Female heroes, for all our talk of women empowerment, are not widely favoured at the boxoffice. When was the last time a film with a female hero in the lead did really did well at the boxoffice. Even Wonder Woman was not as major a hit in India as it was the worldover.

Director Siddharth P Malhotra had acquired the rights to make Peter Werner’s Front of the Class as a Hindi motion picture in 2013. Several prominent writers like Amole Gupte, Abbas Tyrewala worked on the story of Hichki and the producers of Hichki obtained NOC’s from them .

Hichki is a movie about the value attached to the spoken word, as the female hero Rani Mukerji is shown dealing with Tourette syndrome.It dives deep into the collective consciousness of a nation inured in prejudices and comes up with some well-served lessons on humanism tolerance and generosity. It may not be India’s To Sir With Love. But by Jove, Rani Mukerjee in what easily ranks as her career’s best performances gives Mr Sidney Poitier a run for his heroic stature.

The plot derives its creative juices from a real-life British teacher who suffers from the Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes painful verbal dysfunction in the sufferer. It’s astonishing how Rani takes over the sufferer’s role without allowing the disease to impede her character’s ingrained sunniness of countenance.

When faced with a classroom filled with contumacious students from the slums (played by young actors who frequently act with representational emphasis) Rani’s Naina never falters, and never minds her language. Rani Mukerjee makes her Tourette-inflicted character unwavering in her upbeatness and yet no giddyheaded breathless optimist. The pain comes gushing out in a sequence where she pounds and pummels her uncontrollable mouth almost as though she were sparring with her destiny.

Hichki is a work of wondrous lightheartedness. Its absence of cynicism and its touching belief in the power of benevolence and generosity could get a wee overpowering for many of us who face brutal betrayals every day. But isn’t life in cinema all about alchemizing the pain and hurt into art? Hichki does that quite often and quite effectively.

Hichki is definitely one of Rani Mukherjee’s career bests, far superior to her last admirable but faltering Mardaani. It was also a comeback of sorts for director Siddharth P Malhotra whose directorial debut We Are Family had faltered due to a botched-up climax. In Hichki there are no hiccups at the climax.

Interestingly Malhotra’s first film was also a remake. While We Are Family adapted the Hollywood tearjerker Stepmom officially for producer Karan Johar, Hichki adopts Front Of Class, the book(not the film) about a teacher with Tourette Syndrome.

The role was first offered to Rani’s cousin Kajol.When Kajol couldn’t do the film, producer Adi Chopra offered it to Rani who shot the film while tending to her baby girl Adira. This is not the first time that Rani has stepped into a role earmarked for Kajol. Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Bombay Talkies were both offered to Kajol first.

Rani is determined to play the female hero in all her films, be it No One Killed Jessica(2011), Talaash(2012), the ill-fated Aiyyaa(2012) and Mardaani(2014) and recently Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway.