HICHKI (2018)

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Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) suffers from Tourette Syndrome a nerve disorder that makes her tick and make strange involuntarily noises. She is spirited and a brilliant student with a masters in science and bachelors in arts and education. She desperately wants to be a teacher but her medical condition has resulted in her repeated failures at being hired as one. She finally gets a chance at teaching at a reputed school when the school is forced to take in some downtrodden kids as part of the “Right to Education” policy of the government. The rest of the film is about how Naina deals with her condition and the problems arising out of it to educate a group of kids who are not only the lowest section of the society but would also do everything in their strength to be in denial of their social status.

This is a film that does almost everything right. It has a good story to tell. It has a leading lady who is at the top of her game. It raises an important social issue and also offers a solution to it. It teaches us about a certain medical condition and how no medical condition can ever choke the indomitable spirit of man. It has a thrilling second half and twists and turns aplenty. And to sum it all up, it ends with a bang and nearly leaves you teary-eyed.

In spite of all that, this is still a film that will be hard to recommend to be watched in theaters paying a hefty entrance fee. It just doesn’t have anything that we haven’t seen in past film. It is so devoid of any shine and glamour that it could be looked at as a scripted documentary. Since this is all about students learning in a classroom and the ensuing conflicts and troubles, there is very little room for any heightened drama apart from the ones that this film brings to the table.

I have always believed that a feature film should at first be about entertainment and then anything else. While Hichki relates an important story, it should have done so in an inspiring and entertaining manner. This is a film that I will have no problems in watching on a cable channel or for that matter for free on YouTube once but definitely not a second time. If one asks me to pay for it and watch it on the big screen, I will not abide as I don’t think it needs the big screen treatment. There is nothing in it that would merit a large screen release. I Know! I Know! movies that shouldn’t have been made are getting wide releases in India these days and I am just as harsh on them as I can be. But that fact alone doesn’t go on to justify this film’s theatrical release.

Hichki is great for the small screens and the online media. This is the kind of film that has a good social message, is well made and has a leading lady in Rani Mukherjee who is natural and transfixing but it neither has the content nor the charm or the wow! factor that would pull you into the theaters.

Rating : 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

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