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Mili movie review: Janhvi Kapoor's survival instincts are top-notch in this unhurried survival drama

Cinematically speaking, Jahnvi Kapoor has won in getting the nuances of this niche genre right.

Mili movie review: Janhvi Kapoor's survival instincts are top-notch in this unhurried survival drama
Janhvi kapoor in a still from Mili

Last Updated: 03.17 PM, Nov 04, 2022


STORY: Janhvi Kapoor's small-town Mili is an everyman you know in India—perpetually sandwiched between big dreams and familial responsibilities. But, as we all probably know by now, her life turns upside down one eventful night and the story that unfolds in front of the audience is a blend of anxiety-inducing survival strategies and a series of unfortunate happenstances. Barring the pace of the film, Mili is every bit the nightmare you do not wish to live. 

REVIEW: At the tender age of 10, I had accidentally locked myself inside a room that I couldn't get out of till my panic-stricken father managed to break the front door down. Cut to 2022—now, a fully grown woman—and all those suppressed feelings of helplessness and the thought that my life was withering away at that ripe age, came rushing back while watching Mili endure what she had to. In that regard, cinematically speaking, Janhvi Kapoor has won in getting the nuances of this niche genre right.

Yes, Mili starts off on a dramatic note: a filmy boyfriend, Sameer (Sunny Kaushal), who wouldn't work for those dates around the snow-capped mountains of Dehradun, a dependent father (Manoj Pahwa) whose emotional manipulation involves neighbours trying to talk her out of going to a foreign country on his behalf. The girl, simple and understandably docile, harbours the dream of bringing in big moolah while working as a nursing assistant somehwere in the biting cold of Canada. The boyfriend? Not happy. Father? Secretly devastated. Crushing under the burden of dreaming a seemingly isolating dream was Mili, who mouthed fancy English words by the day and wore Doon's Kitchen's apron by the evening to finance her ambitions. 

If the freezer was manned by many, how did Mili end up in it? Was it a sick ploy to get her to stay back in Dehradun? Who would pull such a sick joke? But, then again, emotions are running high and people are unpredictible. Mili poses a few relevant questions, and infuses life in it with apt conversational comedy, but the pace and tightness required in a survival drama is somewhat missing. Sure, Mili covers up for the lack of visual consternation with wit and humour, but after a point even the viewers ask: how soon can you wind it up? 

A still from the movie
A still from the movie

Of course, if the plan is to introduce Janhvi Kapoor as a bankable solo star right from the start of her career, Mili was a smart and logical move to make. Except for those hilarious-looking frost bites on her body—which she had no control over; I get that—Janhvi was organically vulnerable to her circumstances. One cannot help but moan in pity as tears trickle down her doe-eyed character. Janhvi, despite the flaws of the script and make-up department, holds her own ground in this leisurely made survival drama-thriller. 


Sunny Kaushal's chemistry with Janhvi Kapoor is easy-breezy and if that is how two people fall in love in the mountains, I am sold! Likewise, veteran actor Manoj Pahwa renders warmth and comfort to the narrative with his sleek one-liners and effortless bond with his on-screen daughter. Like I said, Mili, as a film, is self-aware and makes up for its flaws pretty darn well. 

Again, Mili is one of those films that remind you of an unpleasant incident or a mighty fall that you thought you wouldn't survive at the time. But you are glad to see she made it out alive, just like you did.

VERDICT: Mili has its ups and downs as a story, but if you are a sucker for survival dramas with a convincing back story, then give Mili a shot. 


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