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Hichki  ( U ) (2018)  (Hindi)
Take all the underdog students and hero teacher films and add a dose of Right To Education and a give the teacher Tourettes so we also learn to empathise with differently abled people. The film checks all the boxes of stereotypes and yet only a couple of scenes manage to touch you. It's neither Dangerous Minds, nor is it To Sir With Love. Rani Mukherji needed a stronger, smarter script.
2 out of 5 (Average) Hichki NOWRUNNING REVIEW | Manisha Lakhe
Rating:  2.4/5
Nowrunning Critics: 2.0/5 | External Critics: 2.7/5 | Users: 3/5
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Rani Mukherji plays Naina Mathur, a highly qualified teacher with just one 'problem'. She suffers from Tourette's Syndrome which means she is unable to control the hiccup-like sounds that become worse when she is nervous. She gets a job to teach the kids who have been given admission to a fancy school simply because the school cannot deny admissions to kids because of their poor background under the new Right To Education. So far so good.

We see how Naina suffered ridicule at school and was inspired by a wonderful teacher - a sequence very well and rather empathetically shot. We see how her dad (Sachin Pilgaonkar) does not understand his daughter and wants to send her to a special school, but her mother (Supriya Pilgaonkar) wants Naina to lead a normal life. Naina has not forgiven her dad for leaving them. So far, so good.

Then begins the descent into stereotype. The Principal (Shivkumar Subramaniam) is good, but the Science teacher (Neeraj Kabi) is bad. The kids from grade 9A are all privileged and scholarly but some are rotten. The kids that Rani Mukherji has to teach are in 9F: 'Failures', 'Not fit to study in this school', 'poor', from the wrong side of the tracks. The kids themselves are so stereotypical you begin to gag on your popcorn: One raps, one is a math whiz but gambles on the street, another brings okra to cut so she can cook for the family (you begin to wonder if there's no other vegetable poor folks eat), there's a lad who works in the bicycle shop and he's mad at the whole world, another works in a car chop shop who is best friends with the boy who is mad at the world. Then there's a couple of girls who are very bright. Another belongs to a Muslim community and her father has great dreams for her. Yes, there's also romance in the form of the lad who's mad the world likes a girl who is a prefect and from the fancy '9A' hence perfect. By the time you groan you watch kids play pranks on the new teacher by sawing off the legs off her chair, explode stuff in a bin, you know science stuff...

The teacher sticks on and teaches them math and science and chemistry (no, don't ask why no other teacher in school is assigned to that class!) and makes it all fun and games and sticks up for the naughty students (winning them over stereotype box checked!). The Science Teacher Mr Wadia (Neeraj Kabi) hates these kids, and no one tells you why. He's just nasty. So we see Naina's encounters with this bad teacher and hear platitudes like: There are no good and bad students, only good and bad teachers. You know there will be a faceoff between the privileged students and the underdog students. Thankfully there is no math/science olympiad but a final exam. Asif Basra gets to play the school peon, Shyamlal, who you know will turn out to be a turncoat. You are beyond groaning at this point. Could it get any more pathetic?

It's been shot well, and Rani's angry helpless breakdown at school will bring tears to your eyes, but everything else is so sloppily written, you know how it is going to end. Yes, Sachin the dad comes around, the badly behaved kids call her their Pole Star, guiding light, the bad teacher realises his prejudices and all's well you think, but no! The filmmakers have watched Vinod Khanna's film Imtihan (1974) and want to give the same iconic tears and joy farewell to Naina Mathur as well... Rani Mukherji is a good actor, and to see her in this stereotypical high school film is a pity. This film is nice, but fails to touch your heart.
Critic: Manisha Lakhe
 2 out of 5 (Average) 2 out of 5 (Average)  

WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good

User Reviews:    Write Review

bollywood
Mallika Rupakula 
Beautiful performance by Rani Mukerjee makes the movie watchable. The movie is highly recommended for movie buffs of any age. Please go and watch it right now!   Hichki User Rating



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