As much of a Bollywood fanatic I may be, I’ll be the first to admit we don’t do serious movies well. There are very few thrillers or realistic dramas that have done well in the past. However, every so often a director takes a risk and a gem is released. One such gem was the 2008 thriller drama, A Wednesday. Now director Neeraj Pandey returns with his second film, Special 26, starring Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee and Jimmy Shergill in pivotal roles.
Special 26 is inspired by the true story of a group of conmen robbing corrupt businessman and politicians by posing as CBI inspectors and income tax officers. They manage to get away with each crime since no one wants to confess to hoarding large sums of black money.
Akshay Kumar stars as Ajay Singh, the leader of this group of 4 conmen from cities across India, including Anupam Kher as P.K. Sharma. They successful rob a corrupt minister in Delhi by convincing police officer Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Shergill) to assist during the raid. After being made for a fool, Ranveer Singh joins forces with the real CBI officer Wassim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) to catch these conmen.
Like A Wednesday, Special 26 follows ordinary men committing extraordinary acts that leave the police force looking like buffoons. Even though you know the men are committing crimes, you can’t help but root for them to get away and defeat the police.
Special 26 has a unique plot and superlative performances that make this a treat to watch. There hasn’t been any movie like this made in the past but it did remind me of another heist caper and another Akshay Kumar hit, Hera Pheri. The camaraderie between Akshay and Anupam’s characters is a treat to watch. Akshay proves that he is a versatile actor and I hope he continues to pick up unique films like this in the future. Manoj Bajpayee is absolutely convincing as the CBI officer and Jimmy Shergill does well in his role.
Special mention must also be made for the set design and styling of the film. Set in 1987, each scene matches that time period, including the Ambassador cars, printed shirts, oversized glasses and the handlebar mustaches. Even with average production values, the retro feel shines through.
The movie isn’t perfect as is dragged down by the romantic track involving Kajal Aggarwal and the unneccesary inclusion of songs, especially in the first half. If these portions had been edited out, Special 26 would have been the perfect thriller. Mr. Pandey, if you are reading this, I implore you to release a revised version of the film, especially for DVD viewing.
If you’re looking for some Bollywood alternative masala this weekend, Special 26 is a great choice. And then come home and rewatch A Wednesday again. I know I’ll be doing that this weekend!
Dollz Movie Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The film is based on a real life group of con artists who pulled off many clever robberies during 1980’s, they robbed famous businessmen & politicians by pretending to be the CBI or Income tax officers, on the pretext of conducting raids they would take away all the black money hoarded by them, the film also takes its concept from the real-life daring where the same group posing as CBI officers executed a daylight income tax raid on the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in Mumbai, and disappeared with jewellery worth lakhs. The movie is set in the early 1980’s.
Directed by Neeraj Pandey and produced by Viacom 18, Special 26 stars Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill and Kajal Aggarwal and is scheduled to release worldwide on February 8, 2013.