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The tagline of Rani Mukerji’s upcoming release Hichki reads, “What is life without a few hiccups”. Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra, the film is the story of Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji) who turns her weakness into her biggest strength. She is an aspiring teacher who suffers from Tourette Syndrome. After several rejections, she lands her dream job as a full-time teacher in one of the most elite schools in the city and deals with a section of students who poke fun at her condition and are not ready to accept her as their teacher.
The film bankrolled by Yash Raj Films is inspired by the story of American motivational speaker and educator Brad Cohen, whose book Front of The Class was earlier translated on the screen in 2008 American film Front of The Class.
1. Rani Mukerji
Rani Mukerji is making a comeback to the silver screen after the birth of her daughter Adira. In the trailer of the movie, she jerks her neck as she battles through the neuropsychiatric disorder called Tourette Syndrome and struggles to say a sentence at one go due to her speech impairment. Despite all the odds, she (Naina Mathur) doesn’t let go of her dream of being a teacher and builds a healthy relationship with her students. Considering how Rani has always been invested in the character she portrays and understands the sensibilities of it, her role of a determined teacher looks promising in the Siddharth P Malhotra directorial. Also, looking back at how she has earlier presented the life challenges of those with disabilities in 2005 film Black, Hichki leaves us excited to see Rani back in action.
2) Student-teacher relationship
Bollywood has explored the teacher-student relationship in movies like Taare Zameen Par, Chak De India, Iqbal and others. Hichki too brings to screen the inspirational story of a teacher’s relationship with her students. A teacher has always been shown as someone who embraces the imperfections of his/her students, here the onus is on the students on how they accept their teacher with speech impairment.
3. Bollywood’s attempt at dealing with physical impairment
After Jagga Jasoos, Hichki seems to belie the perception that Bollywood films only make speech disorders a part of the film’s narrative for comic belief. Here the writers Sidharth P Malhotra and Ankur Chaudhry have tried to deal with the Tourette Syndrome sensibly and have dealt with the subject in a mature manner. The film maintains that hiccups in life like speech defects are not permanent and there is no weakness which is out of human capacities to overcome by hard work and determination.
4. A Yash Raj Films project
With the name of Aditya Chopra’s production house Yash Raj Films being associated with a film, the expectations of the audience increases manifolds. And YRF has been living up to these expectations for a long time now by collaborating with a young and new bunch of directors who give Hindi cinema a fresh lease of life. If we look at the last release under the banner, Tiger Zinda Hai, starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, the movie pulled the audience to the theatres and did a business of Rs 339.16 crore in India.
5. Celeb review
Before the movie opens in the theatres for public viewing, it was screened for the film fraternity. After watching the YRF project, everyone had all good things to say about it. Rani’s contemporary Urmila Matondkar said, “Hichki will leave you with a sweet smile, moist eyes and high spirits” and Madhuri Dixit broke down after watching the film. “Hichki is a moving and heart-warming film helmed by a brilliant story with a wonderful cast. A strong content-driven film, very well-directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and of course another stupendous performance by Rani,” said Madhuri. Karan Johar, Anil Kapoor and Sushmita Sen too liked the movie and gave a special mention to Rani’s performance in their review of the film.
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