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'Mimi' Movie Review: More than a bit problematic, no?

Updated on: 30 July,2021 02:21 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Mayank Shekhar |

How far back this sort of a thought can take us — propagated for millions of Indians, even if merely watching a movie — is kinda scary, for those yet unborn

'Mimi' Movie Review: More than a bit problematic, no?

A still from 'Mimi'

On: Netflix and Jio Cinema
Dir: Laxman Utekar
Cast: Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi
Rating: *

Yes there’s such a thing as a surefire concoction of a middle-class or small-town setting, dealing with big issues, topped up with humour, item songs, and a top-shelf cast — giving all of it the feel of a relatively low-budget, top-notch, full-on Bollywood entertainer still. 

To quote examples from Dinesh Vijan’s own productions: Stree (a horror-comedy, on women’s emancipation), Made in China (on jugaad entrepreneurship), Hindi Medium (on Right to Education Act), Luka Chuppi (on live-in relationships)… As you can tell, many work. Few don’t.

What’s possibly inexcusable is to simply lay an egg on the very subject a film is on. I’m afraid, that appears the case with Mimi — about surrogacy as a form of assisted reproduction. What do I really know about this subject? Practically nothing. 

What do I learn from this movie, apparently set in 2013, based on a Marathi movie from 2010 (Mala Aai Vhaychay), about a foreigner/white couple that hires an Indian womb/woman to bear their child? Well, to start with, a quick Google search will tell you more. That this practice itself (involving foreigners), that the film is based on, has been banned/illegal in India since 2015! 

Also Read: Laxman Utekar: Feel hurt because we worked hard on film

Furthermore, this firangi couple threatens legal action against the said Indian woman to seek custody of the child later. What had happened in between? These foreigners had run away! Wait, you can just do that? Now it’s beyond the purview of general entertainment to accurately guess how all of this could pan out in real life. So let’s just look at the film.

Young Kriti Sanon from the YouTube/Reel generation plays the small-town Rajasthani girl, renting her womb in exchange for money — so she can use that to become a Bollywood star! Pankaj Tripathi’s character draws her into this surrogacy scheme. He plays the taxi driver to the gora couple, that flees on being told that the unborn offspring shows chances of Down syndrome.

What do they do next? The girl’s parents are naturally conservative. The driver poses as husband. Parents nearly faint at the thought of him being Muslim, “Musalman hai, Musalman hai,” as if someone died. It’s not like the community hasn’t already been stereotyped/ghettoised all through the film — the Muslim character we see is either a maulvi or a tailor, going janaab, kabab, nawab, in a town where everybody else speaks rustic Rajasthani! 

The girl’s parents (Manoj Pahwa, Supriya Pathak) turn out to be immensely compassionate otherwise. The only time they’ve freaked out is about their unmarried daughter having borne a child from a man from another faith. They seem more than okay with her having rented her womb instead! Maybe this is rooted in reality. Surely the writers/filmmakers can do better than normalising being Muslim as such a devastating, racial slur. Place a line to hinge it.  

Also Read: Kriti Sanon celebrates her birthday with a special screening of 'Mimi'

Tripathi’s character isn’t Muslim after all. Heave a sigh of relief! And this film isn’t about that, as much as it’s about pregnancy. Period. The girl looks like in her third trimester. Doctors suggest abortion. The option exists. It’s unthinkable for the young girl though. For, what’s abortion, but genuine homicide? Murder! That is the film’s unquestioned argument, hammered in, right there. No counterpoint. 

How far back this sort of a thought can take us — propagated for millions of Indians, even if merely watching a movie — is kinda scary, for those yet unborn. To be fair this picture is supposed to be a comedy. They’ve stitched the best scenes into the trailer. A warped worldview is really what lies beneath.

Even more than that, it’s the plot, after the premise, that derails so badly, with the writers having painted themselves into a corner, spinning a never-ending yarn, you’d casually yawn — if not for calling out what’s being said or shown.  

Frankly, we’ve reached a point that I’m willing to patiently watch Pankaj Tripathi, no matter what he does on screen. To employ a talent like that, at the height of his game, for a film like this, playing such a one-dimensional character, seems criminal to me.

And there’s AR Rahman on the soundtrack. He’s an era, not just a musician. Which means, will have to listen to this score a few times over (which is the only way to appreciate his music). Hopefully, the memory of this picture doesn’t haunt much.

Also Read: Kriti Sanon's 'Mimi' releases four days earlier amid online leak reports

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