Hats Off to NEERAJ PANDEY for making this movie after his last flick WEDNESDAY. "Special 26″ is not a film that favours soft creative options. It takes the heist-story audaciously through a complicated maze of morality without getting snarled in sermons and messages. This is a film that engages you while letting the protagonists cross mischievously from one side of the line of morality to the other.
SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY : The script has been written by NEERAJ PANDEY himself in which socio-political anomalies with edge-of-the-seat excitement comes into full play. No character who goes so audaciously against the law in “Special 26″ seems particularly wounded or terrorised. You suspect they are all in it for fun.The characters are not in search of a moral payoff and we are not eager to find it for them.Pandey weaves vivid vignettes into the main heist-format from each of the four protagonist’s personal lives.There are two sets of CBI officers on duty in this deviously-plotted tale of daredevilry and drama in real life. The real-life incident involving the CBI scam, which shook the nation, is given a sensuous spin that culminates in a completely unexpected and spectacular culmination.
STARCAST : The story is about two real and fake CBI teams that are respectively helmed by Manoj Bajpayee and Akshay Kumar. Both put in impressively understated performances. AKSHAY KUMAR gives ample proof that he has really matured as an actor with his dynamic portrayal of a learned con-man leading from the front and mind you minus all his Khiladi antics he gives stupendous performance. MANOJ BAJPAYEE whose role is almost parallel to that of Akshay minus the romantic track looks every inch of the character he has portrayed and has given an idealistic performance. But it is ANUPAM KHER who has given a superlative performance as Akshay’s right-hand man & a nondescript family man with an unending brood of children. KAJAL AGGARWAL who made her debut in Bollywood with SINGHAM fails to impress as the leading lady in this movie as probably she is not cut out for the kind of character she had to play in this movie.Instead our Punjabi Juliet NEERU BAJWA syncs well with Akshay while dancing with him in a song track and their on screen chemistry looks better than that of Akshay n Kajal. She would have been a better choice as the female lead of this movie but anyway I am quite certain the day is not far off when NEERU BAJWA who is a powerhouse of talent will mark her impression in Bollywood as a versatile actress. Not to forget JIMMY SHERGILL who has lately shaped into one of our finer actors has given another reined -in but riveting performance.Even ensemble actors RAJESH SHARMA, DEEPRAJ RANA, DIVYA DUTTA, VIPIN SHARMA have played their characters to perfection adding authenticity to the narrative.
TECHNICAL ASPECTS : Music by M.M.KAREEM is just passable and none of the tracks has been able to make it to top of music charts. Editing by SHREE NARAYAN SINGH truly deserves a special applause as he has not only given prominence to most characters but also builds up their sketches albeit in short duration. Cinematography is by Late BOBBY SINGH who sadly expired a month ago but the excellent way in which he has captured illuminating frames of this movie will make him immortal in our hearts. But the man who deserves the biggest credit is the chief of operations who in this case is writer as well as director NEERAJ PANDE who has taken care of even the minutest nuances of 1980's era to give movie a authentic look. The period detailing of cars,hotels,costumes,hairstyles is very apt and u'll see more of Marutis,Ambassadors & Fiats on roads. Pandey adds considerably to his narrative's credible climate by shooting on real locations, wherever the pseudo-raids take our hero and his three associates. Best part is that Pandey ensures goings-on resonate in rapid fire speed imparting certain kind of urgency to the proceedings.
WOW MOMENTS : Watch out for the high energy introductory chase scene of Manoj Bajpayee in CP New Delhi. Scene where our fake CBI team conducts a raid at Kolkata is also very amusing. I'll say second half of the movie is really pacy and full of twists and turns making you gasp for more.
CONCLUSION : Special 26 achieves a rare synthesis of real life credibility and cinematic flamboyance where-in narrative's over-all mood is one of urgent crises-point reached with minimum fuss and optimum energy. Its one of the best thrillers i have seen in a long time which has come out good minus those exploding cars,screeching dialogues and item numbers.