Release Date : Feb 08,2013
Special 26
Review by : Kaushik L M
1 of 2
Production: Friday Filmworks, Kumar Mangat, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Divya Dutta, Jimmy Shergill, Kajal Aggarwal , Manoj Bajpai
Direction: Neeraj Pandey
Music: Chandan Sharma, Himesh Reshammiya, M. M. Keeravani
Cinematography: Bobby Singh
Editing: Shree Narayan Singh

After delivering the path-breaking ‘A Wednesday’ in 2008, director Neeraj Pandey is back after a long hiatus with ‘Special 26’, a movie based on notorious true-life incidents. Akshay Kumar dons a role which is totally a volte face compared to his customary presence in comedy masala entertainers. Other bankable actors like Manoj Bajpai, Anupam Kher and Jimmy Sheirgill also share the center stage along with the petite Kajal Aggarwal.

‘Special 26’ shows a group of four dare-devil con artistes who are out to make a quick buck. To achieve their objective, they take the guise of CBI officers and conduct raids on the filthy rich, spread across the key cities of the country. When mischief mongers are around, the law also inevitably looms large in their shadow and we have Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpai), a real CBI officer, and Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Sheirgill), a cop who has experienced a taste of the quartet’s medicine, representing the charge against them.

The movie wavers from its main course at times to show the romance between Ajay (Akshay), the mastermind of the group, and Priya (Kajal), a teacher in his locality. We also have a few songs, devoted to the pair, which pop up as speed breakers.

But by large, the movie offers plenty of fun, drama and the interest levels rarely dip. There is also a twist thrown into the mix towards the end which is well-conceived. 

We get to see Akshay Kumar in a totally new avatar, which is devoid of his usual antics and buffoonery. The hunk carries impressive screen presence but his stylish clothes and accessories don’t gel with the 1987 setting of the movie. But the director has taken care of the period setting in all the other aspects like the vehicles used in the movie. There is also a sepia tone in the movie to portray the dated era. The usage of sets in certain instances, to showcase key landmarks in the chosen cities, becomes obvious.

Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpai are powerhouse performers and they are convincing and genuine in their respective roles. Special mention to Manoj’s firm and manly voice. Anupam gives the movie its share of lighter moments with his ease at histrionics. Jimmy Sheirgill is bankable as always while Divya Dutta has a minuscule part which she has done well. Kajal Aggarwal’s portions with Akshay don’t have any connection with the main plot of the movie and the pretty woman doesn’t get much screen time either. Character actor Rajesh Sharma shines yet again in a decent support role.

The BGM score is loud, dramatic but has one repetitive track which is unmistakably groovy. It gels with the 80s setting of the movie. Among the songs, there is one peppy Punjabi style track ‘Gore Mukhde Pe Zulfaan Di Chaavan’ which sets the foot tapping. 

Special mention to the interview scenes in the second half which really strike a chord with the audience thanks to the boisterous humor. The dialog ‘Asli power dil mein hoti hai’ is another instant winner with the audience.  

The movie ends with the scope and promise for a possible sequel and the director might even be thinking of making Special 26 a franchise. We have to admit he has started convincingly. Do we have India’s own answer to the popular Ocean’s franchise?

Verdict: Even a bunch of fakes can turn out to be special.