Mimi has been making waves since its release. The film sets out to stir a conversation within the Indian audience on the still taboo topic of surrogacy. To this extent, KRITI SANON aka Mimi performs with great aplomb. She speaks to LIPIKA VARMA on the challenges of the role and gives us an insight into the ever-transforming industry.
With an early release on Jio Cinema and Netflix, Mimi has opened the audience to a much-awaited discourse on often hushed topics such as abortion, surrogacy, and the ethics of parenthood. The film, directed by Laxman Utekar and produced by Dinesh Vijan under his banner Maddock Films, classifies as a comedy-drama owing to how it chooses to approach the topics at hand. The film, which is a remake of the National Award-winning Marathi film Mala Aai Vhhaychy!, has led to being dubbed as Kriti Sanon’s best performance to date. Learn more about the film and its process in her own words.
We see you play the role of a surrogate mother in Mimi. What kinds of preparation did this role require of you?
There was a lot of mental as well as physical preparation involved. I had to gain 15 kilos to look the part. Laxman Sir was clear about what he wanted the closeups to look like. I have thankfully been blessed with a strong metabolism, so it’s not easy to gain so much weight so quickly. Once I did however, other problems arose. I was not allowed to do yoga or exercise, and the lifestyle change took a toll on me. The character also has a strong emotional journey. To truly get into the spirit of a girl who does not want to be a mother and has extenuating circumstances, I chewed my director’s brains for everything, from how she would speak, react, and respond to certain situations. The role made me explore aspects I have never done before. The film is multifaceted; one of the most interesting ‘shades’ of my character was how she gets angry since I am very different when angry myself. I think by the time we neared the end of filming I had completely leaned into Mimi.
Mimi brings up quite a few pertinent questions, especially surrounding the topic of abortion. Why do you think this is so contested?
The movie is inspired by the Marathi film Mala Aai Vhhaychay! and is based on a true incident. About 12 years ago, a foreign couple had come to India to find a surrogate and then left soon after she got pregnant. After that, the laws for surrogacy became much more stringent, and only recently have been revised. The laws should be strict on both the parties where a surrogate mother should not be left mid-way and after the birth, the surrogate mother should also not refuse to hand over her baby. It is a beautiful thing to do, where you hand over your surrogate baby to a couple who cannot have a child of their own, but it is also complicated! Both the parties interested should be protected. I think Mimi has a beautiful message to give out. I hope, once people watch the film and go through the character’s journey, they understand why she did what she did and end up saying “Oh, she did the right thing!
“I think by the time we neared the end of filming I had completely leaned into Mimi.”
THE PERILS OF STARDOM
Since you have entered the industry, you have taken your strides carefully. How do you look at stardom and fame?
It means a lot. Since the time I have entered the industry, I have craved for both! First, for people to recognize the work I do. I want to be known as a good actor. I want people to come and tell me that I made them cry or I made them laugh in a particular scene. When you can generate emotions with your work that is the most satisfying thing ever. I want stardom and fame to come along. People love my work, and appreciation in whatever form uplifts me. I feel I have a lot more potential than what has been explored and I will continue to feel that way. I am very ambitious. I am glad, I am in a great phase of my life because I am getting to these diverse roles for which I have always craved. Stardom also comes with a lot of responsibility; you have a lot of power to inspire people and you have a voice where you can motivate people to do better.
“There’s a quote that I abide by: ‘Never let the success go into your brain and never let the failure go into your heart’.”
With the success of Luka Chuppi, you gained recognition as an exuberant comedy actor. Mimi also falls within comedy-drama. Do you find yourself establishing a stronger foothold through such roles? What does comedy mean to you?
My favourite genre is a situational comedy. I love how people’s reactions change based on the situation. In our everyday situations, there is so much comedy. I love when an intensely emotional situation is shown comically. One moment you’re laughing and in the next moment there’s a lump in your throat and then with the next scene, you burst into tears. There’s so much stress in our lives! So if I can make someone laugh or smile then that’s a big thing for me. For me, situational comedy is my favourite! Whether it is Bareilly Ki Barfi or Luka Chuppi, I feel like there should be humour in some way or another.
How do you look at the success that is fluctuating in an industry like Bollywood where one film does well and another subsequently tanks?
For me, it is very temporary. There’s a quote that I abide by: ‘Never let the success go into your brain and never let the failure go into your heart’. Success and failure are part of your journey and a part of your life. The one thing you should be consistent about is whether you are growing and evolving from the situation or not. Sometimes failure teaches you more than success can ever do. I want to constantly evolve and grow. I always want to evolve as a better actor and become a better person. With every experience I have gone through, I have learnt something valuable from them.
Tell us a little something about your upcoming projects. Where can we see you next?
All the films that I am doing are very different and I feel lucky that I took up all these diverse projects. Hum Do Hamare Do is based on a very different concept, a kind of adoption completely contradictory to what is shown in Mimi. It is going to be a very warm film, a complete family entertainer. Bachchan Pandey is has action and romance packed in a comedy-drama. The chemistry between Akshay Sir and I is working well for such a meaty role and an interesting script. Bhediya will be my first horror-comedy; my look in the film is very different from what people have seen before. Working with Varun after such a long time since Dilwale (2015) was fun. I loved working with director Amar Kaushik as well; I love his energy and enthusiasm on the set, and I think he has very young-positive energy on the set which is very infectious.
Adi-Purush is yet again a unique story and comes with a lot of responsibility. Director Om Raut is technically very sound; he is also an engineer, from what I have got to know! He is very clear with what he wants, his research is on point and his vision is what makes the film stand apart. I have shot for some portions of the film, and it is something shaping to be larger than life. We shot it on Croma with a different world that was created. Adipurush is an expensive film. I am working with Prabhas and Saif [Ali Khan]. I will follow up on the upcoming schedules in the coming months.
“All the films that I am doing are very different and I feel lucky that I took up all these diverse projects.”
Adipurush is a Hindi/Telugu film. Your debut was with Sukumar’s Telugu psychological thriller Nenokkadine. Will we see you speak in Telegu again?
Yes! I did that film long back. I will be speaking in Telugu in Adipurush since it is a bilingual film.