Photo Credit: Alia Bhatt | Instagram
Netflix has a new show on air, and it is making waves after featuring an interesting plot. Starring Bollywood megastar Alia Bhatt, the Hindi movie “Darlings” tackle issues more than the comedic scenes it offers, but that of domestic violence.
In the movie, Bhatt is told by her mother to put some rat poison in his husband’s food so she can be freed from an abusive relationship. This is just one of the many attempts that Bhatt’s character thought about to find a resolution to her marriage problem.
According to Bhatt, the movie is excellent in the way that it deals with an issue that is faced by many, and it is not scared to tackle it head-on. She is also the co-producer of the movie.
“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 reporters during an interview.
Who is Alia Bhatt
Bhatt has gained prominence for her productions. In 2019, the Hollywood producer and actress amassed a total of $7 million of estimated income – earning her a spot on Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list. She is one of the most paid artists in Bollywood and a high-ranking woman enlisted by Forbes.
Bhatt’s movie portrayals do not deal with surface issues. In fact, most of the production she was in dealt with societal issues. She starred in the 2016 movie “Udta Punjab,” about a migrant worker kidnapped. Bhatt also appears in the hit movie “Gangubai Kathiawadi,” which follows the story of a woman sold into prostitution and later becoming an activist fighting for the rights of others.
Over the course of her career, Bhatt has worked with top female directors like Zoya Akhtar and Meghna Gulzar. The 29-year-old movie professional is now extending her influence with “Darlings.” Together with Eternal Sunshine Productions, she aims to provide a better representation of Bollywood in the greater entertainment industry.
“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,” Bhatt said.
What the movie is about
“Darlings” is basically the story of a mother and daughter pair. Named Badru (portrayed by Bhatt) and Shamshu (played by Shefali Shah), the tandem tries to get away from the abuse they felt from Shamsu’s husband.
Many movie critics in India commend the movie as it deals with the issue carefully and considers the real experiences of women facing the same hurdle. According to first-time director Jasmeet K. Reen, she did not want the violence to be pronounced during the early parts of the movie as it would trivialize the issue. It is a decision that Reen made to ensure that the impact of the violent scene stuck with the audience.
Slowly but excruciatingly, the violence committed against the women became clearer and clearer, letting the audience feel the eventual eerie purpose of the film. The duo’s resolve to break away from the grip of the male character is also becoming clear as well.
“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,” Reen said.
Bollywood dominated by male
“Bollywood, like most industries in India, is male-dominated, and that largely determines who gets represented and how,” said a clinical associate professor at the Honors College at Purdue University, Anwer and Arora.
Now that more movies are starred and directed by women, plots are becoming more inclusive and expanding the horizon for the discussion of societal issues. Bhatt said that the current trend is helping women to take a position in significant issues that have subjugated women in the past.
Reen said that she is hoping that more women directors will be compelled to produce movies like “Darlings” now that she’s taken a step in doing so.
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