I was quite excited to watch Mimi, even though the trailer gave away half of the film, primarily because of its subject matter and the cast, especially Pankaj Tripathi.
On the latter front, Mimi doesn’t disappoint. The performances, if slightly over the top at times, are heartrending. Kriti Sanon has a meaty role and she bites into it with relish even if her accent slips at times & you are suddenly confronted with a city girl in Mimi’s garb. While the always dependable Pankaj Tripathi is great in comedic sequences, he shines even brighter in serious & emotional scenes. The ensemble cast too, especially Sai Tamhankar as Mimi’s confidante Shama & Sheikh Ishaan Mohammad as the student Aatif, are fantastic.
But apart from the cast, the film is fraught with problems. Centred around sensitive issues like surrogacy and parenthood, Mimi too often slips into a melodrama that unfortunately does away with logic & science.
Sample this – the American couple Mimi is the surrogate for, decide to abandon their plan & ask Mimi to abort the child. This is at around at least 20-24 weeks of pregnancy (going by the prosthetics & hints in the movie like the baby starting to kick etc) by which time, medically & legally speaking (at the time), abortion can no longer be a viable option.
One may brush away the couple’s suggestion as them not really caring for Mimi’s health but the fact that after a certain number of weeks, abortion becomes medically problematic for the mother is not brought up at all, even by the doctor! Instead the filmmaker decides to go down the murky road of whether or not it is correct to abort a foetus. Even this issue isn’t tackled with the nuance it deserves. In fact, the film has Mimi comparing aborting a foetus with killing a child, “Killing a child after its birth is a crime but killing it inside the womb is not. Why?”
While this sentiment may be explained away as something Mimi would think or say considering her social context, this statement is allowed to float in the film with absolutely no debate, and indirectly taking that agency away from pregnant women. Yes, the situation here is different but such dialogues, especially when left un-countered, have implications far beyond the issue at hand.
Additionally there is also a scene where the doctor tells Mimi that many surrogate mothers are abandoned by the people they are carrying the baby for. This statement begs a rebuttal by Mimi as to why she was not informed of this from the get-go but the film evades the moment completely. Also if the entire thing was done legally, were there no legal safeguards in place for protecting the surrogates? None of these questions are answered or even asked in the film.
However it’s not just logic, medical science & ethical debates that this film ignores, but for a story so rooted in emotions, Mimi is frustratingly contrived. Situations as serious as a small town girl from a traditional household seemingly eloping & getting pregnant are resolved within minutes. Or the fact that an Indian couple have a child with clearly Caucasian genes raises no suspicion except awe & curiosity to know what to eat to achieve a similar feat. Even the climax which is so rushed that it does away not only with the law of the land, but also the very crux of this film – the emotions of motherhood that it has placed itself so precariously on. The film is unable to make the audience empathise with anyone except the lead character & her side of the story. This would still have been fine, if they had not tried to humanise the other party in a bid to make a complex film (as it should be, considering the subject matter). The film ends up coming off as insincere and half-hearted.
Mimi must have been a good concept on paper. Sadly its execution seems to have left any impact the filmmakers were hoping to create, on that paper itself. With a cast as good as this, one can only imagine how much more reflective this film could’ve been.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.