What is the story about?
Mimi, a dancer, and her friend Shama, are approached by Bhanu, a taxi-driver, with a unique proposition. Bhanu offers Mimi the chance to be a surrogate mother for an American couple, John and Summer, for which she will get paid Rs 20 lakhs. Dreaming of going to Mumbai for a film career, Mimi accepts the offer. However, when medical tests show that Mimi's child will suffer from disabilities, Summer and John refuse to take the baby. This leaves Mimi, Bhanu and Shama distraught. What will the pregnant Mimi do now?
It's hard to watch Mimi and not think of the 2012 hit Vicky Donor. Just as the latter movie took up the subject of sperm donation and brought it into the mainstream, Mimi, which is an adaptation of the 2011 Marathi film Mala Aai Vhhaychy!, deserves a lot of kudos for bringing the conversation around the ethics of surrogacy in the open. Director Laxman Utekar, along with co-writer Rohan Shankar, do not blindly follow the original film for their story, however, but make it more light-hearted in tone. While this makes the first half a crackling affair in terms of humour, this unfortunately also makes the second half very bloated and heavy-handed. In trying to give the movie more dramatic heft, the makers go overboard with the melodrama. This also slows down the film considerably, especially in the last half-hour.
Fortunately, for Mimi, the three protagonists, Mimi, Bhanu and Shama, provide the firepower and heart needed to carry this film forward. All three characters playoff each other very well, and their comic timing and emotional beats are very much on point. Instead of focussing only on Mimi, the makers decided to cast the lens wider and look at other people in her circle as well. It is this solid characterization that makes the entire 132-minute runtime worthwhile.
The three central performances are solid. Kriti Sanon shines as Mimi, especially in the dramatic portions in the second half, when the story threatens to spiral out of control. Portraying a single mother who isn't ready for motherhood was always going to be tricky, but Sanon pulls it off. Pankaj Tripathi provides an acting masterclass as Bhanu. He is a hustler at heart, but Bhanu's heart is always in the right place, and Tripathi portrays him as "a knight in shining armour" without any forcibly-shoehorned love story. Sai Tamhankar reminds again why she's one of the best actresses in India right now. Her Shama could have been a one-note character, but Tamhankar infuses dignity and vulnerability in the war-weary singer. All three actors play off each other very well, and their bond forms the heart and soul of Mimi.
The rest of the cast is decent. Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock play Summer and John, and their characters are not ill-written, but also makes you feel for them. Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak play Mimi's parents, Mansingh and Shobha, in an over-the-top fashion. Atmaja Pandey is boisterous as Rekha, Bhanu's wife, while Jaya Bhattacharya shines in a bit role as Mimi's IVF doctor.
Music & Other Departments
A.R. Rahman's songs and background score lend depth to the story, with Param Sundari and Rihaayi De picturized very well. Akash Agarwal's frames are delightful to watch.
Several scenes in the first half burst with energy. A particular favourite is how a poker-faced Bhanu, after a few rounds of drinks, tells Summer and John he was preoccupied with puja. Another favourite is the conversation between Mimi and Bhanu, while they are sleeping at night.
The lengthy second-half stretches too much.
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
Yes. This is a good film for watching with the entire family.