At the heart of Darlings is the volatile marriage of a young Muslim couple.

Domestic violence
India: Netflix audiences jump on "Darlings"

Domestic violence is no laughing matter, but a dark comedy streaming on Netflix on the topic is wowing audiences in India

Starring Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah and Vijay Varma in the lead roles, Darlings is the story of a young Muslim couple in love – and violence and revenge. The film opens with the lovers – Badrunissa (Bhatt) and Hamza (Varma) – deciding to get married, but theirs is not a happily-ever-after story.

Three years into the marriage, the couple have made a home in a lower middle-class housing tenement, but Badrunissa is sleeping with the enemy. He's the classic abuser, who batters her every night and says sorry in the morning. His justification for hitting – and her acceptance of it – is love. "Yes, I'm a bastard, but I hit you only because I love you," he says.

And she is a victim who lives in denial, believing that he'll come around if only she can make him stop drinking or if she has a child to cement their relationship.

But when the savagery continues and he finally crosses a line, rage takes over and halfway through the film, the tables are turned – the abused, with a lot of help from her mother Shamshunissa (played by Shefali Shah), becomes the abuser.   


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