Does Alia Bhatt’s ‘Darlings’ normalise Domestic Abuse?

After Laal Singh Chaddha, Raksha Bandhan, Alia Bhatt has fallen under the radar of the boycott brigade.

Netizens are calling for a boycott of her upcoming film Darlings.

Touted as a dark comedy, the film is set against the backdrop of the sensitive subject of domestic violence.

Directed by Jasmeet K Reen, the film also stars Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma, and Roshan Mathew.

Vijay Varma plays Alia Bhatt’s husband Hamza in the film who is kidnapped and tortured by Alia Bhatt.

It is implied that she is seeking revenge on Hamza for the abuse he inflicted on Badrunissa (Alia’s character), as flashes of her being hit, and thrown on the floor play on the screen.

However, some netizens claim the film is making an alleged mockery out of an important social issue under the garb of comedy and also perpetuating domestic violence against men.

The trailer sees Badrunissa beating her husband with a pan, throwing water on his face, thrashing him left right and centre, and making constant plans to not kill him but treat him ‘exactly how he treated her.’

In a short clip, Badrunissa ties Hamza’s hands and stabs him.

In another scene, she pulls him by his hair as the second male lead (Roshan Mathew) force feeds him what seems like liquor.

In another scene, Shefali Shah’s character asks Badrunissa to mix rat poison in her husband’s food to help him with ‘alcohol de-addiction’ and force feed him food.

The next scene shows Alia’s character violently slamming a frying pan on Hamza’s head as she says ‘Ab batting shuru’.

Criticising the act, one user wrote: “Alia Bhatt is endorsing assault on domestic violence on husbands while the nation stays mum.”

Some claimed that Bollywood treats the issue as a joke.

A few Twitter users also compared Alia Bhatt’s character in Darlings to Hollywood actress Amber Heard who was recently under the limelight due to a domestic violence lawsuit against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Others compared the scenes depicting violence in the Darlings trailer to a scene in Kabir Singh where Kabir slaps his girlfriend Preeti, a scene which led to nationwide outrage in 2019.

Netflix India’s promotional effort on Twitter and other social media platforms added fuel to the fire.

Netflix’s social media managers collected images from the trailer, created memes around them, and shared them with the expectation of receiving laughter.

In response, a Twitter user wrote: “So domestic violence is meme-worthy now?” Another added:

“Bollywood is finished. They are so tone-deaf. #BoycottAliaBhatt”

Meanwhile, apart from Darlings, Alia Bhatt is also looking forward to the release of Brahmastra.

Directed by Ayan Mukerji, it will also star Ranbir Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Nagarjuna Akkineni, and Mouni Roy in the lead and will be hitting the screens on September 9.

Alia Bhatt also has Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani with Ranveer Singh in the pipeline.

She is also making her Hollywood debut alongside Gal Gadot with Heart Of Stone.

Watch the ‘Darlings’ Trailer


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