Exclusive Teen Review: Inspiring Lessons from Hichki

A sensitive film about a woman with Tourette’s syndrome, Hichki throws light on how an extraordinary teacher can bring out the true potential of a bunch of unruly students. Here's what our teens say

By Bhavadharini S and Akhil Gokul

Exclusive Teen Review: Inspiring Lessons from Hichki

There are many movies where a new teacher reforms students and channelises their energy to help them succeed with flying colours. Even though Hichki has a similar theme, it is a unique film – it portrays that being different should not stop you from making your dreams come true.

Bhavadharini S talks about how the film inspires her:

The story

The film revolves around Naina Mathur (Rani Mukerji), a young woman who aspires to be a teacher and does not lose hope despite facing repeated rejections. She suffers from Tourette’s syndrome ─ a neurological disorder characterised by involuntary movements and vocalisations, called tics ─ since her childhood. But, she never sees her condition as a hindrance to her passion of becoming a teacher, and is encouraged by her mother and brother.

Naina gets a job in an elite school, where she is assigned as a teacher of Class 9F, comprising of a bunch of wild students – underprivileged children from the slums – who are seen as a nuisance by everyone in the school. These mischievous students are separated from the others students and treated differently. As much as they try, the students of this class are not able to fit in with others, and they stand out with their unruly behaviour.

Naina faces the challenge of proving her ability as a teacher by taming the unruly lot, and discovering their true potential. On the first day of the class, the 9F students try to drive her out with their tricks and mischief. However, in their bad behaviour, Naina sees her own fears, vulnerability and a sense of despair.

To unlock their hidden talent, Naina employs innovative and unconventional teaching methodologies. This helps them understand concepts better, and unlocks their hidden talent. Whether this group of non-achievers can step up and prove to everyone that they can succeed, is what forms the crux of the story.

The message

The movie carries an important message – anyone can rise above their humble background and succeed in life through the power of education, the right to which is guaranteed by our constitution.

I think all the actors have beautifully portrayed their characters. The students have done a fabulous job. Harsh Mayar as Aatish, Sparsh Khanchandani as Oru, and Hussain Dalal as Naina’ s brother stood out in the movie. Hats off to director Siddharth Malhotra for making such a unique film.

I took one important message home from Hichki – live your life and love it! The film inspires me because I understood how to know what my strength is, and how I can use it to the fullest. I learnt that one should never stop trying, no matter what. You may fall many times, but get up, get set and go! Always take your challenges as a stepping stone and not as a stumbling block.

5 lessons I learnt from the film

  1. Pursue your passion without fear: The film, apart from the great acting of Rani Mukerji and the students, talks about how determined one has to be to achieve her passion. Nothing should stop you from achieving what you believe in.
  2. Love your job. Then every day is a vacation: This happens only when you learn the first lesson. Once you know your goal, proceed and succeed in your own way. You’ll definitely have problems but you’ll overcome it only if you love your work.
  3. Understand the core of a problem: Naina is able to empathise with the students and also understand their strengths. This enables her to channelise their strengths towards academics and a better future.
  4. Know what is to be changed: Naina tried to know the students’ point of view, what they faced and wanted in life. She understood that they needed a person to lead them to succeed, while she realised her own true potential.
  5. Acceptance is important: Every person is different and everyone can reach their full potential if they are treated with love and acceptance. A successful teacher is one who is accepting, and understands every student’s worth.

Budding author Akhil Gokul's take on the inspiring film:

Rani Mukerji’s movie Hichki is based on the real life story of Brad Cohen, an American with Tourette’s Syndrome, who was rejected by 25 schools before he got his dream job of becoming a teacher. In his childhood, Cohen was accused of being a troublemaker in school and was punished by his teachers for the tics and noises caused by his condition. He decided to ‘become the teacher that he never had.’

Hichki, which is inspired by him, helps in creating awareness about this syndrome. In the film, Naina who has this condition finally gets her dream job as a teacher, after many rejections. She takes up the difficult task of reforming 14 students who are from underprivileged background and spend their time playing pranks and making mischief. How she rises up to the challenge with her unconventional methods and how the students shine bright, makes the crux of the story. My favourite scene in the film is where the students play pranks – I am sure all students will relate to this, and enjoy it!

Learnings for students

  • Don’t pull a prank on your teachers, their intentions are good.
  • Do not bully others who have learning differences; it is not their fault that they are born with disabilities.
  • Turn your weakness into your strength like the way Naina did.
  • Children with disabilities should be confident, and learn how to handle if others are bullying or making fun of them.

Learnings for teachers

  • Be strict with children only when needed. Children like to have fun and be playful.
  • Understand the root cause of a student's behaviour.
  • Alternative ways of teaching are required for different types of students.
  • Do not differentiate between rich and poor kids, everyone is equally talented. 

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