Director Laxman Utekar’s film hits many chords at once, all beautifully struck in essence
This isn’t the first film in Bollywood on surrogacy (not a spoiler, but this isn’t only about surrogacy and talks about something else too, equally pertinent). But despite that, what keeps this film engaging is that it never leaves aside the main concept. Mimi never diverts from the topic of surrogacy and everything in the film revolves around it- social drama, humour, emotions, and above all the much needed moral lesson for everyone out there. This is a film that’s powerful and strong.
Watch the trailer here:
Mimi (Kriti Sanon), a small time performer in a village in Rajasthan dreams of making it big in Bollywood. At the greed of humongous money, she agrees to be a surrogate to a foreign couple who are in the village for tourism. Her life turns upside down when midway during her pregnancy, the couple declares that they no longer want the child.
The film is based on a story Mala Aai Vhhaychy by Samruddhi Porey. The screenplay is penned by Utekar and Rohan Shankar. The dialogues are written by Rohan Shankar. First things first, it’s a very interesting story. Although it remains a film on surrogacy and talks about it at length, it doesn’t remain restricted to it in approach. What it means is that although there is a very strong lesson imparted, the screenplay and the construction of scenes have a distinct flair encompassing so many different moods that you are pleasantly blown at the writing. Much more than story, it is the screenplay that impresses. It’s not an easy film to write but the writers have managed it really well.
One moment you are laughing. Immediately pops up a scene that chokes your heart. And suddenly one line that again makes you burst into a laughter. And things happen organically and not for a moment does it seem forced. The characters are enjoyable, the situations created- sometimes a little far fetched, but cinematically rooted. You may also question the legality of the matter initially when you see things going haywire. The makers have tried to answer all your queries, but the extreme rational people may still have their doubts going- ehh, how can this happen? For a film to happen, it can happen. And that’s not the only excuse for makers. What they have shown with respect to the seriousness of the issue, is spot on.
You would wonder, what would happen after the things that you saw in trailer took place in the film? That’s the interval point. But even then the film has enough substance to keep you hooked. There are many moments of predictability here, especially the end note. But Utekar keeps the charm of the drama alive, by fusing it with more conflicts, right till the final act.
The best part about the film is that it is thoroughly entertaining and the serious issue never makes it a dull affair. That’s also something to learn from the maker. Cinematographer turned director Laxman Utekar takes a high flight from his previous Luka Chhupi and proves that now he is here to stay. There are scenes accentuated by crisp direction- moment when Mimi steps into cowdung, or Shama’s (Sai Tamhankar) father’s encounter with Bhanu (Pankaj Tripathi) or the labour pain scene. These are just some moments wonderfully directed, giving you in volumes the effect of cinema.
Undoubtedly the best performance of Kriti Sanon till date. Obviously, she didn’t have in her kitty such a film and subject before. Here, she never falters. She has the body language of a queen reigning in her territory. The film belongs to her and she effectively owns it. In all shades of her character, she is a supremo. Her character not only goes through age growth but mental as well. She brilliantly becomes the shade herself and gives you a powerful performance.
Can Pankaj Tripathi ever go wrong? Take comedy, emotions, drama. Anything. And he is just the best. His comedy timing is better than most seasoned comedians. And when the need arises, he even makes you weep. Maturity and crassness are common in one character. To bring that out on screen is a Herculean task. He is the leading man of the film, despite not being cast opposite Kriti. If the film belongs to Kriti, Tripathi seems to have passed the baton for it to become that.
Sai Tamhankar is amazingly right for the role. In a supporting act that will be remembered for sure, she breathes life. She performs in a manner that you start thinking that without her, Mimi actually nothing. That’s how beautifully the role is written and that’s how passionately Tamhankar has performed.
Manoj Pahwa and Supriya Pathak- only their presence is enough for a scene to glow. Make them statues and the scene will lift up. Such geniuses they are. Both of them form the backbone of the drama. Remove them and the inherent depth from the film goes away.
Evelyn Edwards and Aidan Whytock also perform well. They have been made integral parts of the plot, been given good scenes to perform. They do their respective jobs well.
Songs by A R Rahman undoubtedly could have been a little better. But they do suit the narrative. Rihayi De sung by Rahman and Chhoti Si Chiraiya sung by Kailash Kher do give the film a soul. Background score is very good. Do observe how intelligently Rahman glorifies certain scenes by placing only certain tunes, also when there is no dialogue as such. It is also because of sound and music that the film is rooted emotionally.
Cinematography by Akash Agrawal is beautiful. Apart from the nicely captured locations and bylanes and streets, the visual appeal has also kept the film warm. The usage of warm lights for a major part of narrative lends the film a peculiar approach that makes you relate with characters. Production design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray too matches this warmth by filling the frame with elements that add to this effect. There are many colours but the frame is never tacky.
Editing by Manish Pradhan is also sharply conceived. The optimum runtime gives you enough but never bores. Infact you wouldn’t mind if there was more. The structure is fast paced and things don’t linger on for long. Character setup, conflict, resolutions- everything keeps moving swiftly. There are also sufficient breathers in form of secondary characters and song sequences to keep a balance.
This one is a very good film. Difficult subject. Difficult writing. But the output is adorable. Go for it.