3.5 / 5
The Marathi film Mala Aai Vhaychay (2011), directed by Samruddhi Porey, was released a decade ago. It won the National Film Award for Best Film in Marathi. It addressed the taboo subject of foreigners hiring Indian girls to be surrogate mothers and was said to be based on a real life case. Mimi is the official Hindi adaptation of the film.
Mimi (Kriti Sanon), is a small-time dancer who lives in a village near Jaipur. She works as a traditional dancer in five-star hotels and dreams of making it big in Hollywood one day. One day a driver, Bhanu Pratap (Pankaj Tripathi) approaches him with a proposal. An American couple, John (Aidan Whytock) and Summer (Evelyn Edwards) want to hire Mimi as a surrogate mother and are willing to pay her 20 lakhs for it. Thinking that he will have the money to settle in Mumbai and pursue his Bollywood dream, he accepts the proposal. Everything works out for a while. She tricks her parents into thinking that she got a job as an actress aboard a cruise ship and is going to live with her friend Shama (Sai Tamhankar). Bhanu is appointed her guardian by the Americans. One day, however, discovering that she might not have a normal baby, John and Summer run away, leaving her high and dry. Mimi’s parents also find out about her pregnancy. She decides to keep the baby anyway and little by little everyone accepts her decision. However, four years later, John and Summer return to claim their baby Raj (Jacob Smith) …
Director Laxman Utekar has made many changes from the original film, which was hard-hitting and realistic in content. The difficulties a surrogate mother faces during her pregnancy in a small town are overlooked here. Mimi is surrounded by caring people who are awake enough to accept her situation and support her. While this kind of utopian behavior is commendable and should be encouraged, this is not something that really happens in our society. The movie really comes to life when the child is born and the bond between mother and child is established. The movie is based on the premise that a child gives birth to a mother. Mimi, who had originally done it all for money, puts her dreams aside and becomes a caring, caring, full-time mother to her son. She is content just raising him and wants nothing more from life. Raj is Mimi’s world and she cannot be separated from him, even when it is obvious that she is legally bound to do so.
The movie is fueled by some rock-solid performances. Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock make their mark as an American couple who want a baby at any cost. Evelyn, in particular, is the very image of a distraught woman who desperately wants to experience motherhood. Fortunately, they are not painted like cartoons. His pain is also humanized. Supriya Pathak and Manoj Pahwa speak more with their gestures, their body language than in real dialogue, and yet they express their point of view. A bit of melodrama is involved in his performance, but it is not exaggerated. Pankaj Tripathi is in top form here as a conscious pilot. He does not abandon Mimi to her fate and endures everything that life has in store to help her. He is in her corner at all times and the sincerity he generates is palpable. The same can be said for Sai Tamhankar, who plays Mimi’s childhood friend willing to make all kinds of sacrifices for her. Sai is a reliable hand and does his job admirably well. The movie belongs to Kriti Sanon. He is someone who has been taking calculated risks throughout his career. It’s his toughest role yet. Little by little he adapts to his character and at the end of the film he is the very image of a tigress that fiercely protects her cub. It is the most mature performance he has given so far. His scenes with child actor Jacob Smith are the lifeblood of the film.
In general, watch the movie for its delicate story and for Performances by Pankaj Tripathi and Kriti Sanon…