wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)
Hichki questions traditional methods of teaching while using traditional film-writing, sort-of missing its own point. Thankfully, it is engaging while it lasts.Read more
Inclusivity gets double attention – in jobs and in education; of people with speech disabilities and of people from a low-income background. And this is always welcome. The plot does look a lot similar to Freedom Writers with additional constraints for characters that could make it either very interesting or a tad too melodramatic.
As it stand now, though, I am looking forward to it with a pinch of salt. At some point in the trailer it looked like the film is inching towards patronising. A good beginning is at least I don’t see Rani Mukerji break into song to overcome her speech disability. That’s one stereotype broken. Here’s hoping for more.
Hichki releases on 23 March, 2018.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Much like Naina (Rani Mukerji) starts her class by addressing her speech difficulty upfront, Hichki begins with the exposition of Tourette’s syndrome and gets it out of the way. After that the film becomes more about a teacher’s struggle to bring her set of economically-underprivileged students up-to-speed with the rest of the students in that grade and a fight between old and new teaching mehods. In that sense, Hichki is about equal opportunity for those with speech difficulties and financial ones.
But then again, what is it that we can expect from ‘a rise of the underdog’ film?
Hichki questions our perceptions about disabilities. Hichki questions the very methods we use to teach. Hichki questions the elitist attitude towards education. Interestingly, the first is turned into a metaphor for everything that’s wrong with the other two. But, this would have worked if it was used once or twice in the film, the repeated use of Tourette as a metaphor everything that is wrong with a person’s thought process becomes tiring and maybe even beats the purpose of trying to sensitize the audience to the issue.
Kudos to Hichki, to that effect, because it sensitizes the audience in other ways – by not letting the syndrome come in the way of Naina’s efforts with her students, by giving it little to no attention after the exposition, by letting it become just a part of a person’s regular being, Hichki makes the acceptance really smooth.
As sad as it is, this acceptance works against the film because then it becomes a regular ol’ underdog film. There’s hardly any creativity in narrating that story. Also, characters that had potential to be interesting turn out to be rather predictable. It is holier-than-thou preachy versus smug nastiness. There are few insights but they are too fleeting to have an impact. On the other hand, I prefer fleeting to rub-it-in-your-face-to-make-sure-you-get-it (like the end credits eyeroll!)
Similarly, other than the insights, insightful lines exist but they are few and far betweent too. In fact, post-interval the film becomes dialogue-heavy and over-written. This takes over the otherwise wonderful performances too. Except for Rani Mukerji, the rest of cast shifts gears while delivering the mouthful of dialogue, thankfully not enough to let us forget they are great actors. As for Rani Mukerji you forget that Naina is actually a character in a film and not an earnest, idealistic teacher and person, tic or no tic. A special shout out to the child artist who played Naina, she tore me up in her brief appearance.
The post-interval syndrome is seen in narrative style too. I was beaming with happiness that Naina’s backstory wasn’t a voiceover but they actually weaved it in through story-showing rather than story-telling. But then they spoilt it by closing with a voiceover. Uggh.
But then again, what is it that we can expect from ‘a rise of the underdog’ film? You can’t really have the underdog lose it all. If the underdog loses a bit and not all, we would say that was just a token loss. Yet, it is not too much to ask for a non-preachy, ‘you are so dumb to teach Math/Science this way’ approach. It is just another way of one group dehumanising and looking down at another group. In that sense, you can almost tell why the speech disability is important for the film – to distract you from the plain-ness of the story. And for the metaphors, of course.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Also it scores some extra brownie points as we don’t have many Hindi films with a female lead character, made on the subject of school students, teachers and their relationship without going into the typical romantic zone as usual. Plus it indeed shows a great amount of thought put in while working out the detailing, specifically in the timing of making those unusual sounds and actions in between the given dialogues. And these two exclusive features of the film are nothing short of a worth appreciating achievement in the present scenario of Hindi Cinema in my personal opinion. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Cinematographer Avinash Arun fills the frames with hope and sunshine without killing the spirit of struggle that underlines every step of Naina’s journey. ... full review
Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...Overall, HICHKI is a simple, meaningful and an inspiring film that stays with you. Rani Mukerji is back in full form and her fans will be immensely impressed. At the box office, the film will mainly appeal to the younger audiences. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Hichki might be a tad predictable and not as emotional as a Taare Zameen Par but it is a very well-meaning film that has its heart in the right place. It is an insight into how a good teacher can make a difference for a lifetime. ... full review
Thumbs up, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...It’s left to the determination of some individual, inspired writer, director to think of and find funding for some hatke scripts for them. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Dev Raj Gulati, Desi Martini : ...Hichki is a welcome addition to films like Hindi medium ,could be granted tax exemption and be seen by teachers,students,parents and education planners.Hoping that Hichki would pick up with the words of mouth. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Zinia Bandyopadhyay, Desi Martini : ...The music was seamless and all the songs were played out just at the right time. The film explores layers of emotions. It might be called Hichki but the film had no Hichkis and was perfect till the very end. Do not dare to miss this one.... full review
Thumbs up, by Smita Vyas Kumar , Desi Martini : ...Hichki is a movie that deserves to be seen by a wide audience, especially kids. We all need to be ‘hichki’less in our attitude towards people who are not like us. Well worth a watch. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Chaya Unnikrishnan, DNA : ...It's an inspiring slice-of-life film which has to be watched for the simple sensitive manner in which it is told. It will also take you back to your school days. And of course for Rani who makes a powerful comeback.P.S. Please carry a packet of tissues. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Swetha Ramakrishan, FirstPost : ...True to its name, there are some flaws in the film: it could have been a tighter story, and by the end of the second half the plot points seem to drag, and feel forced; the tonality of the film is confusing — does it want to be a drama or a slice-of-life, or an inspiring black sheep story? However, ultimately you will walk out of Hichki with a smile on your face. Because everything else apart — Rani Mukerji is back in our lives. ... full review
Thumbs up, by ANISH MOHANTY, Planet Bollywood : ...Despite not taking enough risks and adhering to a template, 'Hichki' turns out to be a vastly engaging film that serves up enough heart-warming moments to move you. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...Hichki had the potential to be more than just a classroom saga. It does touch upon Naina’s personal struggles and her conflicted relationship with her father. But it could’ve explored these aspects a lot more. For all its shortcomings, the movie still has plenty of freshness, insights and emotional intelligence. It can make you nostalgic about your school days and remind you of your favourite teacher. This one definitely deserves good grades. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Ritika Handoo, ZEENEWS.COM : ...Rani's 'Hichki happens to be an adaptation of 2008 Hollywood movie 'Front of the Class' which was based on the book titled 'Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had by Brad Cohen'.... full review
So-So, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...The film itself is not without its faults, but its uplifting theme and Mukerji’s understated performance serve as compensation. Besides, it drew tears from me more than once, each time when I was least expecting it. Sweetness and good intentions make for a pleasant combination in Hichki. ... full review
So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...Anyway, this is a mainstream film, and a vanity project for Rani Mukerji, so it okay for the script to be superficial as long as the actress can give a wonderful performance, which she does. If the film is worth watching, it’s because of her I and the generic feel-goodishness that invariably pleases audiences. There’s one remarkably offbeat aspect of Hichki though, Naina does not lean on man to help her, so there is no romantic track—she is the hero of her own story. ... full review
So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...Hichki, a story of acceptance in the world of intolerance is a decent watch! It's a Rani's show all over but don't expect an extraordinary plot. ... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...It doesn't feel like Rani had ever taken a break. She makes acting look easy. Let's hope we get to see more of her in future. Watch the film if you want to watch an actress at the top of her powers. You won't come away disappointed. ... full review
So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Some of the plot twists and their resolutions appear inorganic to the natural flow of events here. Hichki may not be an original or sterling effort but it’s a stirring one nevertheless!... full review
So-So, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...The climax, which includes cheating and a painful examination as one of its plot twists, is also unnecessarily dramatic. But that’s a minor hiccup — or should I say Hichki — in an otherwise engaging feel-good drama. Be ready to be schooled by Mukerji who’s in top form.... full review
So-So, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...Hichki oscillates between a strong-willed teacher and some kids pushing against the wall. One can be a hero only at the cost of the other. One of them must get an easier win, and the director chooses Rani Mukerji. ... full review
So-So, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Too often, Hickhi turns into an overwrought sermon on overcoming the odds. There are far too many unnecessary plot contrivances to prolong this drama whose quest is more to lionise the teacher than her younger cohort who do all the hard work. ... full review
So-So, Kia Gia : ...On the whole, watch 'Hichki' only for Rani Mukerji. Watch without any huge expectations because it's not a 'Taare Zameen Par'. Just a sweet take on the syndrome symbolizing the win over your weaknesses. ... full review
So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Hichki has Rani Mukerji delivering one of the best performances of her career. Watch it for her and the sweet little message makers are trying to give with this one. ... full review
So-So, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...The actors playing the students are wonderful, turning even the rank sentimentality of the later scenes into something watchable. Had the film been less interested in the un-illuminating struggle between Naina and her critical father, we might have been able to get to know the 14 better. But this is ultimately a film about Naina—her students, her solutions, her journey, her hichkis. ... full review
So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Movie Talkies : ...Thankfully though, the leading lady is in good form throughout and plays this easy role with comfort. With a lesser actress, sequences where the vocal syndrome is shown on screen could have possibly come across as even comical and may have made a segment of audience burst into laughter. However, all credit to Rani as well as sensitive handling of sequences by Sidharth that it all comes across as rather natural on screen and you accept this syndrome as a part of the protagonist's personality rather than something that makes you take it as a joke. Still, if only there was added emotional depth to the scenes and there was more drama and conflict in the narrative with lesser count of predictable moments, Hichki could have been a far more engaging affair.... full review
So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Director Siddharth Malhotra, who directed the Stepmom remake We Are Family, treads safely here and sticks to the tropes. Drafting an inspiring story about a teacher who manages to tame even those on the verge of delinquency will naturally tug on a certain emotion. Just that the number of films that have blindly lifted this formula renders this one to be almost formatted if not clichéd. ... full review
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Hichki is inconsistent but well-intentioned. More than once I found myself tearing up during the film. That kind of manipulation, I’m willing to live with. I’m going with three out of five. ... full review
So-So, by Kriti Tulsiani, News18.com : ...So while Rani strikes the right chord and gets the intricacies of her hiccups right, the film doesn’t elevate much from its hiccups and remains only partly engaging. ... full review
So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...But the vexing obviousness and self-pitying texture of the narrative cannot be justified by playing earnest. And that's one syndrome Hichki never gains advantage over till the end.... full review
So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Scroll.in : ...Mukerji delivers an earnest performance incorporating the tics and involuntary gestures seamlessly into her portrayal. The school children and her colleagues offer indispensable support. ... full review
So-So, by Karan Bali, Upper Stall : ...All in all, it’s finally Rani Mukerji’s show more than anything else. And she rocks. We desperately need to see her more frequently on the silver screen but more importantly, we also need to see her in better films.... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Bharadwaj, Desi Martini : ...Frankly Bollywood needs to quickly cut its attention on hype and go back to screenplay and character development. This movie has more don’ts in its execution list than do’s ... full review
Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Sure, we could do with a fine, desi version of Dead Poets Society (1989). This film’s intentions—even if multiple, and therefore all mixed up—are laudable, no doubt. But, naah, doesn’t quite cut it, you know. Or at least doesn’t seem like worth cutting classes for, anyway. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, NDTV : ...The kids are fine, well cast and atypical enough to be fun, even though the film doesn't give them any individualism beyond the most basic labels of 'rebel' and 'teacher's pet.' There is, for example, a headphone-wearing boy given to impromptu rapping, but he isn't given a chance to show off his gifts. There simply isn't room for others during the Rani Mukherji show, you see. Class dismissed. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...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. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Much of the writing is predictable, with one cliché piling on another; the dialogue gets downright hackneyed in places and the climax is protracted and over-dramatised. ... full review
yeshu_a: #RaniMukherji has done an excellent work in #Hichki. Well done @yrf
yasheshsampat: Hichki has no Hichki....Simply flawless and a beautiful narration which touches your soul...
vrajcompany: #Hichki are too good movie, rocks @RaniMukharji
vihan_anuj: Hichki movie is outstanding
thisisalih: Watched #Hichki.. Very very good movie.. Rani Mukherjee's best role to date.. Kudos!
thesehrawat: #Hichki is genuine effort to respect a teacher... #RaniMukherji acting great.. simple yet effective
thelaymen2: Salute #RaniMukerji mam #Hichki superb story superb writing superb direction superb acting just wow
sujanv: What a come back by #RaniMukherji ! Brilliant performance #Hichki
Suchit00477186: #RaniMukherji thank you for #Hichki it was simple yet moved and changed me can't put it in words but just thank you
ssshailesh111: #Hichki A very good effort. Keep it op! We expect more such masterpiece from you Rani.
ShubhamGhoghari: #Hichki Superb...wonderful acting by ran after black...all award for rani this year n no doud she get also national award...suoerhit
shobitrattan: Solid content.. and brilliant acting by rani mukherji... Must watch.. #Hichki
ShailiP: Watched #Hichki last night and absolutely loved it. Such a wonderful and real film .
shaheryarhassan: #Hichki Movie a must watch.
saqibsiddique20: Hichki what a brilliant movie ❤
Sandeep23borkar: #OneWordReview... #Hichki: POWERFUL. Rating:- ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ A simple, straight-forward film that stays with you... Make time for it!
SaaRaa_99: #hichki it was really good, Great performance by Rani and the whole cast. Well done
Rhea10: Saw #hichki ❤️Awesome!! Congratulations Rani and Siddharth Malhotra.Well well done. #RaniMukherji
Rahulbarnwal45: #OneWordReview... #Hichki: POWERFUL. Rating:- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐
Pratyus64896187: Nic movie hichki suparb
pooju2709: Just watch #Hichki it's awesome... @Ranimukerji played a great role!!!
mailkashyap2002: What an amazing movie #Hichki is. Thank you Rani! Definately national awards. @yrf #Hichki review
ldulakshi: Rani Mukerji is Soooo Talented..Im Amazed by her performance..#hichki
kiranparmar21: #Hichki: SUPERB M-E-G-A B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R @YRF @HichkiTheFilm
kgulati: #Hichki is a thoughtful, layered, and overall beautiful film. Watch Rani Mukerji in her best role since Black. @HichkiTheFilm
jonasjester: Please go watch #Hichki - it was so good.
JIGAMU: Watched Hichki what a great movie
imriteshsinha: #Hichki Kudos to #RaniMukerji Mukherjee @yrf for such a beautiful film...Great acting, emotional ....
imran_vk: #Hichki is very good...It got the people clapping at the end #RaniMukherjee is still the Rani
edwinlawrence11: #hichki superbly made..lady amir khan is now #RaniMukerji .perfctly delivered.good acting by kids..
DPM_Vipul: Great .. story! #Hichki
Deepa_09: #Hichki What an awesome movie. Touches the core of u r heart. Rani Mukherjee is Back with a Bang. And the kids were awesome too.
cinema_babu: #Hichki : #RaniMukherjee's Performance overshados the predictability of the film. Go for it
CertifiedCrock: Mrs. Chopra (Rani Mukerji) is full power. Incredible performance. Incredible movie. #hichki
bhumikamchaudh3: Watched hichki today really nice movie love it ..
bhabani79: Life is a hiccup between ‘why’ & ‘why not’. #Hichki is a wonderful movie. All teachers should watch this movie.
ajithkhan009: #RaniMukerji is Amazing in Heartwarming #Hichki
Aditya7Dhoni: Great comeback by #RaniMukerji and a wonderful movie with a great message. #Hichki is a must watch movie.
aadishankar: Extremely beutiful movie #Hichki Just Loved it. A must watch
A14gadekar: Watched #Hichki at Dubai it was houseful and what a movie well done #RaniMukharji
twitforalamgir: #Hichki #Movie #Rani mukharjee over reacted#hichki. Story is good#but #hichki #overreacted. #Extra #hichki
sakshidenis: Powerful second half, boring first half; kudos to #RaniMukerji for delivering stunning performances everytime she makes a comeback #Hichki
mtonykurian: #hichki is not a gripping watch, liked the movie for its handling of tourette's, but the plot is very predictable.
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
The story of a school teacher with a speech difficulty sets out to get some difficult students to study with a running theme of equal opportunity, be it a speech difficulty or a financial one.