‘Special 26’ is one of those films that bank on dependable actors and a compelling idea to carry it through and it does do so, to some extent. With a cracker of a start, it loses steam midway but picks up again in the climax and is worth a trip to the theatres.
What’s it about?
Set in the 80s, Neeraj Pandey's 'Special 26' follows the lives of a group of con artists that pretend to be CBI officials and raid wealthy, corrupt folks. The opening scene is pure gold involving PK Sharma (Anupam Kher), Ajay (Akshay Kumar), Joginder (Rakesh Sharma) and Iqbal and we were hooked immediately. While the foursome go about their work, their every move is monitored by CBI officer Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), police inspector Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Shergill) and constable Shanti (Divya Dutta). Determined to pull off one last grand heist before calling it quits, the thieves set their eyes on Mumbai and hatch a 'special' plan to loot a jewellery shop in Opera House.
Having watched countless chor-police dramas that feature expensive car chases and fancy gadgets, it was a welcome change to witness a period when landlines phones were the closest one could get to gizmos. The seemingly-flawless idea however gets marred, when the maker tries to appease the masses with gimmicks such as a love angle and needless songs. Kajal Aggarwal as Priya is little more than a set prop and the film solely rests on the shoulders of Anupam Kher and Akshay Kumar, who for their part, do the job well.
Anupam’s delivers a thundering performance, playing the fake no-nonsense CBI officer and the old, tired family man with equal ease and conviction. Akshay Kumar also doesn’t disappoint and proves his worth as an actor who is capable of doing more than just ‘Rowdy Rathore’ and ‘Khiladi 786’ fare. Manoj Bajpayee is convincing and wows us with scenes towards the end. Jimmy Shergill and Divya Dutta have smaller parts to play and we would have liked something more concrete from them in the middle of the narrative.
Apart from superfluous songs, another thing that put us off completely was the bad chroma used for the background. Shots of Akshay sitting on Marine Drive against an 80s Mumbai skyline are artificial and the same goes for scenes in which Kajal stares out of her balcony at what appears to be Delhi from that decade. Nevertheless, Neeraj Pandey’s second outing as a director (his first was ‘A Wednesday’) does justice to a brilliant idea.
What to do?
You won't feel entirely cheated after watching this con-mercial film. Despite a few flaws, it's an intelligent and enjoyable watch.
in.com rating- 3/5
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