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Here's how Rani Mukerji ended up in Hichki instead of Ayushmann Khurrana

Interestingly, director Siddharth P Malhotra had first conceived of the film with Khurrana as the protagonist.

Mayur Lookhar

Actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who has two hits to his name this month in Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho, revealed a secret about Hichki (2018) on the third season of audio chat show #NoFilterNeha with actress Neha Dhupia on Saavn.

The Rani Mukerji-starrer was one of the success stories this year. Interestingly, however, director Siddharth P Malhotra had first conceived of the film with Khurrana as the protagonist.

So how did Hichki's central character change from male to female?

“Siddharth P Malhotra had presented the script to me. It was about a male protagonist. It was based on the book Front of the Class," said Khurrana.

Hichki is based on American filmmaker Peter Werner’s Front Of The Class (2008), which was adapted from Brad Cohen's book Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had, co-authored by Lisa Wysocky.

Khurrana revealed that it was he who had pitched the script to Aditya Chopra, but the Yash Raj Films head honcho felt that the story would be better served by a female protagonist. Chopra then decided to produce Hichki, with Mukerji, his wife, as the protagonist.

Hichki review: Rani Mukerji's spirited performance drives this predictable underdog story

However, Khurrana was not affected by Chopra's decision. “He is a very seasoned producer, director, and writer," the actor said. "He knows what will work."

The actor said that given the talk about women's emancipation these days, it is always good to see what he called a feminist film, "a girl who is an underdog doing well in the end".

"Hichki is about that and it just becomes stronger as a film if there is a female protagonist," he agreed. "It was his [Chopra's] vision that worked, I don’t know, it may not have worked if it was was a male-orientated film. [Besides] I was doing Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (2017) at that time. It also worked and you can’t do a film on erectile dysfunction with a woman.”

Hichki wasn’t the only film that was to be done by Khurrana. Producer Aanand L Rai had announced Manmarziyaan with Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar in the cast. The shooting began, but then there was a falling out between director Sameer Sharma and Rai.

Speaking about what went wrong with that film, Khurrana said, “I think the director and the producers were not on the same page. We shot for 10 days and then Bhumi got busy, I got busy, and the cast changed.”

The Badhaai Ho actor, however, has no regrets, as he got busy doing other exciting films.

He will begin shooting next for Balaji Motion Pictures' film that is tentatively titled Googly.