Appa, can we go to Hichki today? Appa, can we go to Hichki today?
This is what my son was asking me every day for the last few weeks, I waited for his exams to get over and today we went to see the film.
Hichki (2018) starring Rani Mukerji is a story of an aspiring teacher who gets hired as a temp, she has to overcome her health condition the Tourette syndrome and prove herself. Due to her Tourette syndrome, she makes involuntary twitches along with a tic sound, this makes people look at her irritatingly and laugh at. I presumed the whole movie would be about her health condition and her personal struggle. Instead, Director Siddharth P. Malhotra has made the story about the struggles of a set of students hailing from the nearby slum, and how they overcome their handicaps with the help of their class teacher Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) and succeed in their exam. These students are studying for free under Government’s laudable RTE (Right to Education) Act, they get looked down by the affluent students and by other teachers as well – by focusing on them and not on the illness of their teacher, Director has given us an entertaining film.
For a good drama, the character definitions have to play out well on screen, the audience should be able to connect with them and Hichki succeeds in that – like the father character who abandons his family because he is embarrassed with the condition her daughter is suffering from – the character of Aatish, the rogue student who keeps sniffing mouthwash and adhesive – and the loving & caring brother of Naina, a talented chef, he is the pillar of support to her and one who cries with joy on her success.
Education is not easy. To make kids from a poor background to study and succeed in exams is really tough. It is one of the most daunting challenges facing humankind worldwide in this century. Hichki places the focus rightfully on the teachers, like the dialogue “there are no bad students only bad teachers” – unfortunately, the film doesn’t provide with any practical solutions or an impetus to start a dialogue on this – Hichki just coasts along with pedestrian fixes, an opportunity wasted.
Hichki – A good movie to watch with your kids and kickstart their summer vacation.
Also published on Medium.