Hichki review: An emotionally inspiring film
You can relate with every character as each one of them is well-etched
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Friday 23 March 2018
Hichki review: An emotionally inspiring film
Sidharth P. Malhotra
Rani Mukerji, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Neeraj Kabi, Shivkumar Subramaniam, Asif Basra, Ivan Rodrigues, Harsh Mayar and Kunal Shinde
Adapted from a 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, director Sidharth P. Malhotra’s Hichki is a feel good, emotionally packed and inspirational film.
It is the touching story of Naina Mathur, a young girl who would not let Tourette Syndrome keep her from doing what she loved most; teaching. Despite her speech defect, she sets out to become a teacher.
Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder which sets off multiple motor tics which include compulsive throat-clearing, knee knocking, violent muscle twitches and piercing barks. These tics are beyond one’s control. While the exact cause that sets off these tics is not known, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
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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.”
This simply tells you how persevering she is.
The film reveals how as a student she was expelled from twelve schools before finally being accepted whole heartedly 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.
Watch the trailer here:
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.
The loving relationship between the siblings is well-defined.
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.
Overall, Hichki remains in your mental space long after you leave the theatre.
Hichki review: 3 1/2 Stars
Reactions from social media
#Hichki is such an honest film,especially because of @thisraani she always remains the soul of all her roles.. felt connected. thank youuu @sidpmalhotra for letting me experience that! Today u made me proud brother
Makes you laugh and cry. Your heart stays with Naina Mathur throughout and after the film. Kudos @sidpmalhotra so so proud #Hichki
Shilpa Shetty Kundra
Just watched #Hichki ,so inspiring. A splendid and flawless performance by my dearest #RaniMukerji, a difficult subject handled so well by director @sidpmalhotra . Take a bow team #Hichki. Must watch
Last nite I saw a brilliant film with such touching performances that I was transported into their world!! Well done #RaniMukherji what can one say!! And my younger brother @sidpmalhotra , I m floored at your handling such a sensitive subject with such finesse ! #Hichki @yrf
The rare sensitivity of a simple story that says so much more subliminally! #Hichki is not to be missed! #RaniMukerji is the emotional core of this lovely film! More power to the entire team! @HichkiTheFilm @sidpmalhotra
#Hichki is a feel good and extremely sensitive film....adresses a disorder with dignity and strength....#RaniMukerji is the soul and life of this film! She is absolutely brilliant!!!! And reminds you of her exceptional talent again!!!!
I love d feeling of being bowled ovr by a film the way a film puts one in a state of euphoria tht lasts long after u walk out of d theatre,#RaniMukherji :outstanding ,unprecedented ,the children: so endearing & my friend @sidpmalhotra take a bow brother so so proud @yrf #hichki
Rani Mukherjee is flawlessly natural as always & congrats @sidpmalhotra for making a sensitive story so funny and relatable too! #Hichki
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