Mimi movie review: Kriti Sanon's film is nothing unexpected; wastes Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Pahwa
Bollywood’s relationship with surrogacy dramas has not evolved beyond Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, it seems. Even as harrowing cases of abuse and exploitation emerge every other day, surrogacy is still just another avenue for our movies to romanticise motherhood. Director Laxman Utekar’s Mimi, his second with star Kriti Sanon after Lukka Chuppi, is no exception.
Kriti plays Mimi, a 'young and fit' woman in small town Rajasthan. She isn't looking to feed her family, but wishes to be a Bollywood star, a dream that she senses could become a reality when an American couple comes looking for an Indian oven to bake their bun in. Pankaj Tripathi plays the conniving driver Bhanu, who sets it all up. With promises of ₹20 lakh to buy a Dabboo Ratnani portfolio shoot with, Mimi agrees to let the couple plant their seed in her farm. Forgive the unnecessary metaphors, but this is simply me preparing you for way more 'khet', 'beej', and 'ganna' references in the movie.
Watch the Mimi trailer here:
A deal is struck, cash exchanges hands and Mimi gets pregnant. Together with Shama (her friend, played by Sai Tamhankar) and Bhanu, Mimi finds ways to hide her secret from her parents (played by Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak). Attempts at comedy are made by everyone from Pankaj Tripathi to Manoj Pahwa, but with unimpressive writing, no one manages tickles the funny bone. Lies and secrets cause ample confusion in the film, but never any entertainment for those watching it unfold. And no, silly background music and whistles are not comedy gold.
Thankfully for us, things get a little less annoying when tragedy strikes. But the American couple suddenly decides to cancel their order but the package is already in transit. The best thing for them now is to simply ghost their delivery guy, our very pregnant Mimi. Helpless and with a very complicated story behind her bloated belly, she lies to her screaming mom and disappointed dad that the child belongs to Bhanu. Surprisingly, they are actually more progressive than the many posh parents you saw on Indian Matchmaking.
More cuteness and chaos ensues with the birth of the white baby and more unbelievably still, small town Rajasthan simply accepts it. Kriti Sanon cannot convince anyone of her Rajasthani origins, not with her caramel Bollywood highlights or an accent that leaps from South Delhi to Jaipur thrice in every scene. But there are moments when she understands that 'less is more'. For instance, when Mimi holds her baby for the first time, the camera lingers on her face and a single tear trickles down her cheek. There is no excessive crying or gleeful laughter. Just a moment of realisation that her life will never be the same. The attempt at simplicity felt even more refreshing considering how we just saw her plastering her face with talcum powder while dramatically screaming in the mirror, some minutes ago.
As ordinary as Mimi may be, what makes it even more disappointing is Utekar's unwillingness to do more with the potent subject. As much as I appreciate the wholesome characters and an almost-flawless world on my screen, perhaps taking such a route for something that can be decidedly unwholesome in real life was not the best choice. Women and their bodies are used and discarded by upper class men and women with little accountability, all across the country. And usually, their experiences are less glittery than Mimi's dreams of a house in Juhu or a viral music video with T-series.
In the opening scene, at a surrogate 'dealer's' office, three fragile-looking women sit on a bench in a dark and dingy office. The dealer tells our American to-be dad that he has a new stock of girls just for him. Perhaps their stories deserve to be told, too. Perhaps we have seen enough Preity Zintas or Kriti Sanons luring in wanna-be parents with their dancing skills.
Director: Laxman Utekar
Cast: Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Pahwa, Sai Tamhankar