‘Selfiee’ movie review: A captivating script drives this thrilling Akshay Kumar-starrer

Akshay Kumar channels the swag of the superstar and imbues it with his inherent simplicity to make his character, Vijay Kumar, absolutely relatable

February 24, 2023 11:48 am | Updated February 25, 2023 12:33 pm IST

A still from ‘Selfiee’

A still from ‘Selfiee’ | Photo Credit: Dharma Productions

A high-pitched, fast-paced mass entertainer that doesn’t give up on the discerning audience, Selfiee once again proves that there is no bigger star than a coherent script. A remake of the Malayalam hit Driving Licence, writer Sachy’s story finds a new life in Bhopal where an ordinary motor vehicle inspector at the Regional Transport Office takes on a superstar after circumstances choose to play truant.

When superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar) lands in Bhopal for a film shoot, he finds he needs a new driving licence quickly. Om Prakash Agrawal (Emraan Hashmi), the motor vehicle inspector in charge of his application, is his fan but a misunderstanding caused by a couple of self-seeking characters leads to a public showdown between them.

Prima facie, it seems like a case of much ado about nothing, an overreaction but as Selfiee unfolds it provides an interesting insight into human nature. Vijay comes across as arrogant and Om looks petty but neither of them is the villain of the piece. It is just the well-laid-out quirks of fate that makes things spiral into a riveting face-off between David and Goliath. As self-esteem and small-mindedness play out against each other, sparks fly. Director Raj Mehta and writer Rishabh Sharma ensure that the essence of the story is not lost in translation while localising the drama and humour. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography seamlessly captures the larger-than-life appeal of a star and the ordinariness of the fan and Ritesh Soni’s scissors don’t leave any superfluous stuff hanging.

Selfiee (Hindi)
Director: Raj Mehta
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Emraan Hashmi, Nushratt Baruccha, Diana Penty, Meghna Malik, Abhimanyu Singh, Mahesh Thakur
Duration: 148 minutes
Synopsis: A misunderstanding, between a Bollywood superstar and an RTO officer, escalates into a feud that plays out in media glare. which is played out in front of the entire country

It reminds me of An Action Hero in not being just about an ordinary fan threatening to take down the fandom of a superstar but Selfiee, riding on Akshay’s image, navigates the moral dilemmas and intrinsic logic in a better way. The film moves like a car in an H test that Vijay undertakes to get the licence, touching upon multiple contours of society without crossing the line. From the bureaucracy’s knack to nitpick when it decides to be on your wrong side to the media’s urge to sensationalise minor issues for ratings, Selfiee shows us the mirror multiple times. The internal politics of Bollywood and the dangers of unchecked hero worship also flow into the well-oiled screenplay that doesn’t take a breath to preach or ponder. The film addresses the dangers of following a Pied Piper as well as shows the Piper the fleetingness of fame in times of provocative hashtags.

Akshay channels the swag of the superstar and imbues it with his inherent simplicity to make Vijay Kumar absolutely relatable. As the opening song with a ravishing Mrunal Thakur says, he generates the right vibe for the subject. The inside jokes on his punctuality, the image of a family man, and his ability to handle multiple projects at one-time land well. For once, he is challenged with a slightly flawed character and he doesn’t disappoint. In Emraan, he has a potent counterpoint. The actor always gets the vulnerabilities and the inferiority complex of the common man right and here again he excels in the role of a father who is blighted by a star in the presence of his son.

The talented support cast adds to the fun. Meghna Malik is an absolute hoot in the role of a local politician desperate to use star power to push her career. Nushratt Bharuccha displays the excitement of a middle-class wife in the right measure. Cast against type, Abhimanyu Singh exudes the frustration of an aging actor in a fun way.

The depiction of the media circus gets a bit over the top and repetitive and doesn’t match the tonality of the rest of the film. Also, Akshay’s short address before the opening credits on the importance of fans is uncalled for and fills us with a sense that the star is either pleading for a hit or undermining the intellect of his followers.

Selfiee is currently running in theatres.

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