Film: Hichki

Cast: Rani Mukerji, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Sachin Pilgaonkar and Harsh Mayar

Directed by: Sidharth P Malhotra

Rating: ****

When we hear the name, Rani Mukerji, we often make an image of an actress of yesteryears in our mind and think of her as some forgotten artist. But if we look at her career, the longest gap between films was between her last film Mardaani in 2014 and Hichki in 2018. And she maintains the same spirited presence as she did in her previous performances.

Hichki starts off with Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) being interviewed for a teaching job and to no surprise gets rejected again and again. The flashbacks pour in and then we get to see the hiccups of her life as well as the hiccups due to her neurological disorder named Tourette syndrome. Though inspired by the 2008 American drama Front of the Class, the film differs by conveying the message of right to education more than being a sob story about a syndrome.

The best thing about the film is that it doesn’t let the protagonist play victim of a disorder and instead focuses more on the methodology of teaching students with underprivileged resources. Director Sidharth P Malhotra executes the idea of fair education in a fair way. He subtly explains the difference between ‘Why’ & ‘Why Not’ and also sheds light on why the ‘lower class’ children are often a nuisance in a ‘High Class’ school with students allotted in section A to F as per their academic calibre, with A being the toppers and F for the assumed failures.

There are continuity errors but they are overshadowed by the excellent casting by the casting director. Neeraj Kabi is excellent as the teacher who wants the F section to fail and he sets a fearful aura whenever he arrives on screen. The child actors, especially the most notorious Aatish (played by Harsh Mayar), are a delight to watch. All other 13 child actors too performed well and were well suited for their roles. Rani Mukerji is the soul of the film and proves yet again why old is gold. Her Mardaani act was stellar and now this one as Naina is way better.

The music by Jasleen Royal is fair enough but no song is worth being remembered, though Madamji Go Easy has a foot-tapping tune. The cinematography by Avinash Arun is spot on for a film with light tone. The use of lighting is well done and it sets the mood right for the respective scenes.

Hichki is not like Taare Zameen Par that had several emotional and hard hitting scenes. It plays well as a light-hearted film with a number of social messages, treating everyone equally being the most important one. Barring all the little absurdity in the story, such as why Class 9 was the most important class and not Class 10, 11 or 12, the film is still a must watch for everyone.