Mili Review: The film starring Janhvi Kapoor, Sunny Kaushal, and Manoj Pahwa is an edgy survival drama with a weak first half
Are you going to see Mili this weekend? Read our review of this Mathukutty Xavier film.
Mathukutty Xavier’s Mili, set in Dehradun, India, is a remake of the director’s own 2019 Malayalam survival-thriller, Helen. Mili (Janhvi Kapoor), the titular character, is a hardworking, focused, and dedicated girl who is extremely close to her father (played by Manoj Pahwa). She aspires to live abroad, but for the time being, she works at a fast food restaurant to support herself and her father. However, fate has it that one unfortunate night she becomes trapped in a freezer and struggles to save her life, while her loved ones search for the missing child. What happens next is revealed in the film.
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The second half of the film is the most powerful because it takes you on an emotional roller coaster that includes fear, anxiety, patience, sorrow, guilt, and much more. As a result, the majority of its high points are concentrated in the last 60 minutes. AR Rahman’s phenomenal background music contributes to the plethora of emotions. That is one of the most important aspects of a survival drama, and the Academy Award-winning composer fully realises it.
Sunil Karthikeyan, the film’s director of photography, has captured some incredible shots, particularly those shot in the freezer and depicting the central character’s pain. Furthermore, the vision of Production Designer Apurwa Sondhi is beautifully supported by these frames.
The first half of the film, particularly the section that depicts and describes Mili’s life. Given the project’s genre and the thrill and mystery it promises, the aforementioned narrative could have been trimmed down. A survival drama must keep you on the edge of your seat, and Mili takes his time getting the audience there. To the director’s credit, he wants you to understand Mili’s world before embarking on her journey of pain and triumph, so you can relate to her struggle.
That’s an excellent point. However, writer Ritesh Shah, in collaboration with director Mathukutty Xavier and editor Monisha Baldawa, could have squeezed in that portion at a more appropriate time.
Mili demonstrates Janhvi Kapoor’s maturation as an actor. Her performance allows you to empathise with the titular character’s anguish, which is a major accomplishment for an artist. Her on-screen chemistry with Manoj Pahwa, who plays her father, is palpable. Pahwa’s portrayal of various emotions is effortless, and one wonders if there is anything he can’t do on screen. Sunny Kaushal gives a sincere performance in his limited screen time, while Anuraag Arora makes you hate his character, SI Satish Rawat, which speaks volumes about his performance in the film. Sanjay Suri makes a brief but significant appearance. There is also a surprise cameo in the film. Keep an eye out for it.
Overall, Mili is a sincere attempt that fails to make a strong impression. However, the performances, particularly in the second half of the film, make it a watchable film.