So What Is Your Hichki?

Earlier this week somebody I saw the video of the new ‘Ek do teen’ from Baghi 2. Jacqueline Fernandes’ outfit, her expressions, men ogling at her made me cringe so much that I swore Bollywood can do nothing better than objectifying women.

Yesterday I watched ‘Hichki’. I did not know much about the movie except that Rani Mukherjee, one of my favorite actresses plays a teacher.  I remember reading the name Sidharth  Malhotra in the newspaper in the context of the movie. Of course I missed the ‘P’ in the name, and the fact that he is the director. I told my mother that Sidharth Malhotra is the hero of the movie!! I was sure I read right, and kept waiting for his appearance until ‘The End’ when my mother told me ‘Tumhare Sidharth Malhotra ka to guest appearance bhi nahi tha’!

Just when I had completely given up on Bollywood, here was a movie about a woman who wanted to be a teacher. She has Tourette syndrome and cannot complete a sentence makes involuntary sounds like ‘Chaa Cha Waa Waa’ .  Not a very glamourous thing to do, and I do not think any actress could have pulled it off (maybe Vidya Balan). She is fully covered throughout the movie, has her own struggle, but has learnt to accept it and focus on her strengths. There is no romantic angle in the movie (what a relief)! The songs are in the background and help the pace of the film.

The movie has an underlying message:

Accept yourself! We all have something which we consider as a ‘flaw’. Get over it! Because if you don’t you get stuck with it. Your ‘flaw’ does not restrict your potential. But your own complex does.’

For someone it is stammering. For someone else it is their poverty.

I was touched by the movie. I googled ‘Tourette syndrome’ and watched videos of people who live with it.  Some have a flinch, others make some sound. It is called ‘tics’. I am sharing a video of a woman who involuntarily says ‘Biscuit’ in every sentence. She is quite happy and cool and motivates other people to have the ability to laugh at herself.

Zindagi tere ghum ne hamein rishte naye samjhaye

We continue to live with our shallow concerns such as how we look and how other people are going on better vacations that us.  We don’t like our color, or height, or weight and we also reject people of the opposite sex based on that. And then there are people who just want to be accepted. So, what if they are a little different. Aren’t we all different from each other? That is what the little girl (young Naina Mathuri) said to the teacher – Just treat me like everyone else.

I especially liked the way the ending of the movie. Rani’s acting was brilliant. The kids were also all a superb fit for their role. Bollywood has seen ‘school’ stories before with the likes of ‘Student of the Year’ kind of garbage. Rich, good looking kids who come to school only to fall in love. This was a real school story. I felt nostalgic and remembered the convent school I attended.  Sparsh Khanchandani had an important role. I kept telling my mother this is the same girl as Ichcha from Uttaran. She recognized her by the time half of the movie was over. Supriya and Sachin, real life couple played Naina Mathur’s parents role with much conviction. While Naina’s mother was supportive of her and loved her unconditionally, her father was embarrassed by her condition. I am a fan of Supriya and Sachin and it was a treat to watch them on screen. Other kids also acted brilliantly. Another girl, Natasha who played a rich kid is already a TV actress (my mother told me) but I don’t think I watch enough TV to know who she is.

The kids in this movie were getting a good opportunity through the ‘Right to education’ Act. But they were not willing to utilize it. They felt like victims, and that they would never be equal to the privileged kids, no matter what.  Naina Mathur tells them that there is only a difference of one thought to take the step from ‘Why’ to ‘Why not’. I loved that line. All of us have some hichki or another. Accept it. Get over it. Move on and live your life. Because it is not the hichki that stops you, but your own mindset.

Thank you to the makers of this movie. This was beautiful. Loved it. Please keep making sensible cinema and please stop making romantic movies with idiotic songs!!

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