Mimi is a heartwarming dramedy that draws attention to issues of childbirth, juxtaposed by the fact that millions of orphaned and vulnerable children are in need of homes.
Directed by Laxman Utekar and produced by Dinesh Vijan, the film tells the story of Mimi played by Kriti Sanon, a dancer whose dreams of making it big as an actress in Bollywood takes her life on a different turn when she agrees to become a surrogate mother to Summer (Evelyn Edwards) and John’s (Aidan Whytock) seed. The surrogacy starts out well until a misdiagnosis showing the unborn child with physical defect sees a pregnant Mimi abandoned to the task of raising a child she never planned.
Kicking off as a comedy in the first hour and some minutes of the film, viewers are given main character’s background as the only child of a traditional musician father and stay-at-home mother whose love and support contributes to her confidence, independence and ambitious dreams. This is juxtaposed with the wary but hopeful outlook of the married couple Summer and John whose surrogate-birth losses have not yet left disillusioned.
Gem moments of the movie take place in the last hour of the film, as it takes a dramatical and heartwarming turn. The protagonist’s grapple with the reality of becoming an unmarried mother of a Caucasian child, her eventual acceptance of the child, and fears of losing her child to its birth parents made the film worthwhile.
In addition to addressing issues around surrogacy such as the legalities, health issues, and conditions of such agreements; Mimi highlights the irony that while many are determined to have natural childbirth through surrogacy or in-vitro fertilization, millions of children globally are orphaned and in need of homes. According to the movie, there are over 153 million children without parents, a population with the capacity to rank the 9th most populated country in the world. The film also raises the contentious issue around surrogacy, especially in cases where the real parents abandon the child, but in cases where surrogate mothers unlike Mimi lack the support system to rear the child, or are unwilling to shoulder such responsibilities.
Kriti Sanon gives a convincing act as a young unconventional mother, who despite life’s hard knock raises the child in her own unique way. The actress beautifully channels the special bond between surrogate mother and her child Raj (Jacob Smith) who has become the centre of her world. Their bond is everything and a joy to see and re-watch. Props go to Jacob Smith – whose expressions, gestures, command of Indian language, and accent (though dubbed over to achieve), is a joy to watch. Same goes to actress Evelyn Edwards whose portrayal of a child-lorn mother nearly outshines Sanon’s Mimi. Pankaj Tripathi as Bhanu who is the typical comic relief character, had his moment delivering the enlightening monologue that articulates protagonist’s transformation.
The sore point of the film, however, is its hasty end. It feels unfinished, as though the writers settled for a happy ending without attention to the credibility of the resolution compared to reality.
Special prop goes to composer A.R Rahman whose composition of the movie tracks Hututu, Rock A Bye Baby among others written by Amitabh Bachchalkar, and performed by Shashaa Tirupathi, Khatija Rahman and Julia Garth elevated what would have a typical Indian movie to something more. Contrary to the usual three-hour movies interspersed with 15 to 20 minutes dancing and singing, Mimi limits the dance fests to fit scenes of the protagonist’s dance life, then uses Rahman’s music to set mood and depict passage of time.
A great family movie, Mimi is an icebreaker to discussing childbirth issues as surrogacy but a reminder to childless couples and those seeking natural childbirth that there are millions of children in the world who need their love and homes. And that one needn’t have blood relations to a child to love the child as one’s own.