Mumbai: Rani Mukerji’s new film Hichki is unique, funny and has a message on the education system. Rani plays Naina Mathur, who believes that she was born to be a teacher, only she has a speech defect because of Tourette syndrome, which makes her an oddball teacher.
Irrespective of her mood – happy, angry or even when she is addressing a serious matter – Naina involuntarily makes a sound “chuck-chuck,” which her colleagues and of course, students, find funny. There’s also a resemblance of ER Braithwaite’s To Sir, With Love.
It will be Rani’s second film after her wedding – the first was Mardaani, which was a success at the box office.
She is back to the big screen after a gap of four years and going forward Rani Mukerji’s aim is to tell stories that have a strong emotional connect and resonate with people of all ages. She believes artists should keep reinventing themselves to stay relevant.
Rani believes it is important for her to choose characters that honour her over a two-decade-long relationship with viewers.
“It is important for me to select characters which challenge me as an actor and are interesting for my viewers to watch. Going forward, I want a mixed bag of emotions because even in a romantic story you can come up with great characters,” Rani said.
The actor, whose one of the most memorable characters was of a blind and mute student in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black, is now playing the role of an aspiring teacher with Tourette syndrome in Hichki.
Acknowledging this transition, Rani says both the roles appealed to her as they are about people who turn their weakness into the strength.
The film is based on the real-life story of author Brad Cohen, who was surprised to know that the Hindi adaptation of his book will have a female protagonist.
The film will hit the screens this Friday, and the Rani says she feels blessed that “there is excitement to watch” her on the screen and hopes that “it multiplies”.
while still a teenager Rani Mukerji dabbled with acting by playing a supporting role in her father’s Bengali language film Biyer Phool (1996) and later accepted a leading role in the 1997 social drama Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat on the insistence of her mother. She then began a full-time career in film and gained recognition for a supporting role in the romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). After this initial success in her career, Mukerji’s films fared poorly at the box office for the next three years. Her career prospects improved when Yash Raj Films cast her as the star of the drama Saathiya (2002).
By 2004, Mukerji had established herself as a leading actress of Bollywood with roles in the romantic comedy Hum Tum and the dramas Yuva and Veer-Zaara. She achieved further success for portraying a deaf, blind and mute woman in the acclaimed drama Black (2005) and an unhappily married woman in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). Mukerji then collaborated with Yash Raj Films on several unsuccessful films which led critics to criticise her for choosing poor roles and pairing with the same set of actors. The semi-biographical thriller No One Killed Jessica (2011) proved to be her first box office hit in four years, and she followed it by starring in the successful thrillers Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012) and Mardaani (2014).
Though she is reticent to discuss her personal life in public, her off-screen life is the subject of substantial media coverage in India. She is married to filmmaker Aditya Chopra, with whom she has a daughter.