It’s 2021 and Bollywood has still not come out of its nutshell of unwillingness to be more realistic with powerful subjects. Bollywood’s connection with surrogacy dramas remains as just another approach to glamourize motherhood. Laxman Utekar-directed Mimi is no different.
Today when movies related to such a topic come up, audiences ought to expect something that strikes a chord. Sadly, Mimi is “everything like what you are expecting” (quite evident in its trailer itself) contrary to its tagline “Nothing like what you’re expecting.” The pool of solid acting talent — Pankaj Tripathi, Supriya Pathak, Manoj Pahwa, and Sai Tamhankar — might raise some hopes, but only to lose it to a loosely-knitted plot with nothing that could hook the viewer. Mimi’s frequent attempts at making things light with a throw of comedy at instances is also a failure with unimpressive writing.
Set in 2013, the movie opens up by giving us some glimpses about the business behind surrogacy, and an American couple (Evelyn Edwards, Aidan Whytock) looking for a surrogate in India. Then follows how the protagonist ‘Mimi’ played by Kirti Sanon, a small-town Rajasthani who dreams to be a Bollywood star, is lured into this business and how her life goes on a rollercoaster ride after taking the offer, and then being left halfway by the intended foreign couple.
Usage of words such as ‘maal’ for women lending their womb for surrogacy, the unnecessary metaphorical references of ‘khet,’ ‘beej’ and ‘ganna’ repeated in the movie, or the describing of a possibly Downs Syndrome baby as ‘maansik roop se viklaang’ is a distasteful manner of writing.
The movie doesn’t fall short of upholding all the stereotypes of glorifying motherhood and portraying women as a symbol of sacrifice. All it does is fail to portray stories of perhaps those fragile-looking women in the first scene, who are mentioned as the new ‘maal’ at a surrogate dealer’s office. That is the real situation across the country, far from the glittery Bollywood portrayal.
Adapted from a Marathi film ‘Mala Aai Vahhaychy,’ Mimi written by Utekar and Rohan Shankar ends with melodrama unrealistically resolving all its dilemmas.
Having said all that, Mimi is definitely Sanon’s career-best performance as she pulled off many shades of the character with ease.
Mimi was released four days ahead of its schedule of July 30 because of an online leak.