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Selfiee: Akshay Kumar Nails It As A Superstar On The Skids



Selfiee Movie


Directed  by Raj Mehta

Rating: ****

This is  how  a remake  should be done. Instead  of  being a blind scene-by-scene  copy of the eminently watchable  Malayalam film  Driving LicenceSelfiee extracts its own energy  from the source  material and gives us a rollicking film.

True, the tussle between  a celluloid superstar  and a  common man is not as  edgy as  it was  in the original, mainly for the reason that  Emraan Hashmi  plays the earnest sincere angry  common man  with way too much emphasis. Sometimes the punctuations obstruct the free flow of his emotions.

But Akshay Kumar as  superstar Vijay Kumar, sometimes arrogant,sometimes  unreasonable  but at other times surprisingly compassionate,  is  every bit  as brilliantly nuanced as Prithviraj Sukumaran in the original.

But what  am I comparing the two? Selfiee has a life energy flow and rhythm of its own. The adaptation is astute  and  adroit, charming and  wickedly film. For  example, the superstar Vijay Kumar’s latest hit is called—hold your breath—Don’t Angry Me. For those came in late, that’s  a phrase from Akshay Kumar’s Rowdy Rathod.

Whether  playing the  humble superstar with folded hands in front  of his fans, a concerned  team  leader , or a doting husband to his ‘twinkl’ing  wife(Diana Penty, very charming in the  little that she has to do) Akshay makes  us  forget his listless performance   in his last  6-7 films.

It is interesting that Akshay comes on screen at the beginning to  address the audience in  a  monologue that  basically tells us, ‘Hey guys, that’s not me  in this film although I play a  superstar.’ And he then goes on to give us an improved  power-packed version of himself.

But  let’s  be clear  on this: playing a fictionalized  version of  oneself on  screen is not easy

Akshay’s Vijay Kumar  works because  Akshay is  a superstar in real life.Ayushmann Khurrana’s  superstar in An Action Hero  didn’t, because he  is not.

The  drama of dissension is dotted with  impressive  acting talent. Meghna  Malik as a publicity hungry  smalltime bureaucrat is  a hoot.

The star-fan  relationship is  dealt with  some understanding of  the dynamics of hero-worship.But subtlety , a quality  often seen  in Akshay’s performance,  is  drowned in a furore of hectic plot developments.

The superstar Vijay Kumar  meets his match while shooting in Bhopal for a new film when a regional  transport  office  Om Prakash Aggarwal(Hashmi) takes him on in a game of cat-and-mouse that has  enough juice to  keep the proceedings on high alert even when  the plot has made its point long before:  don’t  anger  the common  man or test his patience.

Selfiee does neither. It is plucky precocious  and  amiable .On the  minus side, the plot, perky and  peppery  as  it is, has to suffer an  obstreperous  intrusive  downright inapt background score. Also, the first ten minutes are terrible.Trimming needed.

It would be  self-defeating—or should I say, selfie-defeating?—to  ignore this  film on the basis of Akshay Kumar’s  recent duds.


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