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Monday, 1 July 2013

Isspessal chhabbis

After wanting to see it for quite a while, I finally got down to watching Special 26 (that's Chhabbis, and not twenty six for you wannabe firang junta). Directed by Neeraj Pandey (of A Wednesday fame), the movie opens with a CBI interview on March 18, 1987, being conducted by Ajay (aka Ajju) Singh (Akshay Kumar) and P.K Sharma (Anupam Kher). It then proceeds to the first of (a tad too) many flashbacks. Ajju and Sharma, accompanied by Joginder (Rajesh Sharma) and Iqbal (Kishor Kadam), are seen raiding a minister's home under the guise of the CBI. Soon after their departure, it is revealed that this was in fact not a CBI raid and that the minister had been robbed. SI Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Shergill) gets suspended for unwittingly aiding the conmen in looting the minister.

Hey Paaaaaaat! See the silver lining yet? 
Hurt by this rustication, Ranveer proceeds to uncover a series of similar robberies all over the country and realises that the brilliance of these robberies lay in the fact that it was black money and undeclared assets that were stolen in each case, leaving the victim unable to report the crime to the police. He reveals his findings to Waseem Khan (Manoj Bajpai), an officer with the CBI ("asli wali").

The rest of the film then unfolds at a brisk pace and with unexpected style, with Waseem trying to outthink, outsmart and outmaneouvre Ajju's eleven (or rather four in these case). The film culminates in a final act that is inspired by a real-life heist at the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in Mumbai, on March 19, 1987.

An Akshay Kumar film with him neither jumping off a building nor laughing his trademark guffaw?! :-O 
All the actors are top notch, with no one overplaying their part or trying to hog the limelight. Also supporting the storyline is a cool background score and some nice dialogues. Completely unnecessary is the entire sidestory involving Ajju's love interest, Priya (Kajal Aggarwal). Her character is of no consequence, looks incredibly plain in a most unattractive manner but yet manages to hog the screen for a few songs. This however shouldn't be a problem thanks to <ctrl + right arrow key>. Mumbai Bombay of the 80s is recreated well with good attention to detail (barring a few poor background CGI shots). Waseem Khan asking his wife(Neetu Singh, in case you want to google her) to cover up and the fake CBI recruitment interviews prompt quite a few lulz.

Despite the fact that the film drags on for maybe twenty minutes too many post climax, this is still easily one of the better Hindi films made this year. A recommended watch, especially now that you have nothing to do but wait till the end of the holidays.

Memorable Dialogues:

  1. Ishtud CBI applicant - I want to country!
  2. Waseem Khan - Yaha chullu bhar paani kaha milega?
  3. Ajju and Sharma - Asli Power dil mein hoti hai
  4. Sharma - Humaare time mein TV nahi hua karta tha
Ee toh matlab poora keh ke le li

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