Films | Special 26 – Movie Review

Special 26 – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on February 9, 2013 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Shital Bhatia, Kumar Mangat Pathak
DIRECTOR – Neeraj Pandey
WRITER – Neeraj Pandey
CAST – Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpai, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Sheirgill, Kishore Kadam
MUSIC – M.M. Kareem, Himesh Reshammiya

Suspense thrillers, especially of the cop-n-thief chase variety, are fun. The heady chase, the intriguing whos, whens and whys, and the nail-biting climactic answer to it all make for an exciting watch depending on how well it all has been done.

After the sleeper hit and very enjoyable ‘Wednesday’, Neeraj Pandey is back with ‘Special 26’. It is a story of a bunch of thieves posing as CBI agents and looting rich men with hoards of black money. These are Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma and Kishore Kadam, all middle class men with families, mere faces-in-a-crowd, for whom this is a profession. Until the real CBI catches onto their trail and the real game begins.

Unfortunately, the game comes with little heart-stopping drama. Surprisingly, there isn’t the attendant tension that a story like this demands. It moves slowly, halting on unnecessary and long flashbacks, a tepid romantic angle and a classic modus operandi turned boring by unimaginative story-telling.

To a large extent this unimaginative-ness is the undoing of the otherwise interesting premise. In a sense, the film borrows a lot from the old world techniques of creating high drama, something we saw in ‘Wednesday’ as well. There is that resounding soundtrack punctuating every twist, dramatic camera angles that fail to create mood and character back stories that add nothing to the experience. The twist when it comes also proves to be a tad under-whelming, unable to redeem much of the lackluster story-telling that goes before.

What works for the thriller is the ambiance. The film is set and shot in locations/sets that have an everyday-ness to it. Yet, there is no allegiance to ethnic identities or dialects, then rendering the setting somewhat superficial as well. It doesn’t come in the way of the film, we being used to such broad strokes, but without a dedicated rootedness, the film then depends very heavily on its plot, which unfortunately doesn’t hold up very strong.

But what hold up are the performances. Akshay Kumar as the catch-me-if-you-can crook, Anupam Kher as the diffident companion, Jimmy Sheirgill as the disgraced cop and Manoj Bajpai as the competent officer who has met his match are all refreshingly engaging. To a large part, it is the performances that Neeraj Pandey gets out of them that keep us watching the film without getting bored. The same unfortunately, cannot be said of Kajal Aggarwal, who is stuck in the victim stereotype of the poor, simple girl in love.

Special 26 is far from a satisfying thriller but is a consistently engaging. It just isn’t as smart as it wished to be.

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