Darlings – starring Alia Bhatt and released on Netflix on Friday – marks Jasmeet K. Reen’s film debut, following his tenure as a screenwriter in Bollywood. Emphasize the word ‘feature film’ as she had previously directed a few short films, including a small segment in 2007’s Dus Kahaniyaan, an anthology dealing with various topics related to lust, infidelity and a spectrum of emotions. . Her upcoming Netflix feature, Darlings, deals with similar subjects, through the eyes of an eccentric mother-daughter duo, as they search for courage and love in this unforgiving world.
In addition to directing the cast, Bhatt is serving as a producer — her first time — through her Eternal Sunshine Productions banner for this upcoming Netflix original film. Thematically, Darlings deals with domestic violence through a black comedy filter, while trying not to come across as callous. “It’s the very light and offbeat characters who think they have everything under control, but in reality they have nothing under control. So that’s where the humor really comes in. It feels more like a comedy mistakes,” Bhatt explained in an interview.
Set in a poor Mumbai neighborhood, Darlings focuses on the suffering of Badru (Bhatt) at the hands of her alcoholic husband Hamza (Vijay Varma), who implodes with rage every time he gets drunk. As a countermeasure, she teams up with her mother (Shefali Shah) to try to get rid of his problem by putting him through hell. The script, written by Reen herself, was passed on to Bhatt by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, after which the streaming service opted to distribute it.
August 2022 Netflix Releases: Darlings, Morbius, The Walking Dead Season 11, and More
Darlings release date and time in India
Darlings premieres this Friday, August 5 at 12:00 p.m. PT / 12:30 p.m. IST exclusively on Netflix worldwide. Those interested will need to have a subscription plan, starting at Rs. 149 for mobile and Rs. 199 for the basic plan, which allows you to stream to a TV or laptop, but only in SD resolution.
Cast of the Darlings
Fresh off Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Telegu RRR and Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bhatt is making her second OTT appearance with Darlings. The first was Sadak 2 on Disney+ Hotstar, opposite Sanjay Dutt and Aditya Roy Kapur.
Badrunissa “Badru” Shaikh is a troubled, albeit happily married, woman who attempts to cure her husband’s alcoholism when an argument escalates into physical violence. To establish and maintain her authority, she conspires with her mother to try to poison him – just enough to keep him sick and cause him physical and mental pain. The unconditional love for her husband is unmatched as evidenced by her trying on expensive dresses to spice up their relationship.
Shah (Delhi Crime), ranked second on the list, plays Badru’s mother, aka his partner in crime. As the mastermind behind the film’s twisted events, she observes Hamza’s habits and suggests poisoning his food, as he likes to drink at dinnertime. Fortunately, Badru rejects the idea and opts for Disulfiram pills. But the mother continues to support her as an alibi, when the cops get involved.
No, Laal Singh Chaddha and more: August movie guide to OTT and cinemas
“She may not necessarily be right, but she’s not at all ashamed of it. I think it’s interesting because it’s not a one-sided character while still providing an interesting dimension to being a mother,” Shah said in reference to her character in an interview.
Varma of Mirzapur plays husband Hamza, who is caring during the day and turns into a bully at night when drunk. The Darlings trailer offers some vindication for his drinking habits, as he gets hustled in his job as a ticket checker. Morning routines consist of sipping cold drinks, sitting idly by on station platforms, and occasionally cleaning toilets, as he contemplates his mundane life. At one point, he’s forced to stay home (thanks to the mother-daughter duo), sprouting a web of lies and conspiracies related to his sudden demise.
Roshan Mathew (Choked) plays Zulfi, a family friend who helps Badru and his mother avoid suspicion. Hamza’s inactivity sparks a missing person case, dragging Zulfi into the mix as suspect and falsely accused. The possibility is further heightened by feelings of mistrust, where Hamza suspects Zulfi of committing adultery with his wife.
Vijay Maurya (The White Tiger) plays the police inspector in charge of the case, with standard interrogation procedure that puts Badru and his mother under light suspicion. He is joined by Santosh Juvekar as a junior officer and Rajesh Sharma (The Tashkent Files) as Hamza’s boss of the railway department.
Summary of darlings
Here is the official synopsis of Darlings via Netflix:
Darlings is a dark comedy-drama that explores the lives of a mother-daughter duo trying to find their place in Mumbai, searching for courage and love in exceptional circumstances while battling against all odds.
The first Darlings trailer was revealed on July 5, featuring a metaphorical voiceover that explained most of the story. The trailer unveiled the troubled relationship between Badru and her husband Hamza, while also offering insight into Zulfi’s involvement in the story. The two men are around the same age, with the latter believed to be in a relationship with the mother – moving in and out of the house freely, when Hamza is at work.
On July 25, Netflix released a full trailer (underneath) that spoiled some important plot beats. The editing was done in a way to respect the mother and daughter’s testimony to the cops, thus misleading the audience at first. Both awkwardly report Hamza’s disappearance, when his boss comes to see him, resulting in a maelstrom of manipulation tactics.
As part of the promotion, Netflix also released fun and informative skits with Bhatt in character, which have nothing to do with the actual movie.
Budget of the darlings
The production budget for Darlings was found to be between Rs. 20-25 crore, with original plans for a theatrical release. However, in February, the film’s distribution rights were sold to Netflix India for Rs. 75-80 crores.
Early reviews for Darlings are going up this Friday, August 5, the day it releases on Netflix globally. The Gadgets 360 review of the film will be released on the same day.
Here is the official poster of Netflix’s Darlings: