Anupam-Kher-and-Akshay-Kumar-play-conmen-in-their-upcoming-movie-Special-Chabbis-that-releases-on-Friday
Anupam-Kher-and-Akshay-Kumar-play-conmen-in-their-upcoming-movie-Special-Chabbis-that-releases-on-Friday

Anupama Chopra's review: Special 26

Special 26 is the best Hindi film I’ve seen this year. Inspired by a real-life heist in 1987, writer-director Neeraj Pandey constructs an elaborate cat-and-mouse chase between cops and robbers. Except, here, you’re rooting for the bad guys, writes Anupama Chopra.
By Anupama Chopra | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2013 12:50 PM IST

Special 26
Direction: Neeraj Pandey
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher
Rating: ***1/2

Special 26 is the best Hindi film I’ve seen this year. Inspired by a real-life heist in 1987, writer-director Neeraj Pandey constructs an elaborate cat-and-mouse chase between cops and robbers. Except, here, you’re rooting for the bad guys.

In 1987, an unknown man walked into a well-known jewellery store in Mumbai posing as a CBI officer. He made off with jewelry worth lakhs and was never found.

In Special 26, Neeraj gives us a group of conmen led by Ajay Singh, played by Akshay Kumar. These men flit about the country pulling off raids in the name of the CBI.

Their victims are inevitably corrupt men with black money who don’t dare to file a formal complaint — the film begins with a very funny raid on a minister who has money dropping like rain from a false ceiling.

The happy scenario continues until a real CBI officer, Waseem Khan (played by Manoj Bajpayee), gets on their tail.

The film’s titles play out against newspaper headlines, creating a sense of immediacy and urgency that never lets up. Pandey deftly keeps the plot moving.

The characters are fleshed out with little details so that Sharmaji, played by Anupam Kher, is a lusty old man with a long line of little children. When he leaves home, he lovingly reminds his wife to have the latch in their bedroom fixed.

Waseem Khan is stern and unbending in his honesty, while Ajay is a cool operator. The film’s sense of urgency never lets up.

The plot is deftly kept moving. The one false note is Ajay’s half-baked love story. Silly and superfluous, it dilutes the tension and adds little to the narrative.

That aside, it’s a crackling script that actors bite into. Akshay tones down, Anupam is comically vulnerable and Manoj is a tight ball of fury waiting to unleash.

In places, the film gets trapped by Akshay’s superstar status — he’s the best-dressed and most heroic in the conventional sense — but mostly the ensemble cast plays seamlessly together.

The climax isn’t fully convincing but you won’t mind because Neeraj Pandey has delivered a sparkler. Special 26 is special.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Shabana Azmi is back in action.
Shabana Azmi is back in action.

Shabana Azmi expresses gratitude on one-year anniversary of 'near-fatal' crash

UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 09:32 PM IST
  • Actor Shabana Azmi has shared a picture of herself, smiling from ear-to-ear, on the one-year anniversary of a near-fatal car crash.
Close
Saif Ali Khan has Prime Ministerial ambitions in Tandav.
Saif Ali Khan has Prime Ministerial ambitions in Tandav.

Tandav row: All you need to know about controversies surrounding Saif's show

UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 08:33 PM IST
  • The Amazon Prime Video web series Tandav has been at the centre of a controversy after it was alleged that certain scenes are offensive to certain communities. Here's everything you need to know about what happened.
Close
Saif Ali Khan in a still from Tandav.
Saif Ali Khan in a still from Tandav.

Tandav creator Ali Abbas Zafar apologises on behalf of cast & crew in statement

UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 07:29 PM IST
  • Tandav creator Ali Abbas Zafar has issued an apology on behalf of the cast and crew of the Amazon web series, after an FIR was lodged against several people involved in the show for hurting religious sentiments.
Close
Bigg Boss 14 promo: Salman Khan scolded Aly Goni for his allegations against Vikas Gupta.
Bigg Boss 14 promo: Salman Khan scolded Aly Goni for his allegations against Vikas Gupta.

Vikas and Jasmin argue on social media over Aly Goni's alleged homophobia

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 06:56 PM IST
  • Vikas Gupta took to Twitter to share 'proof' of Aly Goni's homophobia, which Jasmin Bhasin didn't take quietly.
Close
Remo D'Souza and Aamir Ali go for a spin.
Remo D'Souza and Aamir Ali go for a spin.

Remo D'Souza goes for a spin with Aamir Ali after heart attack scare, watch

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 06:21 PM IST
  • Remo D'Souza, who recently had a health scare, was spotted out and about town with friend Aamir Ali. Watch a video here.
Close
Taapsee Pannu will be seen in as many as six films this year.
Taapsee Pannu will be seen in as many as six films this year.

Taapsee Pannu says it's 'tedious' to find male stars to do female-led films

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:47 PM IST
  • Citing the examples of Deepika Padukone, Kangana Rananut and Alia Bhatt, Taapsee Pannu has said that it is 'tedious' to find male stars to do female-led films.
Close
Mona Singh had two releases in2020- Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain S3 in June and Black Widows in December. (Photo: Prabhas Roy)
Mona Singh had two releases in2020- Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain S3 in June and Black Widows in December. (Photo: Prabhas Roy)

Hope to create something on OTT: Mona Singh on turning writer

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:35 PM IST
The actor revealed that she has been writing a script with her husband. She talks about why she felt the need to write at this stage of her career, the importance of word of mouth for OTT shows
Close
Actor Radhika Apte’s recent release was the film A Call to Spy.
Actor Radhika Apte’s recent release was the film A Call to Spy.

Radhika Apte: I don’t think I took any risk by taking up OTT projects

By Juhi Chakraborty
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:31 PM IST
Actor Radhika Apte talks about how she feels being declared ‘Queen of OTT’ according to an IIHB report.
Close
Criminal Justice season two and The Relationship Manager both have domestic violence as a part of their stories.
Criminal Justice season two and The Relationship Manager both have domestic violence as a part of their stories.

Criminal Justice, The Relationship Manager: Domestic violence on OTT radar

By Rishabh Suri
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:14 PM IST
A lot of web shows and films of late have took up domestic violence as the central point of the narrative. We talk to makers and actors about the reason behind it.
Close
Actor Devoleena Bhattacharjee was last seen in the TV show Saath Nibhaana Saathiya 2.
Actor Devoleena Bhattacharjee was last seen in the TV show Saath Nibhaana Saathiya 2.

Devoleena Bhattacharjee: You don’t have to be a part of any groups or camps

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:07 PM IST
Actor Devoleena Bhattacharjee says it’s never easy and it shouldn’t be easy to succeed in showbiz or else we won’t value what we get.
Close
Mira Rajput poses in her beachy outfit.
Mira Rajput poses in her beachy outfit.

Mira Rajput is beach-ready in new pics from Goa, but where is Shahid Kapoor?

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:50 PM IST
  • Mira Rapjut has shared new photos and videos from her Goa vacation with husband, actor Shahid Kapoor. Check them out here.
Close
Kangana Ranaut shared a video of Jiah Khan's sister levelling allegations of sexual harassment against Sajid Khan.
Kangana Ranaut shared a video of Jiah Khan's sister levelling allegations of sexual harassment against Sajid Khan.

Kangana shares clip of allegations against Sajid, hints he has ‘mafia' support

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:44 PM IST
  • Kangana Ranaut shared a video of Jiah Khan's sister levelling serious allegations of sexual harassment against Sajid Khan. She suggested that he has the 'full support' of the 'mafia' in the film industry.
Close
Minissha Lamba announced her separation from Ryan Tham last year.
Minissha Lamba announced her separation from Ryan Tham last year.

Minissha Lamba opens up about her separation: 'If it's not working, part ways'

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:17 PM IST
  • Actor Minissha Lamba has said that there is no longer any stigma attached to separation, and if a relationship isn't working, it is advisable to part ways amicably.
Close
Gauahar Khan and Zaid Darbar during their honeymoon in Udaipur.
Gauahar Khan and Zaid Darbar during their honeymoon in Udaipur.

Gauahar Khan, Zaid Darbar enjoy honeymoon in Udaipur, share pics

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:16 PM IST
Gauahar Khan and Zaid Darbar have shared pictures and videos from their honeymoon in Udaipur. They shared glimpses of their visit to the Mehrangarh Fort, breakfast at the hotel and auto ride.
Close
Shah Rukh Khan with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta.
Shah Rukh Khan with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta.

Shah Rukh Khan jokingly objects to KKR’s birthday wish for Juhi Chawla’s husband

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:09 PM IST
  • Shah Rukh Khan jokingly took offence as the official Twitter handle of Kolkata Knight Riders declared Juhi Chawla’s husband Jay Mehta as the 'most affable gentleman'.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP