'There are no bad students, only bad teachers', says Rani Mukerji's Naina Mathur to a fellow teacher at an important juncture in Hichki. A single scene so powerful that leaves you with a lump in your throat! Well, Hichki is made up of several such heart-warming moments which make you laugh and shed a tear. To teach is to touch a life forever and that's what the central protagonist of the film believes in. But, the journey isn't a bed of roses for her; especially when she has her own sets of 'hichkis' to overcome. What comes as a wonderful surprise is that the film doesn't turn into a sob story even in the most dramatic moment and that's such a fresh breather!
Coming to the plot, Hichki begins with Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) giving an interview for the job of a teacher. The panel of interviewers are quite impressed with her multiple degrees. Until, Naina makes a gruntling sound. Eyebrows are raised. She tells them she suffers from Tourette's syndrome, a nervous system disorder marked by involuntary motor tics. Another job application goes down the drain. But not before, our sassy Naina decides to give them a crash course in her disorder.
After numerous rejections, Naina finally lands a job at a Catholic school whose naming founder St Notker had a speech impediment. But a bigger surprise awaits in store for her there! She's entrusted the responsibility of 9F, a classroom of underprivileged rebellious teens who have been written off by the elite crowd. The rest of the plot revolves around how Naina wins over these misfits and gives them wings to fly.
Right from the first frame, Rani Mukerji makes a solid impression. She plays Naina Mathur with great conviction and makes sure you don't take your eyes off her even for a single second.
She's the emotional core of Hichki and carries the entire film efficiently on her sturdy shoulders. She's the kind of teacher who imparts physics lessons with boiled eggs making you wish that you had someone unconventional like her during your school days.
Watch out for the scene where she breaks down at a crucial point. It will leave you with goosebumps for sure! Playing a specially-abled character is a daunting task, but she pulls it off with gravitas and so effortlessly!
By the end of the film, all I could say was, 'Rani, we would definitely love to see more of you on screen'.
Neeraj Kabi sails smoothly and has a winning scene towards the climax. A brilliant job by casting director Shanoo Sharma when it comes to bunch of kids. Particularly Harsh Mayar as Aatish who shows a fresh spark. Sachin Pilgaonkar and Supriya Pilgaonkar too put up a good show.
Hichki is Siddharth P Malhotra's directorial debut and the man does a commendable job. Agreed, a sense of predictability creeps in at many points but Siddharth turns the tide in his favour by giving us touching moments which leave a mark.
Speaking about the flaws, the narrative does drag a bit and gets repetitive in some parts. While we know that Rani teaches Maths and Science to the kids, it's unclear about the rest of the subjects.
Another drawback is the film's music which lacks a recall value. A set of good songs could have been a bonus here.
Avinash Arun's cinematography has a breezy vibe and adds a nice hue. Shweta Venkat Mathew's editing is fine.
Hichki comes across as a 'feel-good' film with a remarkable performance by Rani Mukerji. She gives you enough reasons to embrace this 'hichki' with a smile. There's a dialogue in the film which goes like, 'School ke bahar zindagi jab imtihaan leti hai tab subject wise nahi leti'. Hichki, as a whole passes this exam with flying colors!