I MAY have liked this film more than most people did. The reason for that is, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, ever since my third grade if I recall correctly, and this movie is the story of a teacher. A woman who spent 5 years searching for a teaching job but couldn’t land one because she has a speech defect called Tourette Syndrome. So Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) says “my intelligence doesn’t have Tourette” and never gives up hope. It all pays off when she finally lands a job as a math and science teacher at a renowned school in Mumbai.
Enter “basti ke bacche”, 14 students from a nearby slum who got admitted into this prestigious school. Naina has on her head the mammoth task of nudging this notorious bunch towards a better attitude, and better life. She takes it head on.
Now, there’s no twists and turns here. Everything unravels strictly by the book. Once you’re introduced to the characters, you know exactly where this movie is headed. But what the movie loses (if I may say so, at all) in terms of its unpredictability quotient, it gains and more in terms of interesting AND perceived contrast between our idea of a teacher and the reality.
The movie is a remake of the 2008 American film Front of The Class. While I haven’t watched FoTC, Hichki by itself is a very enjoyable film. It’s very heartwarming. At the center of all the drama is Rani Mukerji, shouldering the film. She never hits a false note, not once, and is a treat to watch. All the kids are flawless, with special mention for Harsh Mayar (national-award winning child actor for I Am Kalam). Harsh is going places, mark my words, y’all. The exceptional talent of Neeraj Kabi deserves a more etched-out character but within its scope, Kabi is perfect.
On the downside, I felt the the father-daughter duo and their thread deserved more attention.
Overall, I loved how I felt while watching the film and how I felt after leaving the theater. This may be a remake, but its meaningful cinema. I am going with 4/5 for Hichki!
PS: All the images are screenshots from the film’s official trailer on YouTube.