‘Performance by Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpai is the only special thing the movie offers.’
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpai, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Rajesh Sharma, Kidhor Kadam, Kajal Aggarwal, Divya Dutta.
Director: Neeraj Pandey (of A Wednesday)
The director who gave us the smart fast paced thriller, A Wednesday, gives us another intelligent movie with Special 26. Though the film fails in comparison to his previous critically acclaimed movie, the film still delivers a clever and a realistic touch.
Special 26 is based on a true story in 1987 about how one man posed as a CBI officer, raided one of the biggest jewellery store in Opera House, Mumbai with his ‘so called’ CBI team and got away with his rich catch in broad daylight.
Akshay Kumar plays the lead role as Ajay, the leader of the team with Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma and Kishor Kadam as his cohorts. Together posing as CBI officers, they con major businessmen and politicians and go away with hard cash. What makes them have an edge on these cases is that none of their victims lodge an FIR for further investigation. This proving to be an advantage, the group of four slip away like a ghost with their cons unpublished in newspapers as well. it is not until Jimmy Shergill who plays Ranveer Singh joins hands with Manoj Bajpai that the masala begins. Manoj Bajpai plays the role of Waseem, a CBI officer who proves to be equal to the wits of Akshay Kumar. Thus begins the game of the con men vs the CBI with the former one always being a step ahead.
Coming to the characters in Special 26, Akshay Kumar finally proves that he can act again and do a good film. With a series of flops, and critics calling him an actor who has just lost his touch, he proves them wrong with his tight performance as an intelligent and quick witted leader of the con group. But it is not Akshay Kumar, but the ‘real’ CBI officer Major Bajpai who steals the show. His performance as a bold officer, a traditional family man, but a loud sleeper gives him the limelight. Anupam Kher plays the typical Punjabi man, who is serious when he poses but always nervous in reality. With Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpai donning the lead roles, nothing much is special about Kher’s character and performance. The two remaining team members are not given much screen time and they remain as mere supporting characters. Jimmy Shergill is an interesting addition to the cast. With a look of innocence throughout the movie, he is a man humiliated by the police force but goes on with his one and only mission to find the four con men. His partner Divya Dutta has not much of a role except to deliver her catchphrase about three times.
What could have been a real fast paced heist movie with a smooth narrative is flawed by the addition of Bollywood clichés. The unnecessary love element in the film is useless. Kajal Aggarwal plays Akshay Kumar’s love interest. While it proves to be good for bringing depth to Akshay Kumar’s character, it doesn’t do well. Sadly, this part keeps hindering the main story with a few songs as well. Though the love element is sweet, it could have been reduced a lot to make the movie stick to its real objective that is a heist thriller. One could also clearly see the loopholes in Anupam Kher’s character as well. And many scenes have also been dramatised with unnecessary melancholic music when it wasn’t needed. But these are just small flaws compared to the love interest element.
With that said, Special 26 comes out as a realistic heist movie, not very special but with exciting performances by two lead actors Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpai. The smooth narrative is disturbed by the clichés which could have been clearly avoided to make this film a gripping movie till the end.
More information on the heist: (which is apparently much cooler than the film itself, as the man acts alone instead of having a team of four.)
Economic Times link