Hichki movie still
Director: Siddharth P Malhotra
Cast: Rani Mukerji, Neeraj Kabi
What kinda class 9 in a school has only one teacher, pretty much teaching them science and math, and nothing else—practically through the day—while the kids sit around being so obnoxious, that you wonder why they wake up in the morning, step outside, to reach that classroom in the first place.
These are poor, neighbourhood kids in a pretty swanky school, relegated to a special section F. Which is why the super-posh looking, senior teacher (Neeraj Kabi) can’t stand them? What follows in their syllabus, time-table, or life, as it were, are such predictable stuff—probably fed into a screen-writing software—that the F could simply stand for slightly Fake.
The teacher recruited to reform the unruly teenaged kids (some of whom have been cast quite well), is an enthu-cutlet, double B-Ed, suffering from Tourette Syndrome: a tic disorder that could cause sorts of involuntary motions in the body—blinking of the eye, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, facial movements, etc.
All of which I have begun to learn only from Wikipedia, given the film, with its repeated explanation of there being momentary hiccups in the wiring of the brain, tells me nothing more; besides the heroine uncontrollably going, “Wah, wah, wah,” brushing her wrist against her throat. And sadly, making the audience laugh at her, on occasion (at least in my theatre), which defeats the whole purpose altogether.
Clearly, as against my expectations, this is not a film on the Tourette Syndrome. It is based (with due credit) on Brad Cohen’s memoir, Front Of The Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me The Teacher I Never Had. It takes us back to school all right. Which explains the number of young boys and girls at the film’s FDFS (first day, first show).
At the centre of it all is very much Rani Mukerji, with the most radiant smile ever on the silver screen—a path-breaking actor in her own right, especially in the early 2000s, given Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black (2004), where she didn’t just grab audience’s attention (cracking the part of a blind-mute girl), but also inspired a host of aspiring actors starting out at the time (Kangana Ranaut etc.), to expect, and take on female roles that phenomenally challenged them as performers as well.
Honestly, Mukerji doesn’t disappoint here either. The script, or the story, more so, does. You know exactly what’ll happen next as the teacher pulls along her delinquent pupils from the nearby slums—with the camera’s gaze fixed at capturing the usual poverty porn/tourism, and dialogues aimed at some equally banal, sanctimonious preaching.
Sure, we could do with a fine, desi version of Dead Poets Society (1989). This film’s intentions—even if multiple, and therefore all mixed up—are laudable, no doubt. But, naah, doesn’t quite cut it, you know. Or at least doesn’t seem like worth cutting classes for, anyway.
Watch the trailer of Hichki
Also view: Rani Mukerji: These childhood pics of the Hichki actress should not be missed
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