Despite the barrage of artistry, stage-like lighting, visual effects and bytes, the storyline fails to make the cut. Its appeal is more or less limited to hardcore Apu fanatics.
It's more of a moving canvas than a motion picture, with a strong documentary feel to it. The director has created great artistic effects — accentuated by brushstrokes and related sounds — to create snapshots of the lives of his film's characters. The selfies, as we assume he calls these snapshots, are far from that. The very essence of a selfie lies in the self and each snap is a creation of its primary subject — the person controlling the camera. But those in the film are taken by the cameraman, capturing different moments — of a dream or reality, is the question that seems to have no answer.
He does push home a point: amidst all the moments we document on social media through these self-taken snapshots, there are dark zones — places or times that we keep to ourselves. Simply put, however public our lives may seem, we always have private moments. Point taken. But despite the barrage of artistry, stage-like lighting, visual effects and bytes, the Apu-Shoumitra-heavy storyline fails to make the cut. For one, its appeal is more or less limited to hardcore Apu fanatics, as it hardly strays from that subject, and second, I feel the link between the title and the subject is extremely weak. Selfie, as a concept, is very vague, though random bytes deals with its intricacies.
Coming to performances, every actor deserves applause as they have done justice to their roles. While Shoumitra Chatterjee plays himself with elan throughout the film, Anindya impresses with his expressions and body language, even in the extremely close shots. Sohini, too, does justice to her role of the enigmatic lover, who oscillates between the two Soumitras — often making love to one and trying really hard to seduce the other. Other actors, too, are good in their short roles.
It's the climax, however, that makes you wonder whether you should walk out or just sit there and brood over the money you just wasted watching the film. I'm not saying Selfie is not watchable; the actors are definitely worth a watch. Even the approach and the cuts are pretty good. But in its quest for Apu's lost sansar and in trying to some semblance of sense of the title, the story takes you on a ride without a destination. Beautiful as it might be, it's nothing more than an incomplete painting. And who in their right minds would like such a work of art?