After the monumental success of Pathaan, one thing just a little extra low-rise. Director Raj Mehta has emerged as Bollywood’s best-placed continuity candidate, touchdown one of many business’s final pre-pandemic hits with 2019’s babymaking romp Good Newwz, earlier than resuming with post-lockdown marital farce Jug Jugg Jeeyo. His newest expands upon the 2019 Malayalam hit Driving Licence, with its copper-bottomed premise: a film star is pushed nuts by the superfan education him in three-point turns. One other broad, sitcom-bright crowdpleaser, liable to abusing the wacky sound impact button, this newest Mehta comedy has nonetheless been packaged with a professionalism that’s arduous to disclaim.
Crucially, Mehta will get his script proper. Common scribe Rishhabh Sharrma ensures this feud, between unsmiling motion hero Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar) and moustachioed jobsworth Om Prakash Agarwal (Emraan Hashmi), develops organically from an early misunderstanding across the former’s surrogacy plans. It flares, wildly however not implausibly, right into a 24-hour media storm encompassing weaponised hashtags, cancellation cries and offended mobs. Fixing one eye on the insanity of moviemaking in trendy India probably explains why some stretches are performed with an oddly stiff bat: Sharrma’s sharper satirical barbs danger drawing blood too near residence. (In a gap, out-of-character deal with, the precise Kumar nervily maintains no slight is hereby meant on his real-life superfans.)
Nonetheless, it’s properly performed, inside sure parameters. Different halves Diana Penty and Nushrratt Bharuccha are left wanting on in cowed awe because the leads go mano a mano; on this Mehta seems fustily conventional. But Kumar and the ever-sly Hashmi spar properly, and Abhimanyu Singh is hilarious as a rival thesp plotting Vijay’s downfall whereas making the world’s worst movie star endorsements. A average timekiller, Selfiee earns goodwill with the sheer daftness of its closing act, that includes a televised idea check and pro-celebrity parallel parking. However it might be time to reassess 2016’s Fan, one in every of Shah Rukh Khan’s pre-Pathaan flops: a movie that proved much more daring in pitting famous person in opposition to stan.