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Mathukutty Xavier’s Mili another bland Bollywood remake. And Janhvi Kapoor is the worst part

If you’re expecting Mili to be a Bollywood equivalent of Danny Boyle’s 127 hours — then disappointment is in store.

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In an era where South Indian films are ruling the roost, it is no surprise that Bollywood has whipped up another remake. Directed by Mathukutty Xavier, Malayalam film Helen did well at the Box office when it was first released in 2019. The director has now made a foray into Bollywood by recreating his own directorial in the form of Janhvi Kapoor starrer Mili. But she can’t live up to Anna Ben’s original.

A Boney Kapoor production, Mili was projected to be a scintillating survival thriller but is, instead, another bland attempt at copying Hollywood thrillers. The only thing that doesn’t disappoint is A.R. Rahman’s score.

Mili, a goody-two-shoes, is a 24-year-old with big dreams. She lives in Dehradun with her father (Manoj Pahwa), takes IELTS classes so she can move abroad for better education, chides her father for smoking cigarettes and dates Sameer (Sunny Kaushal) secretly on the side. When she’s not studying, she works at a local fast food joint, Doon’s Kitchen.


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Janhvi can’t make you root for Mili

The film takes off slowly and focuses on Mili and her life, trying desperately to make her seem likeable. Her good-girl demeanour and incessant need to care for everyone around her is a sad and lazy trope Bollywood enforces upon some female characters, and we see it here in full swing.

The first half seems to try and develop a relationship between Mili and the viewer, to ensure that one’s sympathy kicks in during the second half, where Mili gets stuck in a cold storage room at her workplace.

Now if you’re expecting Mili to be a Bollywood equivalent of Danny Boyle’s 127 hours — then disappointment is in store. Because while things do start pacing as the film shifts gears (thank goodness), what dominates is Janhvi’s attempt at being noticed as the solo lead.

As she writhes in pain and almost freezes to death, you do feel bad for the woman. But she fails to engage the viewer beyond this point.

But it’s not just Janhvi’s character—nobody manages to impress. Not Mili’s father and not Sunny Kaushal. Other than the side character who plays Mili’s boss, the entire cast falls flat on its face. But it could be that this is the point—that it is, indeed, a simple melancholic tale and no heroic story with an ideal ending.


Also read: Shallow, superfluous, frustrating—Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi’s Double XL is a dud


Second half raises hope

The film only starts reeling you in from the second half. You’re so into it by this point that you even forgive and forget the sloppy Jackie Shroff cameo that hits you out of nowhere.

The background score does a good job of propelling the film forward, making things all the more ‘chilling.’ No more praises, though.

Mili is not the worst. Perhaps a one-time watch for someone who enjoys thrillers. The film appears slightly ‘wannabe’ in its ways but still boasts of an engaging plot. I will, however, still place my bets on Gurmmeet Singh’s Phone Bhoot making for a better experience this weekend.

Views are personal.

(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)

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In an era where South Indian films are ruling the roost, it is no surprise that Bollywood has whipped up another remake. Directed by Mathukutty Xavier, Malayalam film Helen did well at the Box office when it was first released in 2019. The director...Mathukutty Xavier’s Mili another bland Bollywood remake. And Janhvi Kapoor is the worst part