Bollywood these days is reeling under crisis, facing rejection and criticism for its content. After the controversy that revolved around Amir Khan starrer Lal Singh Chadda where netizens called for the ban on the movie, next in line is ‘Darlings’ featuring Alia Bhatt. While Bhatt is busy using social media to promote her next OTT release named ‘Darlings’, the netizens, just a day before the release are busy using the same social media platform to trend #BoycottAliaBhatt.
The movie named ‘Darlings’ features Alia Bhatt, senior actor Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma, and Roshan Mathew. Alia Bhatt who plays Badrunissa Shaikh, a victim of domestic violence decides to take the law in her hand and begins torturing her husband Hamza (Vijay) as revenge. The netizens are trending #BoycottAliaBhatt on Twitter as they believe that the actress’ recent release supports domestic violence against men.
The trailer of the movie was launched on July 25. The 2.34 mins video shows victim Badrunissa (Alia) kidnapping her husband and torturing him on daily basis. She ties his hands and stabs him in an unapologetic manner. In another scene, she grabs his hair as the second lead character (Roshan Mathew) force-feeds him what appears to be alcohol. In yet another scene, Shefali Shah’s character asks Badrunissa to put rat poison in her husband’s meal to aid him to quit alcohol, and Alia’s character follows the advice.
In the reel, Alia is also seen brutally slamming a frying pan on her on-screen husband’s skull while she says ‘ab batting shuru (the batting starts now)’. Meanwhile, the character played by actor Vijay is shown crying and screaming in pain. The movie which is produced by Gauri Khan, Alia herself, and Gaurav Verma.
The netizens unhappy with the plot of the reel are demanding a ban on film while trending #BoycottAliaBhatt. One of the Twitter posts read that the actress had not only acted in a film that makes entertainment out of the torture of men by women but also had produced it. #BoycottAliaBhatt and #BoycottDarlings are added to her tweet demanding a ban on the reel.
Another such protester who is supposedly a member of the pan India men’s rights NGO, posed a simple question. He asked, “why is Domestic violence against men normalized and even worse mocked when 3.4 crore men in India face domestic violence?”. He added that his organization named ‘Save Indian Family Foundation’ was against the movie.
#boycottAliaBhatt— Darshan Kamat (@MraFighter) August 3, 2022
Why is Domestic violence against men normalised and even worse mocked. 3.4 crore men in India face domestic violence . This is not acceptable. @realsiff is against thishttps://t.co/aNxHzWqYTb
Meanwhile one of the users named Subramanyam Preet posted news that read that a woman in Jharkhand had killed her husband after he denied her permission to wear jeans’ and tweeted, “Is this what she wants to promote from Darlings?”
Yet another user supported the ban and said that for Bollywood, domestic violence against men was a matter of joke. Meanwhile, another one dared to imagine the situation if the roles in the movie were reversed. However, the trailer seems to indicate that Alia’s character in the movie was a victim of domestic violence herself before she decided to take matters into her own hands to plot a revenge against her husband.
In the year 2019, a movie named ‘Kabir Singh’ starring Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani in lead roles created similar outrage as the lead male character was seel slapping and shouting at the female lead under the pretext of ‘love’.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Netflix India’s promotional effort on Twitter and other social media platforms just added salt to injury. Netflix’s social media managers collected violent images from the trailer, created memes around them, and shared them with the expectation of receiving laughter.
When it’s 6:50 but school starts at 7. pic.twitter.com/UMtjyXQyuJ— Netflix India (@NetflixIndia) July 25, 2022
It is notable here that Bollywood has been facing severe criticism of late because of its problematic portrayals of social issues. There have been countless movies where stalking, sexual harassment, abuse and even rape are glorified, forcing a narrative of ‘love’.
To note, Netflix India is already worried about its decreasing popularity in India. Earlier in January this year, Netflix’s CEO had expressed anguish over its poor performance in India after the platform’s shares witnessed a massive slump of 21%. The investors had lost a whopping $45 billion in market value due to the aspersion that the company was going to enter a period of slow growth.
Also, in December last year, the OTT platform slashed the subscription prices of Netflix in India to expand the market. It had also started its special operation to learn more about the Indian consumers’ tastes and had decided to include similar content on the platform. Recently, in April, considering the slow growth, Netflix decided to revamp the entire content of the web series and movies to be released in India which could suit the Indian audiences.
However, the release of ‘Darlings’ contrasts the decisions taken by the platform earlier. The movie, which was made by Jasmeet K. Reen, will debut on Netflix on August 5.