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Mimi Movie Review: Kriti Sanon delivers her career-best performance in Netflix's premature release

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Mimi Movie Review: Kriti Sanon delivers her career-best performance in Netflix's premature release

Vijayalakshmi Narayanan

Director : Laxman Utekar

Genre : Dramedy

Our rating :

Just when you thought that the trailer of 'Mimi' had already given away much of its plot, do you realise that what you saw was only till the intermission.

Based on lawyer-turned-filmmaker Samrudhhi Porey's National Award-winning Marathi film, 'Mala Aai Vhhaychy!', 'Mimi', directed by Laxman Utekar, pushes the envelope further to explore deeper, undiscussed issues surrounding the myths pertaining to surrogacy.

Based in Shekhawati, Rajasthan in 2013, a childless American couple (Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock) chance upon Mimi (Kriti Sanon), an aspiring actress, who earns a living from dancing at cultural shows, through their Indian tour driver and guide Bhanu (Pankaj Tripathi). They know it then that she would be the surrogate who would bear their child and carry it to term. An initially reluctant Mimi eventually agrees in the hopes that the money being offered in return will allow her to pursue the big Bollywood dream. She is supported in her endeavour by her childhood friend and business partner Shama (Sai Tamhankar). The challenges looming at large are aplenty. She has to fake a film project in front of her unsuspecting parents (Supriya Pathak Kapur and Manoj Pahwa), move into Shama's neighbourhood posing as her Burqa-clad relative and fake marriage with Bhanu. Ofcourse, Bhanu and Shama look after her and feed her needs. All is well until a routine check-up reveals that the baby could be born with disabilities. The distraught expectant parents do not want to accept the child and they abandon an unprepared Mimi, who is left to face the consequences of her choice.

Written by Utekar and Rohan Shankar, 'Mimi' is a tightrope walk to keep the audiences hooked with emotions and the tonality of the film while also adding semblance to some of the conflicts which threaten to dilute the film's prospects. Because while the intentions are honest and admiringly benevolent, the execution does falter. For example, I was never convinced as to why Mimi wouldn't have wanted to pursue her dreams, despite embracing motherhood. The film chooses to romanticize her sacrifice. Of course, one could perceive that as a choice too. But my point of view is that Mimi, as a person is not a victim of circumstances. She is feisty and completely in control of her life. Which is why the shift in her characterization seems baffling. Secondly, the well-meaning wokeness of involved family and friends seems too convenient and to an extent, contrived. The makers hardly scratch the surface in situations where harsh truths are revealed and these instances are immediately resolved through humour. Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray's production design and Sheetal Sharma's costume design infuse the colours and chaos of Rajasthan into Mimi's world. Maestro A.R Rahman's background score is effective and moving but the soundtrack isn't as impactful in comparison. Though, 'Rock A Bye Baby' deserves an addition to your playlist.

The inconsistencies on paper are however glossed over by the superlative performances of the cast. Personally, my most favourite Kriti Sanon performance is in 'Panipat'. Or should I say was? Because with 'Mimi', she unravels a whole new dimension to her craft which none of us would've guessed. It's such a beautiful performance that you can barely tell the difference between the actor and the character. From Mimi's bold, unabashed celebration of her beauty and courage to embracing her maternal instincts, Kriti doesn't miss a beat. The only chink in her armour is the inconsistent Rajasthani dialect. Equally supporting her with his stellar act as always is the immensely lovable Pankaj Tripathi. He imbues Bhanu with convincing empathy that never comes across as patronizing. Sai Tamhankar adds a new dimension to the silent, supportive best friend. A key scene between her and Mimi sharing a moment of sisterhood left me teary-eyed. She draws the difference between being encouraging and being indulgent. The light-hearted moments between Mimi, Shama and Bhanu brim of deep-rooted friendship, immense respect and absolute selflessness. You will find yourself beaming alongside them. Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak Kapur as Mimi's parents offer their delightful presence even though the screenplay never allows them enough time to make the transition from their conservative conditioning to eventual awakening. Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock make for refreshing casting choices against the stereotypical dim-witted white portrayal, we've often witnessed in Indian movies, Despite their absolute shallowness, you allow yourself to empathise with their cause. Young Sheikh Ishaque Mohammad playing Aatif, a student who frequents Mimi's household, gets some clap-trap lines and completely owns his brief stint.

'Mimi' isn't perfect but certainly a much more entertaining and engaging film to have been churned out from Netflix's Hindi vault in recent memory. Make time for it.

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