Selfiee movie review: Abhimanyu Singh outshines Akshay, Emraan in this needless remake
What: Selfiee – a film that pits a Bollywood hero against an aam aadmi, with Akshay Kumar and Emran Hashmi in lead roles, the remake of the Malayalam movie Driving Licence starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu. It’s the third guy in Selfiee - the one who plays the buffoon, the villain of the film - played by Abhimanyu Singh - turns out to be the winner.
Selfiee movie review
With the chorus playing the ‘oh-oh-oho’ from Main Khiladi Tu Anari, you would think Saif Ali Khan is going to show up any moment on the screen. But this is an official remake of Prithviraj Sukumaran’s film Driving Licence (you can watch the original on Amazon Prime Video), and no matter how much you liked the original, you fail to understand the reason why this was remade by Dharma in such a super loud, super annoying and blindingly dumb manner. ‘Litaa litaa ke maroonga.’ is just one example from the film which is the most asinine writing I have come across. It’s a senseless threat, isn’t it? And who approved of this kind of writing? If you think people from Bhopal speak this way, then Makadon! You would be wrong!
Forget writing, forget the eye popping colours on the screen, there are place and time errors which will make you wonder whether the film is set in Bhopal or Bombay. Let’s get to the story:
Akshay Kumar plays Vijay Kumar, a Bollywood superstar who arrives in Bhopal for a film shoot in a helicopter with his wife Diana Penty. Emraan Hashmi is Om Prakash Agarwal, a man who is not just a fan, but a sub-inspector at the Bhopal RTO. He shows up in a crowd waiting to see the superstar with his son. You have seen how much of a fan he is because he takes his kid to a First Day First Show of a Vijay Kumar movie by lying at his son’s school. Before you can say, hey, the Malayalam film did that better, you realise Nushratt Bharucha who plays the wife at least has the sense to yell at the husband and kid for sneaking out to see a movie.
Shooting at a Naval area and hence needing the driving licence is a great reason offered in the Malayalam movie. Here, it just seems lame. Apologies for the comparison, but they chose to remake it! However, the result is the same. Emraan Hashmi wants to meet the star and requests the local politician (played with superb comic timing by Meghna Malik) who is trying to get the Superstar the licence. The star loves fast cars and has just realised that he has lost his licence.
Push comes to shove and the star and the RTO cop get into a war created by misunderstandings. People around them say nothing to diffuse the situation and we the audience have to suffer ridiculous one-upmanship between the star who needs the licence and the cop who will make it tough for him to get the licence by creating stupid red tape. The world does not care for these uniformed petty tyrants and the film does no one any favours. Least of all the cops.
Also, the way the media has been portrayed, is too caricaturist to make us care. And every TV anchor refers to themselves as ‘social media’. Who does that? Plus, the paparazzi is shown clicking pictures in broad daylight with flashes. Such rubbish! The film doesn’t just rubbish the media, it also laughs at the film industry. Abhimanyu Singh is made to wear ridiculous wigs and is shown to be a rich guy, once a superstar, reduced to making ads for really ‘low-brow’ brands. It’s funny to see him crack a walnut by clenching his butt (an ad for a gym), but that is the funniest thing I have seen in the film. And the way they laugh because he has to say ‘Bhandup West’ (a suburb of Bombay) shows utter disrespect to the place. Would have been funnier had the filmmakers laughed at themselves instead. Again, cheap laughs.
But even as a superstar of yesteryear, reduced to selling dumb products and acting in bad movies, Abhimanyu Singh shines. He plays every ridiculous ad and movie within the movie with such brilliant earnestness, you wish they would not show the feud between the superstar and the cop and show this instead. An ageing superstar who hasn’t had a hit for years attempts to sabotage the current superstar’s shoot by tarot cards and kala jaadu!
Alas, the film loudly, proudly dances to Main Khiladi, Tu Anari, assuming the audience is dumb enough to forget that Adah Sharma who discovers the plot to hurt Vijay Kumar’s film (in which she’s acting, by the way) does not immediately report it to the producers or the cops or even Vijay Kumar. Do we care to know why not? No, not really…