DARLINGS—A REARVIEW IMAGE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN INDIA

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The treacherous act of malice and coercion did to a woman by her intimate partner is a recurring headline in all the newspapers across the globe. India is no newbie to these domestic abuses. It is one such country where domestic violence is a frequent occurrence and where such violence against women is often unaddressed by society. According to the National Health Survey (NFHS 3), 37% of married women face domestic violence in India. This is primarily due to the growing apathy of the people towards such malicious acts as these have transformed into a daily routine and even the person undergoing this coercion hesitates to move legally, fearing the societal pressure and taboos.

In India, the proportion of people approaching and believing in the judicial system is meager and only a few cases are reported against domestic violence. Even the well-wishers are reluctant to file a complaint as it proves to be redundant in a later note, owing to the absence of a statement of the offense by the abused. The connivance of the crime is propelled further by the ignorance of the woman’s family and how easily they coax her to be a naive and timid old self. This is the case in most households in India, but Darlings showed us otherwise. What is it like to get the shelter of one’s mother to surpass these travails of cruelty and patriarchy? Let’s revisit the survival tropes reflected and emanated by the movie. 

Darlings, a recently released movie on Netflix, is a perfect manifestation of how often love coalesces with the violence partaken by men and how women fall prey to their whims. The movie starring Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma and Roshan Mathew in lead roles is an imagery of the domestic violence prevailing in the outskirts and streets of India and how often that can prove detrimental to the mental and physical health of women. The story revolves around ‘Badrunnisa’ a naive and timid girl who loves her husband more than anything and plays the role of his puppet by toddling on his will. She is constantly abused and strangled by her husband ‘Hamza’ for all the possible reasons he can find to rebuke and chastise her. Her mother ‘Shamsunnisa’ did not approve of these atrocities and always provoked her to abandon him, but all in vain as Badru is head over heels for Hamza and is ready to endure all his capriciousness.

The pernicious abuses and coercion culminated in a point where she ceased to exist as an embodiment of forgiveness and tolerance and transpired to be the umpire of justice. What’s ahead of these eye-opening epiphanies is a roller coaster ride by the duo (mother and daughter) to quash the patriarchy within her household and avenge the atrocities committed against her. What excites the audience is the conspicuous dialogues which were evident and discernible to every abusive man out there and how it becomes a shot in the arm for those who yearn to come out of this fallacious shell. The movie is power packed with situational dark humor that gives an amazing pace to the movie to tell a story that is bitter and haunting at the same time. 

The closure to this dark satire reflects the notion that men who are masochists are scorpions and they will never change. Nevertheless, this convention has proved true in many aspects of life, as their ego and disdain towards the accomplishments of women are never compromised. They trade anything for their life, but trading their ego stands out. Here, Hamza is portrayed as an alcoholic, masculine and abusive husband who beats his wife and insults her in every possible way and he is an everyday face in the society we all live in.

Darlings is an ironic setback to those men out there who take pleasure in denigrating the dignity and mental peace of their partners. This is in retaliation for all that Hamza has done to Badru and what men like him are doing for ages. This teaches acrimonious violence can prove counterproductive to the person engaging in it, as one day or the other he will face the wrath of all his actions. The film has possibly resurrected the shattered hopes of many women suffering from this trauma and it will become a stimulus to act upon these obnoxious abuses against women. 



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