‘Special 26’ review: A real-life heist story smartly told

Resham Sengar

Very rarely would you come across a logically scripted and intelligently-directed drama thriller churned out from the good ol’ Hindi cine factory these days. And here’s a promising Neeraj Pandey for you who is back with a bang (and bang on target) with another awe inspiring film ‘Special 26’.

After bagging accolades from the audiences and the critics alike for his debut project ‘A Wednesday’ (2008) which helped him bag the prestigious Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director, Neeraj’s newest offering ‘Special 26’ is a likely winner at the Box Office in the race of February 2013 releases. To begin with, this movie is inspired by a chain of real life incidents (that occurred in 1987) involving a group of conmen, who looted self-serving politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen off their riches by posing either as CBI or income tax officials.

So here we have Ajay Singh (Akshay Kumar) and his gang comprising PK Sharma (Anupam Kher) et al, who make easy money by conning those who are neck deep in all the black money in the world. But mind it, they are men with good values and their decent background is a testimony to the fact. So after committing at least 50 robberies across the country, they plan to loot a big fish – a high-profile jewelry brand (Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri) at its opera house branch in Mumbai. And to bust their plans is the no-nonsense and unbeatable CBI officer Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) who masterminds a supposedly bigger trap to nab the thieves red handed. Oh and there is a love angle in the film too with Kajal Aggarwal romancing Akshay. Actors Jimmy Shergill and Divya Dutta have been smartly put into the picture but the only glitch is that the duo could have been utilized more though.

For Akshay Kumar this movie comes as a respite after drawing flak for a dud ‘Khiladi 786’ which neither had a good storyline nor gave Akki any scope to showcase his acting talent. ‘Special 26’ proves the fact that a good script is indispensable if making a good movie is the maker’s main agenda. Anupam Kher, as usual, has done his job and Jimmy Shergill along with Divya Dutta and Kajal Aggarwal have done justice to their roles. But it is Manoj Bajpayee’s stellar performance that is more likely to remain in the audience’s mind for a long time.

The movie is peppered with jokes and there are sarcastic takes on the political scenario as well as the plight of the underpaid, powerless and underutilized government officials. For example, the movie shows Manoj Bajpayee requesting his boss to give him a long-due pay hike and promotion lest he will be forced to accept bribes to make his ends meet.

There are a few good songs in the film but thank God that they are few in number given the kind of pacy film ‘Special 26’ is supposed to be. Too many songs would have proved to be a major distraction. ‘Mujhme Tu’ scores decently for its romantic notes. There is a Bhangra wedding number ‘Gore mukhde pe zulf di chaava’ which has foot-tapping beats and the title song ‘Dhar pakad’ is aptly written, sung and composed. Overall, MM Kreem’s music fares decently.

‘Special 26’ has all the required ingredients to keep a viewer’s attention intact till the very end and trust me this is one film that you won’t regret watching, if you truly liked ‘A Wednesday’. Here’s a pat on Neeraj’s back for exploring a territory of thriller movie making that demands an eye for detail whilst keeping the entertainment values in place.