Synopsis – Mimi revolves around a small-town girl from Rajasthan, played by Kriti Sanon, who gets offered Rs 20 lakh to act as a surrogate for an American couple.
My Take – Joining the growing list of Hindi films with taboo subjects is this latest Netflix release which deals with surrogacy. Though the subject isn’t exactly novel anymore, what makes it different is the tone adopted by director Laxman Utekar (Luka Chuppi) and his co-writer Rohan Shankar, who indulge in the fraught with a mix of fun and emotion.
An official remake of filmmaker Samruoddhi Porey‘s 2011 National Award winning film Mala Aai Vhhaychy!, here, director Utekar keeps the drama light while keeping the seriousness of the subject intact along with highlighting the significant and uncomfortable situation that creates when the relationship between a surrogate and the child’s parents alters.
Though it is fair to say that the simplistic nature makes the film more of an entertainer rather than an impactful social drama, it does what it sets out to do i.e. entertain and educate while successfully managing to put a smile on your face.
The story follows Mimi (Kriti Sanon), a stunning 25-year-old dancer in Shekhawati, Rajasthan, who dreams of making it big as an actress in Mumbai. But coming from a below average family, she continues to struggle to come up with the finance required to build a portfolio and star in the ‘viral’ music video a fixer in Mumbai has arranged for her.
Until an opportunity presents itself in the form of Bhanu Pratap (Pankaj Tripathi), a driver, who informs her that John (Aiden Whytock) and Summer (Evelyn Edwards), a childless American couple, who are in town looking for a surrogate for their child, have selected her owing to her fitness, in exchange for an excellent pay day.
Though she reluctantly agrees, Mimi also ends up coaxing a story about starring in a big Bollywood film before moving in with her best friend Shama (Sai Tamhankar) to keep her pregnancy a secret from the society especially her conservative parents (Manoj Pahwa, Supriya Pathak). However, what none of them expected was seeing John and Summer abandon the whole procedure a few months into Mimi’s pregnancy as a report indicates problem with the fetus.
Right from its beginning, the feel-good social drama follows the pattern we have seen in the recent small-town stories in Bollywood. Even though director Utekar and writer Rohan Shankar aren’t deep diving into the concept of surrogacy or an unpredictable story, there is an element of goodness present throughout, and that makes it a likable film in totality. Induced with entertaining moments while taking you through an emotional journey.
In fact, in the first-half the film weaves in emotional scenes with sporadic lighter moments, however, in the second-half director Utekar uses a slight of hand and catches the audience off-guard with tighter control on the flow without being over dramatic. But towards the end, the film is all heart, and you do tend to forget about the many aspects of the core idea that the makers have ignored or never bothered to address.
The dilemma through which the characters are going through in the last half an hour of the film is problematic and real. You will be rooting for the title character for sure, but there are ethical and emotional reasons here that solidify the conflict.
Sure, a few cinematic liberties in the narrative takes away some of the realism, and a little more focus on how Mimi breaks the shackles of stereotypes related to motherhood when she decides to be a single mother, would have enhanced the film. Nevertheless, the film has its heart at the right place, a factor which is further elevated by its performances, especially from Kriti Sanon.
Putting in a career-defining turn, here, Kriti Sanon makes full use of her character’s scope, and manages to exhibits a lot of spunk in her sprightly avatar, hits almost all the right notes in the emotional sequences. It also helps that she is ably supported by the ever dependable Pankaj Tripathi, who is often the subject of humor in the film, yet also manages to excel in sensitive sequences.
Meanwhile, Manoj Pahwa, Supriya Pathak, Sai Tamhankar, Atmaja Pandey and Sheikh Ishaque Mohammad perfectly manage to bring depth to the film. On the whole, ‘Mimi’ is a hilarious, heartwarming and touching comedy drama that is narrated in a very endearing manner.
Directed – Laxman Utekar
Rated – PG15
Run Time – 133 minutes