Akshay Kumar is back with yet another remake, and fans have been thrilled about his face-off with Emraan Hashmi since the trailer dropped. Selfiee, directed by Raj Mehta, is the remake of 2019's Malayalam hit Driving Licence, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu. But the engaging script of the much-loved Malayalam movie doesn't find a match in the Hindi remake.
The movie starts by introducing the character of Emraan Hashmi, an RTO sub-inspector named Om Prakash Aggarwal, who, along with his son, is a devoted fan of superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay). As fans, Aggarwal and his son hope to click a selfie with their superstar someday. Vijay Kumar, who is in urgent need of a driving licence, arrives at the RTO office in Bhopal to meet Om Prakash in the hopes of collecting it and continuing the shoot for the climax scene that requires a car sequence. What appears to be a fanboy moment quickly turns into a clash between the two as the media intervenes for a piece of sensational news about a celebrity.
From petty ego clashes to social media manipulation and #BoycottBollywood debates, Selfiee gives a glimpse into the other side of stardom. But the main theme centres around the fan-turned-foe moment, and the extent to which two men with bruised egos can go.
Akshay pulls off the aura of a superstar, complete with swag and style. But, unlike the original movie, there is a lack of emotion that captures the audience's attention. Writer Rishabh Sharma has tweaked the story to suit the Bollywood audience—this leaves someone who has watched the original wanting to be just done with the remade version. The original, written by late Malayalam director Sachy, showcased two men who are neither the hero nor the villain. It is up to the audience to choose a side—much like in Sachy’s National Award-winning Ayyappanum Koshiyum, which revolved around ego and dignity that both the characters held onto tight. Selfiee has tried its best to match up to Driving License, but in one way or another has failed to do it.
While the original gave equal space to both characters, Selfiee has been written as an out-and-out Akshay show. Although the script was decent, Mehta could have avoided overly focusing on a superstar's "mass" performance. The film does not give ample space for Emraan's character or his perspective to come through. Although Emraan has done a decent job in his role as an RTO officer, the character does not have the depth of Kuruvila, played by Suraj Venjaramoodu, in the original movie.
Nushhratt Bharuchha, who plays the role of Om Prakash’s wife Minty, and Diana Penty, who essays Vijay Kumar's wife Naina, have just a few scenes as they support their spouses in this clash between the star and his biggest fan. Meghna Malik, who plays a local politician, has been a refreshing character. Abhimanyu Singh also makes a cameo appearance as Suraj Diwan, a self-proclaimed rival to superstar Vijay Kumar.
While there was much hype around Yo-Yo Honey Singh's songs, they fail to make an impact. The loud background score also interferes with the movie-watching experience.
Selfiee may not be a disappointment for Bollywood fans who haven’t watched the original. It is a decent entertainer, but too shallow.
Direction: Raj Mehta
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Emraan Hashmi, Diana Penty, Nushhratt Bharuchha