‘SELFIEE’ REVIEW | 24 February, 2023

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Star Studios, Dharma Productions, Prithviraj Productions, Magic Frames and Cape Of Good Films’ Selfiee (UA) is the story of a clash of egos between a Bollywood superstar and a common man who is the superstar’s fan.

Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar) is a superstar of Hindi films. He comes to Bhopal for a film shooting. In Bhopal, Omprakash Agarwal (Emraan Hashmi) works in the RTO office. Vijay Kumar needs a driving licence urgently for which he meets Agarwal. But Omprakash Agarwal’s dreams of clicking a selfie with his idol come crashing down when the superstar insults him in front of his little son (Neev Ahuja). Agarwal swears to teach Vijay Kumar the lesson of his lifetime. What happens thereafter?

The film is an official remake of Malayalam film Driving Licence. The story is quite unusual and the only problem with it is that it seems to the audience that a minor issue has been blown out of proportion. Rishabh Sharma’s screenplay, however, is so engaging as well as entertaining that the minor issue part doesn’t come in the way of the audience’s enjoyment of the same. Sharma has tried to intelligently camouflage the shortcomings by penning a fast-paced screenplay. There’s entertaining comedy, drama, melodrama and a fair dose of emotions too. The sequences in which Agarwal takes Vijay Kumar’s oral test and driving test are very exciting. The interludes of comedy by Vijay Kumar’s arch rival, Suraj Diwan (Abhimanyu Singh), and by the local corporator, Vimla Tiwari (Meghna Malik), are pretty entertaining and evoke laughter at several places. The media circus and the changing of sides by the opportunistic media persons also evoke comedy. The scene of Agarwal revealing what he had intended to gift Vijay Kumar is a tearjerker. Similarly, the scene in which Agarwal’s son, distraught at his father being fired by Vijay Kumar, cowers behind his father, is quite heart-wrenching. Rishabh Sharma’s dialogues are lovely.

Akshay Kumar lives the role of superstar Vijay Kumar. He is in his element and delivers a mature performance. Emraan Hashmi does full justice to his character of an RTO officer. He looks every inch like a fan scorned and bent upon taking revenge. Nushrat Bharucha plays the middle-class woman with supreme conviction. Diana Penty is okay in a brief role as Vijay Kumar’s wife. Abhimanyu Singh’s (as actor Suraj Diwan) over-the-top comedy is excellent. He evokes laughter whenever he comes on the screen. Mahesh Thakur makes his presence felt in the role of Vijay Kumar’s PA/secretary. Akashdeep Sabir shines as the forever-pleading producer. Meghna Malik deserves kudos for playing corporator Vimla Tiwari with elan. Neev Ahuja has his moments as Omprakash Agarwal’s little son. Paritosh Tripathi makes a wonderful mark in a brief role as Suraj Diwan’s secretary. Susheel Bonthiyal is lovely as Omprakash Agarwal’s senior. Kusha Kapila and Mahesh Pillai (as the film director) lend decent support. Mrunal Thakur and Adah Sharma, both in special appearances, perform ably. Others are adequate.

Raaj Mehta’s direction is superb. He has got the core of the subject correctly. His shot compositions and narrative style are very good. Music (by Anu Malik, Tanishk Bagchi, Yo Yo Honey Singh, The PropheC, Lijo George-DJ Chetas, Vikram Montrose, Aditya Yadav and Tarun) is appealing. Lyrics (by Maya Govind, Tanishk Bagchi, Yo Yo Honey Singh, The PropheC, Shabbir Ahmed, Kunaal Verma, Abhinav Shekhar, Vikram Montrose, Aditya Yadav and Azeem Dayani) go well with the mood of the film. Song picturisations (choreography by Ganesh Acharya, Ahmed Khan and Aadil Shaikh) are eye-filling. John Stewart Eduri’s background music is pretty impactful. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography is of a high order. Paramjit Singh’s (Pamma) action and stunt scenes look real. Mukund Gupta’s production designing is appropriate. Ritesh Soni’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Selfiee is a very entertaining fare. But the fact that Akshay Kumar’s recent films have bombed at the box-office with alarming regularity will, of course, take its toll on the business of this film because of the shockingly horrendous opening it has taken. Although the positive word of mouth for the film will see its collections grow, the business in the final tally will not match its merits.

Released on 24-2-’23 at Inox (daily 7 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay by UTV Software Communications Ltd. Publicity: very good, quantitatively speaking; so-so, quality-wise. Opening: way below the mark. …….Also released all over. Opening was not at all up to the mark.