Right before I watched Darlings, I had read about Mandeep Kaur, a Punjabi woman who committed suicide in New York. Reason? Domestic violence! What shook me the most was that her family was supportive and had also filed a case against her husband but she dismissed it. Now, this is the problem. Women always think that they are capable of changing the man, including his abusive behaviour.
Why did I speak of this case first? Surprisingly, the movie, Darlings is no different. The only relief here is that the lady doesn’t commit suicide. But! She definitely thinks of it. She goes near a window to jump out of it but, thankfully, changes her mind.
Darlings is a realistic story where a woman, who is a victim of domestic violence, denies help thinking that her husband would someday change and then, she would finally have her happily ever after. Badru trembles just at the thought of her husband but continues to smile the next day as if nothing has happened because, like society, she thinks that an abusive husband is to be taken casually. Is she brought up with that thought process? Is that why she is tolerant? No! Badru’s mother constantly tries to convince her daughter to kill her husband so that the horror ends once and for all. She even supports her in filing a police complaint against her husband, Hamza. Badru also feels that she has had enough and files a complaint, but then, just as Mandeep Kaur did in her real life, Badru also dismisses the case as soon as Hamza promises her that he will think seriously about having a child. And that once the child is born, he will be a changed man.
Fortunately, for Badru, things do change after the police complaint as Hamza stops drinking. But! He doesn’t stop drinking for her. He stops drinking because it starts to affect his health. ‘No more drinking’ comes as a warning from his doctor which Badru is unaware of. As you know, a man’s (person’s) character never changes. No matter how hard he tries, his true nature remains the same. One evening, Hamza comes home drunk. Yes, once again! There is a backstory to it which I won’t reveal but he gets to know a few things about his wife which then creates a misunderstanding. That night, he beats her so brutally that Badru loses her child.
Now, for a woman who had taken her husband back only because she wanted a child, the world ends with the death of the child. Badru now wants to put Hamza through the hell he has put her through. She then makes him go through the same torture, physically and emotionally.
What happens next is something you should watch Darlings for. I loved the storyline. But when the tables turn and Badru takes charge, the story seems a little stretched. More like, the writer lost track and didn’t know what the main character of the film wanted to do in her life further. If the character would have gone through that confusion where she truly doesn’t know how to live a life of freedom or how to torture another human being because she is definitely not Hamza, then the story wouldn’t have lost its essence. Unfortunately, there comes a point where you want the story to move in a different direction but it gets lost in confused twists and turns.
Otherwise, Darlings is relatable. You will meet Badru in every lane of the country. While some will openly tell you their tale, some will hide it considering it a shame. And as you see the characters you have read about or personally met in Badru, Darlings won’t disappoint you for sure.
Streaming On: Netflix