Director: Laxman Utekar
Written by: Laxman Utekar and Rohan Shankar
Cinematography: Akash Agrawal
Edited by: Manish Pradhan
Cast: Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Sai Tamhankar, Supriya Pathak and Manoj Pahwa
Streaming on: Netflix and JioCinema
Feisty is an adjective I attempt to not use, however mainstream Bollywood is aware of no different sort of small-town lady. She dances on stage, slaps males, speaks to Ranveer Singh posters on her wall and bustles with generic North Indian spirit. What Mimi does is introduce this feisty lady in her quintessential firebrand narrative – one which guarantees love, freedom, goals and all that jazz – earlier than airdropping her into essentially the most non-feisty (it’s a phrase, I simply invented it) state of affairs conceivable. One sort of method movie merely collides – and is hijacked – by one other. Rom-com Mimi meets Social Commentary Mimi: She agrees (too simply) to be a surrogate mom for an American couple in trade for good cash. All of that is executed with the scientific precision of a lab experiment. You can virtually hear the technicians’ drone-like directions: Mating Exhibit A with Situation C, recording behavioral patterns. The result’s mildly fascinating and principally forgettable.
It’s no secret that industrial Hindi cinema has a trailer downside, and the three-act trailer of Mimi is not any exception. It’s a montage of the complete film, together with the battle: The American couple ditch the deal, leaving a closely pregnant Mimi with no possibility however to lift the white child on her personal. While such a trailer could be annoying for the unassuming viewer, it does free critics from ‘spoiler’ accusations. I can now be particular concerning the movie. The premise – based mostly on the 2010 Marathi drama Mala Aai Vhhaychy! – is wise as a result of the idea of surrogacy permits the movie to organically tackle a number of different societal flaws. It’s an all-in-one package deal deal: single motherhood, unwed being pregnant, India’s fair-skin obsession, gender discrmination and so forth. I like that the American couple – who bail on Mimi as soon as they study (in a poorly written scene) that the child is perhaps “disabled” – are a subversion of Bollywood’s archetypical white villain. They are flaky, impulsive and egocentric – and sure, one in every of them speaks Hindi too – however their desperation to be dad and mom additionally humanizes them within the eyes of the viewer. They’re the protagonists of their very own marriage story. I additionally like that Mimi is an aspiring actress: a delicate touch upon how the “shelf-life” of the typical Indian heroine is inextricably linked to her home standing. Kriti Sanon furthers her Bareilly Ki Barfi avatar into uncharted territory right here, and for many half, she does positive. Physical transformations however, she shows the sort of emotional depth that her filmography dearly lacked. If one seems to be previous the ‘nude makeup’ that motion pictures equip their crisis-ridden feminine protagonists with within the identify of naturalism, Sanon reveals glimpses of the performer she will grow to be.
But a small-town premise within the post-Stree (and post-Hindi Medium) period comes with sure caveats. The need to be quirky forces the movie to overreach for cultural humour. For occasion, Mimi’s nine-month hideout at her Muslim greatest buddy’s place is simply too on the nostril. The concept – of getting Hindu characters acceptable one other faith for the sake of comedy – is hardly unique. It’s additionally lazy writing. Out comes the burkha, the damaged Urdu, the suspicious maulvi, the namaaz jokes. Then there’s the movie’s crippling dependence on Pankaj Tripathi, an actor who could make the air look humorous if he needs. Tripathi performs the motive force who fixes the deal between Mimi and the couple. His character is compelling, as a result of he’s nothing just like the stereotypical hustler one may anticipate. The actor’s inherent integrity extends to the motive force’s persona as effectively. But in fact, the Hindi movie feels the necessity to spell the “driver metaphor” out in a scene the place Mimi pointedly asks him why he didn’t abandon her. You quickly sense that the makers are frightened about capturing any scene with out Tripathi. (Who can blame them?). A foolish monitor – of Tripathi pretending to be the daddy of the child and residing as a ‘ghar-jamai’ in Mimi’s shocked family – is a consequence of the movie force-fitting his presence into her journey. It does culminate in a traditional confrontation sequence – the type Priyadarshan used to excel at – when his actual household crashes the celebration, however the double-ruse is a bit too far fetched.
There’s additionally the matter of the setting. Given that the plot encompasses a white couple, Rajasthan is sensible on paper. But the feel and the remedy mirror an outsider’s view of this world. Ironically, it’s like the complete movie – and never simply the protagonist’s resolution – is designed to appease the Asian-exoticism gaze of the Western vacationers. The makers are clearly out of their consolation zone, as an alternative selecting to Bollywoodize a rural Maharashtrian story: The accents are inconsistent, Mimi’s dad and mom appear to be they’re dressed to host a desert sundown safari, and even the lanes are jarringly vibrant. Thankfully, Pankaj Tripathi’s character is from Delhi.
The makers are clearly out of their consolation zone, as an alternative selecting to Bollywoodize a rural Maharashtrian story
Apart from being horribly overwrought, the ultimate thirty minutes additionally reveal the movie’s fragile sense of craft. It’s apparent that the movie – as soon as Mimi settles into the position of younger motherhood – can solely head in a single route. Once this portion begins, the melodrama regresses right into a zone the place solely the response photographs of Mimi’s dad and mom (Manoj Pahwa by the way performed Supriya Pathak’s oldest son in Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi) and her greatest buddy (the gifted Sai Tamhankar is wasted) account for half the screen-time. The high-pitched palette will not be uncommon, nevertheless it feels sterile and predictable after the writers are performed with the comical beats. Here’s the place the music comes into play. Mimi will not be the sort of movie one may affiliate with an A.R. Rahman soundtrack. Which is why it makes for a curious watching expertise. There is an odd sense of dissonance between the storytelling and the sound – as if each composer and film are attempting to fulfill halfway.
On one hand, the story makes use of Rahman’s background rating and songs as a creative crutch. Most of the dramatic parts cross by in a musical blur. On the opposite hand, a number of the music makes the movie look much more contemplative than it really is. For occasion, the monitor Rihaaye De – which has strands of Rang De Basanti’s Tu Bin Bulaaye – scores the whole lot of pregnant Mimi’s unhappiness at dwelling. It seems to be cinematic, nevertheless it’s additionally a shortcut: the writing itself is simply too superficial to cope with the implications of time. The stress of the dad and mom, the hostility of the neighbourhood, the betrayal and rage – it’s all magically resolved by the point the tune ends. It’s not even like a sports activities coaching montage, the place the mundanity of figuring out is greatest offered as a visible feeling. Lightweight motion pictures like Mimi discuss life whereas concurrently shying away from it. The presence of artists like Tripathi and Rahman could carry a second or three. But it additionally means that they’re merely narrative surrogates for a movie struggling to conceive a lifetime of its personal.