamza gets killed in a train accident. They get successful to prove that Hamza committed suicide.
Dark Humour/ Dark Comedy in Darlings :
The irony of life is portrayed perfectly in the Darlings. One woman’s husband is beating her upstairs, while the other woman who is going to be a bride is getting ready for her married life in the salon. The reaction of the bride-to-be is exactly on point, this is what many young girls are being afraid of, getting mistreatment or abuse in the marriage.
After Badru kept her husband hostage and tries to do the same as he did, he gets frightened. These types of men are cowards at heart, the day their wives would hold something to beat them up they become so weak.
Why do people think Darlings glorified domestic abuse?
The movie Darlings consists of a long chain of abuse and you leave hope that this is not going to change and Badru will keep getting abused at the hand of her husband. However, the movie is showing the realistic portrayal of a woman that can not only be found in India but also in Pakistan. A girl who gets married is supposed to live in her husband’s home until her death. “Darlings” is showing a love marriage abuse, but it is the same in the case of arranged marriage.
The women keep getting verbal and physical abuse in the hope that their husbands would change. Many are staying in abusive marriages because of their children. They have the thinking that at least we are getting food and where we will go after leaving him.
It is true education play a vital role in women’s empowerment that gives her hope and courage to leave the toxic marriage because she can earn but it is also true that still, this society is unable to accept her. Society (ironically mostly women) will eventually try to prove her characterless.
A true story of a Pakistani woman who is cheated on and getting abused but still believes her husband loves her:
(The story is long but will try to keep it short, the narrator has observed the abuse so there is not even a single lie)
I and my husband were in love and we got married. His family was financially better than us but after I got married, I experienced that they are also inhuman. All the affection and good treatment are for my husband’s sisters and mother. I started getting hostile treatment from day one as this was a love marriage (the other way of fooling a woman) and also because my family was not financially strong as my inlaws think of themselves.
When my husband’s sisters or mother complain to him about something (that usually contains lies), without asking me he starts abusing me and soon beating me. In my first pregnancy, he even pushed me with force because his mother complained (lying) to him.
The biggest betrayal:
I was going through extreme depression because the situation is getting worse until one day, I received a phone call that “I am the second wife of your husband, he married me a few weeks ago“. I went to my father-in-law, who used to do religious sermons and tell him about it. He did not listen to me and instead just said, “I do not care, what can I do” (perhaps you could teach your son some morals instead of preaching to others).
After a few days, I got to know that my husband’s brother and his elder married sister also attended his second wedding. The second wife came to my inlaw’s house (it can never be a woman’s house until her mother-in-law is alive) and my sister-in-law threatened me that she will try her best to throw me out of the house. The second wife of my husband was 12 years younger than him and a cousin. He used to visit their house and they fell in love (so-called loyalty of men).
My sister-in law advised the second wife of my husband to show more affection to my children and after they will throw me out of the house. My brothers asked me to leave the house with the children. I left the house for a while because I was heartbroken.
At one time, he used to call me and threatened me with divorce in front of his parents and in their absence, he used to ask for reconciliation with affection. After thinking for many days, I looked at my daughters and son and thought at least their father will provide them with every facility of life which I cannot provide. I came back and started living with my second wife.
The only good thing that happened is he bought a separate house and we started living there without inlaws. The abusive relationship is the same with the second wife as men’s nature cannot change. She also cannot go back as she married him against her parents’ wish.
Where the problem lies:
The woman told me that “my husband used to meet many women even before his second marriage and I knew it. I pretended that everything is alright”. She still believes her husband loves her and takes care of her while both wives are afraid of their inlaws. They both know that he will leave them if his mother or sisters will say anything against them so they try their best to take care of them even if they are living separately.
It’s like a relationship between slave and master. I was amused to see the belief that after all the cheating, the verbal and physical abuse of years, this woman still believes that her husband loves her and that one-day things would be better.
What’s this real-life story have to do with Darlings?
The purpose is to prove what Badru was doing many women are doing the same. They are living a life of constant fear or fooling themselves that their husbands love them. The only difference is that Badru’s fate did justice to her and her husband was killed in the end while in the case of many women the abuse is going to continue until their death.
The truth is more than 80 per cent of women who face abuse in their marriages are because of their inlaws and the irony is in the hands of their husband’s mother and sisters. There is hardly any concept of living separately from inlaws (in Pakistan), especially in the first few years of marriage (maybe 5 to 10 years) and you can only live separately after the death of your husband’s parents.
If a woman is getting abused by her husband, her inlaws and the society (ironically mostly women) will say, oh she must have done something so he beat her (no, he is just a psychopath, a misogynist and has a superiority complex, that is in fact inferiority complex)
Who is at fault and why do women live in abusive marriages?
The educated ones, the women with supporting families and with conscious can say that the women are themselves responsible for the continuous abuse. They can leave them and earn for themselves. Yes, this is true. The children who live in constant abuse either turn into the same monsters or become weak and cowards. They go through serious depression.
- Earning is one of the biggest reasons that women live in abusive marriages. Education is a must for a woman and those parents who cannot afford it should at least teach some skills to their daughters. Most people have the concept oh we do not want our daughters to earn, they should stay at home. What about teaching them some skills so that they would not live with a monster and earn for themselves?
- The other reason is the unacceptance of parents. If a woman’s husband is dead that she is somehow welcome in her parents’ house, otherwise everyone will advise her to go back and things will be changed one day. Many women have reached old age in the hope that their husbands would change. Those parents who are supportive even if they are poor, their daughters live with dignity. If it is easy for them to face society? No. However, they know how to answer them or do not answer them at all.
- The third reason is this society is not safe for single women and it is the same for unmarried girls. There is no concept that a girl will live alone and if someone knows that she lives alone, soon she will be raped or sexually assaulted. Society is even crueller for a divorced woman. Men think now she is available for all and if she would complain they will say, “oh if she would be that good, why would her husband leave her” even if she is the one who filed for a divorce?
The only thing that can stop the growth of a woman is to prove her characterless and if we say these things do not affect us it is not true. The negativity eventually starts seeping into your body. The other thing is to constantly treat her like a victim even if she is feeling like a free person. where ever she will go, and even if she is married again people will keep repeating her past in order to hurt her.
The only way to get rid of all this is to stop listening to what people say and focus on your growth. Stop visiting those relatives who make you feel inferior or try to mock you. If you find a good person, get married a second time and if you think you do not want to, this is absolutely okay. You should earn for yourself and live for yourself.
Do not listen to those people who use religion to say that you will be rewarded in afterlife for tolerating all the abuse. You are not born to suffer and you do not need to wait until death for a sigh of relief. People use religion where it benefits them and you are not responsible that someone is failed to be a good human.
This is not an easy road in the beginning but eventually, it will be. You do not have to wait for your husband’s death, bad people in real life do not die that easily.
Watch on Netflix