Rani Mukherjee Packs A Punch As Madamji In Hichki

If you are looking forward to a positive, optimistic weekend, Hichki is a must watch for inducing all those good vibes, and returning to your school benches and remembering your old teachers, school friends, and pranks of notorious ones! But Hichki is not just about reviving school memories. It is much more than that. Hichki is also not simply about: “There are no bad students; only bad teachers” that it reiterates throughout the film.

It is about understanding why bad students behave the way they do. A teacher should be more of a mentor is the need of the hour, is the idea that the film promotes.

From being accepted by her class 9F students from the slums, to understanding their needs, to be accepted by other elite students of the school is a tough journey for Naina Mathur (Rani Mukherji). In her challenging journey, she never for once considers her Tourette syndrome as an impediment.

Naina tries to get to the root of the problem and the results are alarming. The students whom she taught came from poverty-stricken background, and hence she understood they cannot be expected to behave like the other elite ones. What the film essentially teaches is that a good teacher has to get into the skin of his/her students; innovative teaching methods are not enough! And precisely that is why she takes the blame of the explosion in her Science class upon herself. It was a step not just to befriend her students but also to make them realise their true potential, talent and purpose in life.

Naina Mathur is not an ordinary teacher. She walks that extra mile to go beyond the classroom walls, literally! She goes to meet her students working at car garage, selling vegetables, in their homes in slums and rooftops to supervise their studies. She trusts her students, despite their notorious characters. And her investing trust in them does not go waste, eventually!

Hichki, however, is not simply about an extraordinary teacher. It is also about the ‘bad’ teacher Mr.Wadia, who serves as a foil to Ms Naina. His anagnorisis comes when he realises that his best pupil had actually tempted Class 9F students by leaking question papers, with a motive to rusticate them. His conscience gets awakened at that point, and then there is no looking back. He gifts two prefect batches to students of Class 9F, whom he earlier despised.

The film points to the deeper issues plaguing the Indian educational system despite the revolutionary step of Right to Education. Despite the opportunity, discrimination continues in different forms. With every new step towards progress, there is a hurdle that one faces, is the larger story that the film reminds us about.

Naina Mathur reminds us of Aman Verma from Mahesh Bhatt’s movie ‘Sir’ and Mack Thackeray from ‘To Sir with Love’. But the fact that Aman and Mack did not have a speech impediment raises our respect for her a bit higher up the pedestal.

Rani Mukherji as Naina Mathur is effortless. Her portraying the Tourette syndrome is definitely challenging, but she does it with a lot of grace and aplomb. Director Siddharth P. Malhotra channelises the potential of Rani Mukherji in a beautiful way, but perhaps, much more could have been tapped out, considering her prowess as an actor. The child actors were naturals. Despite their waywardness and notoriety, one could easily sympathise with all of them. Neeraj Kabi in the guise of Wadia proved to be a laudable strict, daunting and sarcastic opponent of Naina. Wadia is a catalyst, who takes the plot forward. But unlike a chemical catalyst, he himself undergoes transformation at the end of the film.

Hichki strikes an immediate chord with the audience. It is personal and creates an unfailing nostalgia of childhood and school days. The film also raises a positive hope about the profession of teaching. The passion of Naina Mathur shall hopefully inspire the Indian youth to inculcate it. A film that caters to your mind and heart!

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