Photo Credit: Alia Bhatt | Instagram
Currently airing on Netflix, this new show is generating buzz thanks to its intriguing narrative. Hindi film “Darlings,” starring Alia Bhatt, a superstar in the Bollywood industry, delves into domestic violence issues rather than just offering comic sequences.
To break free of an abusive relationship, Bhatt’s mother instructs her to mix some rat poison into her husband’s food in the film. This was just one of several options Bhatt’s character contemplated to solve her marriage-related difficulty.
Bhatt believes the film shines in how it approaches a problem that many people face head-on and does it without fear. She contributes to the movie as an actress and co-producer.
“I need to prove a point, as a producer, that I’m not just producing a film for the heck of it. I have not picked this subject because I could. I wanted to. I chose it, and I wanted to tell this story,” Bhatt told the media during an interview.
The journey of Alia Bhatt in the entertainment industry
Bhatt has become well-known for her creations and performances. The Bollywood producer and actress grossed an estimated $7 million in revenue in 2019, securing her a spot on Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list. She is among the highest-paid Bollywood performers and a formidable woman on Forbes’ list.
Bhatt doesn’t just convey banal problems in her films; she aims to go deeper. She chooses productions where social themes are largely addressed. For example, she portrayed a migrant laborer who was kidnapped in the 2016 film “Udta Punjab.” Bhatt also makes an appearance in the well-known film “Gangubai Kathiawadi,” which tells the story of a woman who is sold into prostitution and subsequently becomes an activist who fights for the rights of others.
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Top female directors like Meghna Gulzar and Zoya Akhtar have collaborated with Bhatt throughout her career. With “Darlings,” the 29-year-old movie mastermind hopes to increase the visibility of Bollywood in the larger entertainment industry. She is working with Eternal Sunshine Productions to achieve this.
“I feel — slowly, slowly — from being a very male-dominated room, I (now) see the balance. I see a lot of women. And that’s happened over the last 10 years. I’ve seen the change — and it’s getting to a very juicy, exciting time,” said the actress.
What the “Darlings” film is about
The main characters of “Darlings” are a mother and daughter combo. Named Badru (Bhatt) and Shamshu (Shefali Shah), the pair tries to flee the brutality they experienced from Badru’s husband.
Several Indian critics laud the film for its thorough treatment of the subject and for bearing in mind the authentic experiences of women who have faced a similar obstacle. In order to avoid trivializing the problem, according to first-time director Jasmeet K. Reen, she did not want the violence to be blatant in the film’s opening scenes. It was a choice made by Reen to make sure the viewers would remember the impact of the horrific incidence of violence.
The audience was able to sense the film’s eventual ominous aim as the brutality against the women became increasingly obvious, slowly but unsettling. Also becoming evident is the pair’s determination to free themselves from the male character’s dominance.
“It’s not a normal Bollywood film. I tried to play with structure. I tried to play with genre — to say something and be sensitive towards it,” said the director.
Bollywood is male-dominated and it should change
Anwer and Arora, a clinical associate professor at the Honors College at Purdue University, claimed that Bollywood, like most industries in India, is male-dominated and that whoever has the power primarily decides who gets represented and how they are depicted.
The number of female directors and stars in films is increasing, which positively impacts the diversity of plots and the topics that can be covered. In addition, according to Bhatt, the current pattern is encouraging women to voice their opinions on important subjects that have historically marginalized them.
Reen expressed her optimism that now that she has taken action in this direction, more female directors may feel motivated to make films like “Darlings.”
Opinions expressed by Texas Today contributors are their own.