Hichki review: Rani Mukerji delivers a sparkling performance in this meaningful film

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Hichki Review: Rani Mukerji sparkles in every scene and is joined by a group of effervescent child actors who will make you laugh and frown with them

After a gap of three years, Rani Mukerji is back on the big screen with Siddharth P Malhotra’s Hichki. The film is based on Brad Cohen’s book, Front of the Class : how Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had. Films based on student-teacher relationships are hardly made in Bollywood. The last notable film was, of course, Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par. In Hichki, Rani Mukerji aka Naina Mathur is a young woman who aspires to become a teacher as it was a professor who helped her build her confidence as a child suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome. The film also throws light on the drawbacks of the conventional educational system and how learning is not limited to the classrooms.

What is it about..
Naina Mathur is a part-time animator, who wishes to take up a full-time teaching job. Many schools reject her job application but finally she gets a job in St Notker’s, the school that gave her a chance as a student with a speech defect. However, the class assigned to her is the ‘worst division,’ (as it’s popularly known) that comprises of students from the slums, who have got admission through a special initiative. They are rebellious and have successfully chased away previous teachers. How Naina changes their outlook and that of the school is what Hichki is all about. 

What’s hot…
Rani Mukerji breathes life into the role of Naina Mathur. She is first-rate throughout and we want to see more of her in films. The actress carries the film on her shoulders. She is sassy, free-spirited, non-judgmental and has the ability to laugh at herself. Neeraj Kabi, as the snobbish Science professor, who believes that the slum kids are ‘municipality school’s garbage’ does a good job too. Even Sachin Pilgaonkar, as Rani’s dad, puts in a nuanced performance. The kids are endearing and make you feel for them. The film has a good background score, which elevates the emotional scenes. The film also addresses some deeper issues with schooling – whether it is finding a place for differently-abled children in regular schools or the deep sense of discrimination that’s rampant in many elite institutions. 

What’s not..
The film’s sore point is its predictability. We know what to expect. Though the run-time is short, some portions look stretched. Hichki does not explore other facets of Naina’s life in detail, which is disappointing as it could have helped the film manifold.

Hichki might be a tad predictable and not as emotional as a Taare Zameen Par but it is a very well-meaning film that has its heart in the right place. It is an insight into how a good teacher can make a difference for a lifetime.

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