Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee and Anupam Kher are brilliant as con artists in this edgy flick
This is one of those times in his career where Akshay Kumar, besides Hera Pheri and OMG: Oh My God!, has managed to select a movie script so suited to his level of performance that it makes you feel he cannot get any better. Special 26 is a movie where stars don’t matter and where script is the king, and Akshay has underplayed his role so well that all his overacting of the past is, for once, forgiven.
Special 26 is a con flick, in the manner of an Ocean’s Eleven or a Matchstick Men, where Akshay Kumar and his band of merry men (Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma, Kishore Kadam) help rich corrupt politicians and businessmen get rid of their excess black wealth by conning them. But even though they con their prey, their own morality seems to be in place as revealed by each of their family stories. And in one such, Kajal Aggarwal plays her brief role well enough. For the con men, their weapon is their confidence and meticulous planning. They pose as CBI officers or Income Tax department folks and rob the rich fools of their belongings. During one such raid, they cross paths with a Delhi cop Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Shergill), and a game is set in motion.
As the con men are looking to commit one last big heist of their lives, the real CBI gets hot on their trail. Looking to bust the biggest heist of his life is CBI officer Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), who is hot on the tail of the pranksters and ends up dealing with a much bigger case than he expected.
The movie, with decent production values and a score to whistle along with, is a mind blowing suspense flick that manages to grab your attention with its strong story and edgy direction. And though the suspense may feel a bit forced, on second thoughts it fits great, and what we get is a decently paced con flick. It may not be the best one ever made, but it is definitely a revelation as far as Bollywood is concerned. Kudos to director Neeraj Pandey of A Wednesday fame for showing that he can direct an excellent movie based on real life incidents and yet keep it entertaining. Watch it for brilliant performances by all the actors including Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Akshay Kumar and Jimmy Shergill.
Reviewed by Reza Noorani
**** Very good