An ultimate heartfelt story which resembles to a great extent the life story of Brad Cohen. As an avid reader, I found the life of ER Braithwaite, the black american teacher who inspired his students- the novel, To Sir with Love- a genuinely felt story. Though I haven't watched the film as a whole, I foumd what I saw amazing. On the note, Hichki was especially disappointing because despite being so very well-intentioned it failed to strike the chord and was all so Bollywood. Rani Mukherji pulls off a surprising performance as Naina Mathur, and she saves the show in first half. But when the students take the show in the second half, you totally forget what you actually enjoyed. It's an ultimate underdog narrative, but I felt let down. I'm going with two out of five.
There are two main conflicts in Siddharth Malhotra's second feature film Hichki. First is about a high school class of students who are unable to pass their grade and the second is lead character Naina Mathur's Tourette's Syndrome. The former will make you look at the film with familiar grin and tear while the latter will make you re-believe in Rani Mukherji's talent. As a combination of these two, Hichki falters at the middle, but as a film that introduces Bollywood's audience to the neurological disorder, it excels. For the entire running time of 2 hours, Hichki reminded me of M Mohanan's 2011 Malayalam-language drama film Manikyakkallu where a class of mischievous, quarrelsome, and financially backward students are taught the importance of education by an ideal teacher. Hichki is a rehash of that same theme with the only difference of the medical condition. A villain in the school, his troupe of smarter students, and the school administration are what our protagonist has to tackle in order to make her new class of students pass the year. With cringeworthy and slightly uncomfortable sequences, Hichki goes on an uncontrolled trip to a Utopian world where contrived drama is at the top. The blame is both on the writers and director Malhotra for not maneuvering the story better. Mukherjee, as noted earlier, is phenomenal in her character, doing her due diligence when it comes to portraying a person with the syndrome. I also loved Neeraj Kabi's (last seen in Dibakar Banerjee's Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015)) distinctive performance as the Student Council in-charge who spews poison with his eyes alone. The kids are great and do what they are told, helping the narrative etch out themes that are highly relevant in today's competitive classrooms. If Hichki had not sampled the condition then it would have been a failure. As it is now, there is only so much one can enjoy in it, thanks to Mukherjee. TN.