Rani Mukerji

Rani Mukerji, who plays a schoolteacher with a neurological disorder called Tourette’s Syndrome in her upcoming film “Hichki,” has drawn inspiration from her real-life school teachers in this feel-good, inspiring story. (photo provided)

MUMBAI—Through her character, Rani Mukerji in “Hichki” will exhibit the invaluable life lessons she learned from the teachers who shaped her life. The Yash Raj Films venture produced by Maneesh Sharma and directed by Siddharth P. Malhotra with music by Jasleen Royal, has Mukerji play a schoolteacher with a neurological disorder called Tourette’s Syndrome.

The actor has drawn inspiration from her real-life school teachers in this feel-good, inspiring story. “Hichki” is about the positive attitude of turning one’s weakness into strength. Mukerji plays a teacher who a challenge in the face and never backs off when others would crumble. Playing a teacher who practices what she preaches, Mukerji drew upon memories of her schooldays and the friendly, supportive atmosphere that some teachers would build for students in her school.

Said Mukerji in a media release, “We had many inspiring teachers in my school (Maneckji Cooper in Juhu, Mumbai). Mrs. Vakil, our Geography teacher, used to teach us in such a crystal-clear manner, that we wouldn’t need to study once we went home. Mrs. Dadarkar, our History and Literature teacher, would spend time with students, and teach us ‘Julius Caesar’ in a manner that brought the story alive. She made us live a story like it was happening in front of our eyes.”

She added, “Our teachers were very friendly, informal and wouldn’t heap a lot of academic pressure on us. We had toppers, students who did well, like me, and students who would barely manage passing marks. But our teachers were never harsh on those who would fail or struggle to pass. I remember growing up in a manner where we were never forced to chase high academic scores all the time. We had fun studying. I have tried to reflect this realization of mine through my character.”

She went on, “I think the biggest lesson today (for teachers and parents), is that students should be able to express themselves freely at school. They should be able to fly. School is the only space where one can express oneself freely, for once a child grows up, pressures of building a career and earning money will automatically emerge. It’s very important to let children explore and figure out what they are good at – it could be academics, sports or the field of art. As school years are the most formative ones, it’s important for parents and teachers to let children fly at this stage.”

The actor concluded, “I learned this from my teachers, and I thank them for shaping me up the way I have today. This was invaluable learning for me, and my character in ‘Hichki’ will live this philosophy, this learning.”

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