Mimi Review: Surrogacy Theme Driven Off Course By Bollywood-Style Climax

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Mimi movie review: Kriti Sanon starrer Mimi is the story of a surrogate mother from Rajasthan, who aspires to become a Bollywood actor. An American couple offers her a lump sum amount, enough to help her reach Mumbai and pursue a career in films, to carry their child. For unknown reasons however, the couple later decides to not go ahead with the pregnancy and leave Mimi behind, carrying a child that isn’t her own. Against the idea to abort the child, Mimi decides to bring the child into the world on her own, aided by her friends and family.

The three-minute-trailer gave away all of that. What’s left to unravel in the film? The securely hidden reason the American couple decided to “heartlessly” leave their unborn child behind.

Mimi is a remake of the National Award winning Marathi film Mala Aai Vhhaychy! directed by Samruddhi Porey based on the rising surrogacy practices in the country.

The Laxman Utekar directorial begins with a man somewhere in UP calling up a couple —John (Aidan Whytock) and Summer (Evelyn Edwards)— about the ‘new stock of girls’ he has got for them. In the initial few minutes, it’s revealed that they are in the country to find a ‘young and fit’ surrogate mother. These few moments in the beginning of the film capture real and bitter state of surrogates in India. However, as the film progresses, the Bollywood lens begins to serve us a melodramatic, slightly comedic narration of a relevant topic, frame by frame.

The couple with the help of a conniving driver Bhanu, played by Pankaj Tripathi, set on a mission to find a ‘healthy body’ to carry the surrogate baby. They meet the could-be-mother, Mimi Mansingh Rathore, played by Kriti Sanon, a stage dancer in Bikaner, while she is presenting a performance for the guests.

On behalf of John and Summer, Bhanu takes the proposal to put her “khet” on lease to grow “ganna” and eventually acquire her “rent” for letting them sow the “beej”. Awkward? Well this is the least uncomfortable of all analogies viewers get to see ahead in the film.

Mimi has her goal clear in front of her and the fuel to reach it- money. She agrees to become a surrogate mother for Rs 20 lakh, an amount for her ticket to Bollywood.

Possibly the most onerous phase, when the mother bears the child in her womb and raises him/her against social norms, gets a skip-forward with a moving song played synchronously.

The first half of the film is kept afloat with some humour and an engaging performance by Pankaj Tripathi. The creators get a second chance to redeem the damage done with perhaps a little realistic approach towards the complex theme.

The reaction one would expect from Mimi’s parents, Supriya Pathak and Manoj Pahwa, when they find out that their unmarried daughter is with child, simply revolves around her bringing shame to the family name, which would have hit home close, had it not been for the comedy that is inserted oddly to make it seem funny. Surprisingly, the family takes no time to accept the child after Bhanu is presented to them as the father. With the birth of a ‘gora’ kid the community and the family turns blind to the disgraceful history, pointed out initially.

The second half of Mimi rides solely on Kriti Sanon’s shoulder. If her fluctuating accent is kept aside, the actor manages to evoke certain emotion within the audience. The loose writing drags the film downhill gradually and even diverts from the track.

Mimi touches upon crucial subjects such as children with disabilities, single parenting, stigma against pre-marital sex, Hindu-Muslim relations fleetingly, but eventually settles for “maa ki mamta” at the end. The film could have been so much more, had it dug deeper into other angles, rather than remaining in the comfort zone of the greatness of motherhood, that had been played to death by Bollywood.

As far as the Indian audience can hark back to a Bollywood film which covered the subject, the 2001 film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke comes to mind. Even the present day film Mimi romanticised motherhood ditching the ordeal of surrogate mothers like an old notion in a glittery new packaging.