Watched Special 26 today,and  it was worth the money. The movie doesn’t insult your intelligence in spite of being an Akshay Kumar movie, and is one of the more watchable hindi movies of this year.

There was a time when there were two types of hindi movies, and both were horrible. Those times have changed. Nowadays it is tough to say “a very good hindi movie in a long time“, when Gangs of Wasseypur, Matru ki Bijili ka Mandola, and to some (arguable) effect Barfi and Shanghai release in a year’s time. “Special Chabbis” is the best hindi movie I have watched in the past month, and Neeraj Pandey almost exceeds expectations with his second movie. When his first movie, “A Wednesday” released, I remember saying “a very good hindi movie in a long time“; times have changed.

STORY: “Special 26” is a heist thriller, and a period film based on a 1987 robbery in Bombay’s diamond market. (period is a tad suspect since some time travel is involved. One character says, “R.Venkitaraman” has taken over as President which will be late 80’s and then a Tamil character quotes from the movie “Baasha” which released only in 1995). The story portrays how a team of six seemingly normal crooks steal from the corrupt. There is no mention of what this group does with the money since all of them seem to lead lower middle class lives even with all the cash and gold they steal. None of the affected parties lodge a complaint since the money involved is “off the books” or “black”. Then comes Manoj Bajpayee as an honest CBI officer thrust into the case, and the protagonists meet their match.

Treatment and nostalgia: The movie is pretty clever. In that you will guess some parts of where the story is heading, but Special 26 will still have a curve ball for you which is sure gonna make you smile. This is a great way of doing suspenseful movies. Heist movies could go overboard with the slightest mistake, like an overdone bgm score. Neeraj Pandey walks the thin line and delivers an edge of the seat, funny, at times sarcastic thriller (the CBI officer played by Manoj Bajpayee asks his boss for a pay rise and promotion, threatens ‘rishwat lena shuru karu kya‘). The late 1980’s atmosphere is recreated with some elan, and even the romantic scenes between Akshay is Kumar and Kajal Agarwal play a part in defining and maintaining the 80’s verve. (like when was the last time you saw someone drop a love letter in a movie)

Character selection and acting: is above par. Akshay Kumar gives one of his better performances, nothing to write home about, just better. Anupam Kher continues to amaze, so does Rajesh Sharma (who played the investigating officer in No one killed Jessica).  Now all this amazement and performances last only about thirty minutes into the movie. Then Manoj Bajpayee enters the scene as officer Wasim Khan, and the rest of the cast just struggles to keep up. Bajpayee proves it again that he is one of the best actors finding work in this country.

Since it is doing very well in the box office, there definitely will be a second part. The film may not be as cleverly made as ‘Matru ki  Bijili’ but overall a good watch, nicely done.  For great cinema you should checkout one of these films.

Verdict: 3.5 stars of 5. Good Watch.