A Favourite Film: Darlings

The film shows how Indian women are conditioned to stay in toxic relationships and try to make it work despite all odds.


Bollywood has come of age. Indian audiences are finally being treated to great quality cinema. I don’t mean that we’ve not had fantastic movies, like Mughal-E-Azam, Umrao Jaan, Salaam Bombay, Sholay, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, etc.

However, filmmakers today are willing to make movies that deal with different content. Stories that appeal to the masses and strike a chord within people. Youngsters – men, and women – alike are able to identify with the issues depicted and relate them to their lives. It’s a move away from the Larger than Life stories that we’ve seen a few decades ago.

Also, technically our Indian movies – either Bollywood, Tollywood, or any other regional Cinema are as sound as those being made abroad. 

Last year, the 2022 had a motley list of movies released. Most did not do well at the box office. Nonetheless, there were stories that looked at various issues prevalent in India today. The Kashmir Files, A Thursday, Brahmastra, Dr. G, Jug Jug Jeeyo, and Gangubai Kathiawaad all had something interesting to depict. Fabulous Music was the go-to for Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani’s Jug Jug Jeeyo. A heart-wrenching power packed performance by Alia Bhatt was the highlight of the film Gangubai Kathiawaad. Special Effects that took your breath away marked Brahmastra- part 1. All in all, a fabulous year for movie buffs like me.

My favourite film for this year is a small-budget movie called Darlings. An absolutely beautiful film depicting the life of a mother-daughter duo played by Shefali Shah and Alia Bhatt respectively. The movie uses humor to depict the widely prevalent and horrific issue of Domestic Violence. 

It charts the love story of Alia Bhatt and Vijay Verma- a lower-middle-class couple living in a chawl in Mumbai. Badru (Alia) loves her husband Humza (Vijay) unconditionally and in the hope of a better tomorrow overlooks all his abuse. In spite of repeated warnings from her mother, she stays with him. The 2 female leads share a beautiful relationship and find happiness in the midst of all adversity. They are truly each other’s support system in this big bad world of men. 

The film shows how Indian women are conditioned to stay in toxic relationships and try to make it work despite all odds. When things go out of control, the mother and daughter with the help of a young con man decide to teach Humza a lesson. The comedy used to show the various methods they use is fabulous. It is not at all a dark comedy, in my opinion.

The movie also depicts the life of Shefali a widow who starts her own catering business as she “needs a reason to get out of bed every day”. This resonates with so many women out there, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds.

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I think everyone should watch this movie because it takes a holistic look at life. For women who face domestic violence, it teaches you that more than the violent partner it is the fault of the partner who bears the violence. The first time you bear abuse and suffer silently you give power to your abuser. He thinks he can get away with it. Hence this cycle of abuse continues repeatedly. We saw this in the case of 28-year-old food blogger Shraddha Walkar who was brutally murdered by her abusive partner. The case made national headlines and the accused now faces a prison sentence. 

Women must stand up for themselves and stop tolerating violence be it physical or verbal. Use all the support systems you can garner- speak, write, shout it out but don’t suffer in silence.

Also, I love the ending of the film wherein it shows how Badru lets Humza go and karma takes its course. The flashback at the end shows how Shefali had faced the same kind of horror at the hands of her husband. She has lived many years under that shadow without being able to share the burden with anybody about how her husband had “deserted” her.

Darlings is definitely a film that can be watched again. I’m sure you will discover hidden nuances like fabulous performances, splendid dialogues, and fine character portrayals in the movie every time you watch it. 

A must-watch if you’ve not seen it still! My Darlings, please go check it out!

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About the Author

Meeta Chablani

Hi! I'm Meeta Chablanii- an animator, illustrator a freelance fashion designer and a full time mom to two little brats. My journey of bringing them up forms the backdrop of most of my posts. read more...

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