Director: Laxman Utekar
Cast: Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Pahwa, Sai Tamhankar
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
The film is streaming on Netflix and Jio Cinema
Mimi Story: The surrogacy dramedy, follows a foolhardy Mimi (Kriti Sanon) — Bollywood aspirant and Ranveer Singh fangirl from Rajasthan — who signs up to be a surrogate for an American couple, without thinking about the social, emotional and legal implications of her decision.
Mimi Review: The 25-year-old girl hopes to fulfill her ambition of becoming an actress in Mumbai, by using the enormous money (Rs 20 Lakhs), promised to her for bearing the child. Things progress as per the ambitious plan of our rebellious protagonist, albeit to a certain point. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, after all. A potential health hazard to the unborn child leaves everyone shaken up. Dreams are shattered until they are not.
Surrogacy, an arrangement where a woman (the surrogate) offers to carry a baby through pregnancy on behalf of a couple, and then return the baby to the intended parent(s) once it is born, has been restricted in India for a reason. Infertile couples from foreign countries frequenting India to find a surrogate, suitable to bear their child, is a practice that’s largely prohibited given the ethical and social implications.
Based on the acclaimed Marathi film ‘Mala Aai Vhhaychy!’ by Samruoddhi Porey, Mimi is skillfully adapted by Laxman Utekar. He along with screenwriter Rohan Shankar ensures the Hindi film has its own character and identity while retaining the essence of the original. The infusion of situational comedy may oversimplify surrogacy in the opening portions to extend its reach to the masses. But nowhere does it trivialize the issue or make it look frivolous, which is often a common predicament in commercial remakes. Utekar entertains but not at the cost of sacrificing substance. Trappings of unexpected motherhood and life find an emotional heft in his storytelling. Captivating character arcs and performances elevate the seemingly predictable tale. The film seamlessly oscillates between drama and comedy, without losing its grip.
Mimi offers a light-hearted, yet moving take on surrogacy and its repercussions. It even cleverly steers people to adoption. There’s a catch here though. The film is well-intentioned but the adoption segment gets an idyllic approach and not realistic to ensure closure and that can be misleading. There is already a lot of misinformation on the adoption process in our country, and a certain part of the story adds to the cesspool of inaccurate facts. That, being passed off as cinematic liberty is hard to digest.
Having delivered a range of interesting characters before, with Mimi, Kriti Sanon marks her arrival as a solid actor who can carry a film on her own. Her eyes speak anger and anguish with a certain calm — a mark of a mature performer. Another actor who co-shoulders the film along with Kriti is the brilliant Pankaj Tripathi. He is as much the hero of the film as Kriti. From referring to potential surrogates as ‘maal’ to relentlessly fighting for Mimi’s well-being, Tripathi renders yet another outstanding performance. His comic timing and expression of the visible rift between privilege and poverty is compelling. Manoj Pahwa, Supriya Pathak and Sai Tamhankar are effective in their significant roles. Actors playing the American couple— Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock are decent as well. Their characters aren’t one-dimensional, which is refreshing.
A complete family entertainer after long — Mimi picks a relevant topic and turns it into an engaging, empowering, and compassionate tale on humanity and motherhood.