This week’s only release, Selfiee, attempts to raise the issue of well-known people riding roughshod over the law and getting away with lesser penalties.
Superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar) enjoys the status of a demigod in the country. His cramped schedule doesn’t allow even a single day off, much to the annoyance of his doting wife (Diana Penty).
The couple had planned a month-long holiday in the US, where she wished to deliver their first child (conceived of course, through IVF). Kumar wants to finish a film shoot before flying off, but the producer (Akashdeep) requests him to shoot the climax for which the star needs to drive a vehicle in a sensitive area maintained by the Army.
But Kumar’s driving licence has expired, and therefore, he needs one ASAP. The official in charge, Om Prakash Agarwal (Emraan Hashmi), happens to be Kumar’s diehard fan.
Kumar refuses to come down from his privileged high horse and comply with the rules that require him to visit the humble office to do the needful. The inspector, who is delighted at the thought of meeting his idol, decides to take his young son to get a selfie clicked on the historic occasion.
AT A GLANCE
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Diana Penty, Emraan Hashmi and Nushrratt Bharuccha
Director: Raj Mehta
To complicate matters, Vijay’s rival actor (Abhimanyu Singh), who’s had several flops in a row, and is desperate for a comeback, tries hard to get Vijay into trouble so that his film career nosedives too.
Meanwhile at the license office, Kumar is upset to see media gathered for him. Uncomfortable questions begin to be asked.
An enraged Kumar blames Agarwal for stooping so low just for fifteen minutes of fame. The misunderstanding between the two escalates into a feud played out in front of the entire country.
The premise of this 143-minute film is believable. A worshipped film hero cannot be above the law and must face the consequences of his actions. Agarwal is a commoner who reveres his hero, but at the same time is a committed and law-abiding officer. Though the face-off between them seems exaggerated and too staged, it works as per the film’s theme.
What doesn’t work is the script trying hard to highlight Akshay Kumar’s stardom. Even when his character is shown to be weak and losing his popularity, he is unnecessarily allowed to behave arrogantly.
Hashmi, who has earned a respectable position as an actor over the past decade, having done away with his stereotypical romantic image (remember ‘serial kisser’?), is consistently good as the simple, family-loving conscientious officer.
Director Raj Mehta, who is known to handle serious themes in a typical filmi manner (Good Newwz and Jug Jugg Jiyo), cramming his narratives with masala and entertainment, lets you down by reducing all other supporting actors into buffoons.
So much in Selfiee could have been dealt with sensitivity. Instead, every serious tone is diluted with comic dialogues and imperfect characters, derailing the weightiness of some important developments. It had a good premise that could have been either hilariously written, or by adding thrilling moments between entitlement and the principles of the law.
Writer Rishabh Sharma, too, must have had a tough time adding heft to the story credited to Sachy, though we all know that it is based on the 2019 Malayalam film Driving Licence by Jean Paul Lal.
There isn’t much scope for songs in between what seems like a face-off between a hero and a villain, but there are a few that appear out of the blue – one of them being a rehash of Anu Malik’s Main Khiladi Tu Anadi.
Selfiee has had a theatre release and should be heartening for film buffs to enjoy an outing. If only it was worth the effort and the ticket prices!
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