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.
In the past decade or so, a new genre that Bollywood directors seems to be interested in are movies where the protagonists are either physically challenged or suffering from genetic and neurological disorders. Hence we had movies on dyslexia "Taare Zameen Par", Asperger's syndrome "My Name is Khan", progeria "Paa" etc., to name a few. The latest to be added to that list is Rani Mukerji's "Hichki" where she is suffering from Tourette's syndrome. So will the movie have am engaging story that will keep us hooked???
Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) is a well qualified charming young lady who is passionate about becoming a teacher. However, all her efforts to get a job in her preferred profession failed as she suffered from Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder which made her interviewers skeptical of her ability to teach. After numerous failed attempts, she finally landed a job at the esteemed St. Notkers which also happened to be her alma mater. But she had a daunting task in front of her as she had to tame of class of unruly students. Will she rise upto the challenge or will she forced to opt for a different profession just like her father said???
Based on the book "Front of the Class" by Brad Cohen & Lisa Wysocky, "Hichki" is the second movie of Siddharth Malhotra after "We are Family" in 2010. There is no doubt that it is endearing & keeps us engaged despite the predictability. It does reminds us of flicks like "Dead Poets Society" among others & the lack of novelty in the events that unfold might be a deterrent at times. None of the technical aspects deserves special mention though Hitesh Sonik's music was fine. The heart & soul of the movie is undoubtedly Rani Mukerji, who is back on the silver screen after a hiatus with her last performance being "Mardaani" in 2014. She has done a praise worthy job & equally impressive (or at time even better than Rani) were the bunch of super talented kids. The rest of the cast such as Vikram Gokhale, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Hussain Dalal have also done their parts aptly.
Verdict: The film will surely have word of mouth in its favour & that is reflected in the box office collections as well. As per latest reports, it has accumulated a total of 22.5 C until yday making it a viable project for Yash Raj films due to the low investment. In short, dont hichak to watch Rani & her students!!!
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.