Mimi Hindi Movie Review
Kriti Sanon's Mimi wants to be a heroine in Hindi cinema, leaving all the other divas behind her while making the male stars pine for her. But she does not have the finances to pursue her B-town dreams. Mimi's life changes when an American couple offers her a big sum for delivering them a child through artificial insemination. Pankaj Tripathi's driver Bhanu makes Mimi understand the concept of surrogacy by equating a mother's womb to a rented field. You rent out the field so that someone else can plant the seed in it, nurture it and get the produce. The concept is hilariously explained here.
Mimi is based on Mala Aai Vhhaychy!, a Marathi film from 2011, but it reminds me of Mohanlal's 1989 film Dasharatham. In the Malayalam film, Mohanlal's prodigal bachelor Rajiv Menon donates his sperm so that a Keralite couple could become parents. What happens in Mimi is a role reversal of sorts in that it is the heroine that does the good deed here, not the hero. In other words, it is not the story of how an American donates his sperm to help an Indian become a mother, but rather one about an Indian renting out her womb for an American pair to be parents.
Mimi has several hilarious moments, especially in the first half. Mimi lives in a small town where few are educated enough to understand the concept of surrogacy. This paves way for an element of humor in the early exchanges between Tripathi's Bhanu and Sanon's Mimi. Pankaj Tripathi delivers the film's funny lines in a deadpan manner, making the moments more enjoyable. It is also hilarious to see how his Bhanu convinces the American couple, Summer and John, to seek the deal.
For an industry that seldom gets white characters right, Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock are good choices to play Summer and John. They come across as an ordinary couple with a good deal of compassion who knows what it feels like to not have a child for a long time. So, it does not appear convincing when the writers make a big decision about the couple in about the middle of the film. What it leads to is a cliched and saccharine drama where the main characters claim possession of what they hold near and dear to them.
There is a lovely scene where Mimi asks Bhanu why he helps her with the sheer ordeal that she goes through. Bhanu replies that drivers like him have principles, so they do not leave any passengers before making the destination. Tripathi and Sanon have a chemistry that I particularly enjoyed. The same goes for the relationship between Mimi, her father played by Manoj Pahwa, and her mother played by Supriya Pathak.
Writer-director Laxman Utekar treats the central events in Mimi in a conventional way, with a complex set of issues having easy resolutions. I understand that people in a small town can view foreigners as responsibility-shirking individuals who lack commitment. But when even a doctor reveals a piece of information about foreigners' role in surrogacy, you get the feeling that this point is conveyed more aggressively than needed. Utekar's treatment of the material is timid, but it is not even the main issue with the movie.
The film is well-intentioned, but it does not quite work at an emotional level because Kriti Sanon lacks the acting chops to make the titular character work. There is a Bollywood heroine halo around Sanon as Mimi, and she does not deliver the dialogues as a small-town girl. She is sweet, but what this character requires from an actor is a performance of perceptiveness.