Photo Credit: Alia Bhatt | Instagram
There is a new program on Netflix right now that is generating buzz due to its intriguing narrative. The Hindi film “Darlings,” which stars Alia Bhatt, a Bollywood megastar, deals with marital abuse rather than just offering funny sequences.
To get Bhatt out of an abusive marriage, her mother instructs her to mix some rat poison into her husband’s food. This is just one of several solutions Bhatt’s character considered to fix her marriage.
According to Bhatt, the film excels in dealing with a problem many people have and is not afraid to address it head-on. In addition, she is one of the film’s co-producers.
“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 said in an interview.
Alia Bhatt and her journey within the industry
Bhatt has become well-known for her productions. The Bollywood producer and actress earned an estimated $7 million in revenue in 2019 and was named to Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list as a result. She is a prominent woman named by Forbes and one of the highest-paid Bollywood performers.
Surface-level issues are not covered in Bhatt’s film portrayals. Actually, most of the show she participated in was about societal issues. For example, she played an abducted migrant laborer in the 2016 film “Udta Punjab.” In addition, Bhatt can be seen in the popular film “Gangubai Kathiawadi,” which recounts the story of a woman who is sold into prostitution and eventually becomes an activist who defends the rights of others.
During her career, Bhatt has collaborated with acclaimed female filmmakers like Meghna Gulzar and Zoya Akhtar. With “Darlings,” the 29-year-old movie industry veteran is attempting to broaden her influence and improve Bollywood’s image in the broader entertainment sector along with Eternal Sunshine Productions.
“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,” explained Bhatt.
Essentially, “Darlings” is the narrative of a mother-and-daughter pair. The pair, who go by the names Badru (played by Bhatt) and Shamshu (played by Shefali Shah), try to escape the abuse they endured from Badru’s spouse.
Many Indian film critics hail the film because it meticulously examines the subject and takes into account the actual experiences of women who have faced the same challenge. The film’s director, Jasmeet K. Reen, claims that she did not want the violence to be noticeable in the opening scenes since doing so would belittle the problem. Reen chose to do so to make sure that the viewers would remember the impact of the violent acts of the husband.
The audience was able to sense the film’s eventual unsettling goal as the audience watched the atrocities against the ladies become increasingly evident—slowly but heart-wrenchingly. The pair’s determination to free themselves from the male character’s control is also becoming apparent.
“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,” the director said.
Indian Bollywood is male-dominated
According to a clinical associate professor at the Purdue University Honors College, Anwer and Arora, Bollywood, like other sectors in India, is male-dominated, and that primarily decides who gets portrayed and how they are portrayed.
Plots are becoming more inclusive and providing new opportunities for the debate of social concerns as more movies with female leads and directors are produced. According to Bhatt, the present trend is enabling more women to speak up about important concerns that have historically disadvantaged them.
Reen expressed her hope that by taking this action, more female directors will be inspired to make films like “Darlings.”