As an entertainment critic, I have often been asked about my stance on analyzing content. To which my response has been simple ~ I appreciate any content that doesn’t take the audience for granted. Be it the story of an alien who craves sunlight on Earth or the period drama of India defeating the British in their sport. As long as the filmmakers do not present us with half-baked films, I will always be its patron. For this reason, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Mimi on Netflix.
Directed by Laxman Utekar, Mimi is a comedy-drama based on the topic of surrogacy. Summer (Evelyn Edwards) and John (Aidan Whytoc) are an American couple visiting India to find a surrogate mother. After a disappointing search, the couple takes the help of their driver Bhanu (Pankaj Tripathi). While they are on the lookout, they notice Mimi (Kriti Sanon) at her dance performance. The couple are convinced that she is the perfect fit to be a surrogate mother. On the other hand, Mimi (Kriti Sanon) is an aspiring actor who needs money to move to Mumbai and pursue her dreams. After relentless pursuit from Bhanu and support from her best friend Shama (Sai Tamhankar), Mimi happily takes up the nine-month assignment to have enough resources to pursue her dreams. However, Mimi’s life is thrown upside down when the American couple backs out from their offer, leaving her vulnerable in front of her family. Mimi’s struggle as a single mother, along with the situational conundrum that Bhanu and Shama face, forms the crux of the second half.
Coinciding the film’s release with her 31st birthday, Kirti Sanon might have just received the best birthday gift till date. Sanon plays the titular character, an aspirant girl from the rural part of North India, and she does it fabulously well. Sanon had to gain 33 lbs (15 kg) for the role, and her commitment to Mimi’s character deserves all the praise in the book. However, there were a few parts in which Mimi’s character lets go of the Rajasthani accent only to get it back a few scenes later, but I think I can live with that. I was also impressed by Sai Tamhankar’s performance as Shama. Tamhankar’s isn’t a new name in the acting circuit. This award-winning actress has been a part of Hindi and Marathi films for over a decade. She does a tremendous job complementing the entire cast. Speaking of complementing the cast, Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak play the role of Mimi’s parents, and their comic timing is unparalleled. In addition, Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock have provided credibility to the film as American couples. Lastly, I have to talk about the Man, the Myth, the Legend – Pankaj Tripathi. I do not have enough words to describe the consistency of this actor to make us believe that the character was written only for him. Tripathi’s playful singing, his dialogue delivery, and his emotional tet-e-tet with other characters in the latter half of the film would leave you wanting more. As I mentioned in my earlier review, we need to stop using the title to support certain actors as they don’t just support the film, instead they carry the film along with the other cast members. When it comes to Mimi, Pankaj Tripathi carries the entire film along with Sanon and Tamhankar.
Mimi is actually an adaptation from a Marathi national award-winning 2011 film ‘Mala Aai Vhhaychy!’. I have always believed that adapting an existing story doesn’t help but increases the complexity of storytelling. Even more, if the film is a National Award-winning film. However, full marks to the creative team for customizing this film to a near-perfect Bollywood adaptation. Laxman Utekar’s screenplay and direction, along with Rohan Shankar’s dialogue and Samruoddhi Porey’s writing prowess, make Mimi a through enjoyable experience. I also want to highlight the simplistic manner in which Tripathi explains the concept of surrogacy to Sanon. This was done intentionally so that the surrogacy concept is understood by India’s rural audience. I was also pleasantly surprised with the film’s music, only to realize later that it’s the genius of AR Rahman.
This film breaks down the complicated topic of surrogacy in a simplistic manner that is understandable by the masses and the classes. Despite a few flaws, Mimi’s stellar cast along with its brilliant creatives makes it a must-watch family drama.
Reviewed by Puneet Ruparel