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Hichki Movie Review: Rani Mukerji as Naina Mathur is flawless in this Siddharth P Malhotra film

In HIchki, Rani Mukerji as the plucky Naina Mathur is flawless. She portrays her character with sincerity. "I can't see you as a teacher," one blunt administrator tells her. To which, she replies, "Before meeting me, did you know about Tourette Syndrome? Well, now that you know, I have educated you."

Tripti Karki Tripti Karki Updated on: March 23, 2018 17:20 IST
Hichki Movie Review
Hichki Movie Review
  • Movie Name:Hichki
  • Critics Rating: 3 / 5
  • Release Date: MAR 23, 2018
  • Director: Siddharth P Malhotra
  • Genre: Drama/Comedy

Rani Mukerji's comeback film Hichki released today amid great expectations, and the powerful actress did more than justifying her role. Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra, the film is emotionally inspiring and the audience can actually feel a connection. Playing the character of a young girl named Naina Mathur, who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, she faces numerous hurdles in her life. However, it is not the setbacks that the films talks about but rather how Naina overcomes all her problems and follows her dream to become a teacher. Hichki is adapted from 2008 released English film, "Front of the Class", which is based on Brad Cohen's book "Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had". 

Playing the role of a teacher, Rani Mukerji teaches chemistry to a class of 17 students, her speech peppered with multiple vocal tics, as she compulsively wipes her chin with her fist. Then she continues. This simple but poignant portrayal of Tourette Syndrome goes beyond the usual pity reaction that one usually associates with persons with disabilities.

Since a meaningful story demanded an intriguing title that would serve as a metaphor to challenges, weaknesses, prejudice and social stigma, director Siddharth P Malhotra really craved out a perfect title for the comedy drama.

The film focuses on turning disadvantages into opportunities and staring down at challenges that life throws at one and ultimately winning over them. 

Hichki reveals how as a student she was expelled from twelve schools before finally being accepted wholeheartedly at St. Notker's High School. The same school later accepts her as a teacher, mid-term, not because of her brilliant academic credentials but because of a crisis situation. She is hired to teach a class of underprivileged, reluctant misfits. How she wins everyone's hearts, forms the crux of the tale.

Looking back periodically to show Naina as a child, the film is most powerful in some of those flashback sequences.

How as a child, she convinces herself that Tourette Syndrome is her lifelong companion and that could teach her important lessons about human nature. That bit of disassociation which is crucial helps her cope with otherwise difficult situations. This comes through in her strained relationship with her father and also when she tells her school teacher, Mr. Khan, "Treat me like other students."

The film is packed with dramatic moments that are as truthful as they are inspiring. Every scene resonates with sentiments. With apt metaphors and lingo, the writing is simple and straightforward. And while the film intends on communicating life-affirming values, there are moments in the first half that seem forced.

The second half, despite the painstakingly moralistic notes, touches the right chords. You get so immersed with the characters especially Naina. You feel sorry for her when despite her sincere efforts, her class gets suspended, for no fault of theirs.

What elevates the film is the brilliant performances by the supporting cast. You can relate with every character as each one of them is well-etched. The ones that stand out apart from the gang of students are Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar as Naina's estranged parents, Ivan Rodrigues as the School Principal, Neeraj Kabi as Naina's colleague at school who is keen to dismiss Naina's students from the school and of course the character who plays Naina's brother.

With ace production values, the film is well-made. The only sore point is the loud background score that kills the subtlety of the subject.

Rani Mukerji returned to the big screens with Hichki after four years. She was last seen in the 2014 flick Mardaani, where she played the role of a fearless cop. Hichki might not be about powerful positions but Naina is surely daring in her outlook inspiring people to achieve their goals irrespective of shortcomings.

Hichki is definitely worth a watch!