The 2021 Bollywood film “Mimi” picks an interesting plot – how foreigners visit India for cheap surrogate shopping & sometimes decide to dump the goods they ordered, because shoppers can be fickle.
Directed by Laxman Utekar, it stars Kriti Sanon as Mimi, a dancer who agrees to be a surrogate for an American couple because she needs the large paycheck to fund her dream of becoming an actor. Pankaj Tripathi plays Bhanu, a driver who helps seal the deal between the couple and Mimi, for a lump sum of course. Mimi spins a yarn about landing a movie deal to her small town parents played by Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak, and claims she needs to be away for 9 months for the shoot. Things get complicated when the Americans decide they don’t want the baby, when Mimi is already heavily pregnant with their child.
The first half of the film is fun, filled with stereotypical but witty jokes that will get easy laughs out of the average Indian viewer. Pankaj Tripathi is the heart of this film, with his perfect comic-timing and impeccable acting as the greedy driver with a heart of gold. Up until the first big twist, ‘Mimi’ was largely entertaining and breezy, but it soon becomes dangerously preachy, when it tries to peddle the conservative line of ‘pro-life’ over ‘pro-choice’. Mimi’s character starts off as a vivacious ambitious woman, who has no inclination towards motherhood and becomes a surrogate only for the money. However, when the American couple flees India after suggesting she abort their child, Mimi turns into this emotional pro-life advocate, hamming about how about abortion equals murder and that parents should keep their kid, no matter what. So Mimi gives up on her Bollywood dreams and raises the child. And yes, that’s a choice too, we appreciate it, but it shouldn’t have been pushed as ‘the only right choice’.
Tempted to reveal a few other twists to explain some other problems with the script, but will hold those details back. The second-half of the movie gets slow and the story is dragged on for no reason, it’s 25 minutes too long. Laxman Utekar could’ve either wrapped it up half-an hour early, without a fresh and extremely predictable turn towards the end, or should’ve at least sped-through the ‘mother-child’ moments between Mimi and the kid. It doesn’t help that the child actor cannot speak a work of Hindi and his lines are badly dubbed. The background music and a few songs in the movie are quite forgettable and do little to enhance the story.
The biggest relief for viewers in this movie is the fact that it’s not overtly emotional, in-fact, Mimi’s parents are almost unrealistically accepting, even though they do shed a few tears and are shocked beyond belief. Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak don’t have a lot of screen-time, but are adorable as Mimi’s small-town parents. Kriti Sanon pulls off the role with ease, although her character traits are inconsistent (blame the writers).
‘Mimi’ is a funny drama, which doesn’t dwell too deep into the problems of surrogacy or prenatal science, but touches just enough points to give viewers a very superficial idea of how it works. The last half-hour feels too long, but is an interesting example of the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”. Largely entertaining, Mimi is a 7/10 from me.
Subscribe to our podcast on YouTube by the same name – Abstract AF
Listen to episode 29 for some fun movie recommendations.