One of a kind Darlings | Sunday Observer

One of a kind Darlings

22 January, 2023

Darlings is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language dark comedy film co-written and directed by Jasmeet K. Reen, in her directorial debut, from a screenplay by Parveez Sheikh, and produced by Gauri Khan, Alia Bhatt (in her debut production), and Gaurav Verma under the banners Red Chillies Entertainment and Eternal Sunshine Productions.

The film stars Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma and Roshan Mathew in the lead roles.

It was released on Netflix, on 5 August, 2022. ’Darlings’ received positive reviews from the critics. The film received more than 10 million watching hours in its opening weekend, highest for any non-English language original film worldwide.

Critical response

The review aggregator ’Rotten Tomatoes’ reports an approval rating of 75% based on 16 reviews. ’Darlings’ received critical acclaim with praise towards storyline and stellar performances of Bhatt, Shah and Varma.

Pooja Biraia Jaiswal of ’The Week’ awarded 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Except for a few instances here and there, Darlings feels as real as can get. You cannot but feel a part of the narrative yourself, when you root for the victim and feel agonised by her misery".

Four out of five

Devesh Sharma of ’Filmfare’ gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, "The proceedings take on absurdist hues at times, but that sort of adds to the lure of the film. Watch Darlings for its message and for the fine acting displayed by the entire ensemble class".

Tina Das of ’The Print’ rated the film 4 out of 5 stars and wrote "Darlings is a dark comedy par excellence, helmed by powerful performances by Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah". Renuka Vyavahare of ’Times of India’ rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Darlings makes a compelling case study on domestic violence but it wouldn't be what it is, if it wasn't for Shefali and Alia. Both actresses speak through their eyes and make up for the dreary pace at times with their outstanding performances and chemistry".

Umesh Punwani of ’Koimoi’ gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Darlings is Bollywood getting as close as it could ever be (to date) to Andhadhun. The 'tragedy mein comedy' treatment gives this a soul as Alia Bhatt ends up being the heart of this film".

Sukanya Verma of Rediff gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Darlings is a well-rounded effort by Jasmeet K. Reen, supported by bold ideas and clever imagery". Pratikshya Mishra of ’The Quint’ awarded the film a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Satire is a tough tool and Darlings wields it well. Even though sometimes the satire might not translate and the pacing might wobble, the pros heavily outweigh the cons".

Film critic based at ’Bollywood Hungama’ gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Darlings is a hilarious entertainer and at the same time, it is also replete with some hard-hitting moments. The performances of Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah and Vijay Varma are award-winning and serve as the icing on the cake".

Creative and fresh way

Fengyen Chiu of ’Mashable’ awarded the film a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Domestic violence has been depicted in several Bollywood movie before, but Darlings has done it in a very creative and fresh way. Some aspects of the plot were indeed predictable, but some aspects also catch you off guard.

All-in Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah is definitely a must watch and will make you cry, angry, frustrated, and happy throughout the movie".

Shilajit Mitra of ’The New Indian Express’ rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote "Darlings entices and thrills, even if I wish the film had gone all out. I wish it had killed its darlings".

Avinash Lohana of ’Pinkvilla’ rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and wrote "Darlings stays consistent even in the second half, and a few high points scattered periodically in the script keeps you hooked to the narrative. Watch it for the message and the performances".

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Darlings, which ploughs a dark furrow all its own while making judicious use of genre elements while shunning standard narrative tropes, is watchable all the way".


Namrata Joshi of ’The National Herald’ wrote, "The cast of Darlings makes it a riveting watch. Varma is terrifying and Roshan Mathew as believable as the tender man. Ultimately, it's all in the hands of the forever solid and reliable Shah and Bhatt, matching her in every beat".

Anupama Chopra of ’Film Companion’ wrote, "Darlings is very much its own film. There is generosity of spirit, which makes it eminently watchable".

Tushar Joshi of ’India Today’ awarded the film 3 stars (out of 5) and wrote, "Darlings is a film with a message. It touches upon the subject of domestic violence and addiction. Alia and Shefali's timing and Vijay Varma's acting save Darlings from becoming just another film with a social message". Bohni Bandyopadhyay of CNN-IBN gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah and Vijay Varma's black comedy brings out laughs in tragic situations, but is ultimately a story about shattered hopes and dreams". Nandini Ramnath of ’Scroll’ wrote, "Darlings has both laugh-out-loud comedy and suppressed giggles. Reen's control over the lengthier sequences, backed by Anil Mehta's sinuous camerawork and Nitin Baid's elegant editing, is strongest when Hamza drops the mask and lets the misogyny show".

Shubhra Gupta of ’The Indian Express’ rated the film 2.5 out of 5 stars and wrote "Alia Bhatt, Vijay Varma, Shefali Shah and Roshan Mathew deliver excellent performances in a film that is aware of what it is. A few forced comic touches spoil the effect though".

Anna M.M. Vetticad of ’Firstpost’ rated the film 2.5 out of 5 stars and wrote "This clarity and a certain energy are missing for the most part from the rest of Darlings. Full marks to the squad for risk-taking. On the execution front though, it barely gets a passing grade".

Published Palestinian Bollywood writer, Ahmad Rashad Arafa, called the film "stridently fresh and refreshingly measured" singling out the film's "ability to gently swing from sanskar toxicity to pragmatist emancipation."