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Review: 'Mimi' Reduces Its Titular Character to a Sad Stereotype

·3 min read

Mimi, streaming on Netflix, is a film that deals with surrogacy. It's full of dialogues and scenes that are a little on the nose, talking about the pious relationship between a child and its mother. However, the dominant presence is that of melodrama. Mimi is as filmy as it gets, and I don’t mean this as a compliment.

The film begins in the year 2013. A 'dealer' from somewhere in UP calls up Mr John (Aidan Whytock) to let him know he has 'new girls' to show him. It’s creepy listening to him talk, and as the conversation continues we realise that John and his wife Summer are looking for a surrogate to carry their child. 'Those girls are weak', 'it's almost like a factory out there', says Summer (Evelyn Edwards). A sweeping shot of the forlorn faces of a few women gets replaced by that of a cheery taxi driver Bhanu (Pankaj Tripathi), who is driving the Americans around in the dusty lanes of Rajasthan. Clearly at that time the laws to protect rights of surrogates weren't as stringent, but this also isn’t the film to give us a real picture of the human cost of such surrogacy deals.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Kriti Sanon and Sai Tamhankar in <em>Mimi</em>.</p></div>

Kriti Sanon and Sai Tamhankar in Mimi.

Cut to a hotel in Rajasthan. Dancing to 'Param Sundari' is Mimi (Kriti Sanon), the prettiest girl in Shekhawati, we are told. Mimi is sundar, but she is also a hustler. She is already making plans to earn enough through her dance recitals to be able to go to Mumbai and act opposite her favourite, Ranveer Singh. Since Mimi is also the film that gave out the whole story in its trailer, one doesn’t really have to worry about revealing too many spoilers.

It’s utterly filmy, so we know that no matter how contrived the plot is we must give in if we have any chance of being 'entertained'.

Pankaj Tripathi gives it his all to somehow make the proceedings come alive, and Kriti Sanon is effervescent. But the story and screenplay by director Laxman Utekar and Rohan Shankar sacrifice everything at the altar of melodrama. The film is based on the Marathi movie Mala Aai Vhhaychy, and while yours truly hasn't seen the original, this one clearly wants to be a lot of things at the same time but with little integrity or nuance to be anything.

There is no dearth of talent here. Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak are seasoned actors and Sai Tamhankar is always effective, but they have very little to do anyway. There is just not enough emotional playoff. When Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock are given dialogues it feels like they are talking at each other instead of to each other. While language might be a barrier in their case, the accent is all over the place for the rest.

Kriti Sanon on the sets of <i>Mimi</i>.
Kriti Sanon on the sets of Mimi.

It’s the kind of stubborn narrative that simply refuses to look at any other perspective apart from upholding its own message, that proves to be its undoing. That a woman only wants to be a mother and would happily give up on all her dreams is the kind of patriarchal fantasy that Mimi dangerously perpetuates without ever coming across as convincing. Why would someone, who was ready to go to the extent of being a surrogate simply to fund her acting dreams, never once regret her decision? Is motherhood all about cuddles and toys? The conflict and its resolution is both predictable and laughable in equal measure. It’s sad that Mimi reduces its titular character to a stereotype that never feels authentic.

Our rating: 2 Quints out of 5.

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