Friday 28 October 2016

Special 26

Fairly gripping, with the proverbial twist in the tale, much like the director's earlier A Wednesday

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpai, Anupam Kher, Kajal Aggarwal
Directed by Neeraj Pandey

Special 26 may seem very different from A Wednesday on the surface, but there are uncanny similarities between the two Neeraj Pandey films. Both are fairly gripping, with the proverbial twist in the tale. And even though both are situated in different times—Wednesday in contemporary India and Special 26 in the late ’80s—they highlight the common’s man profound disenchantment with the situation he is bound in. The solutions offered in both cases are extreme and over the top—to subvert the system from within.

Special 26 is a heist film set just before the opening up of the economy. A group of four men literally snatch the good life for themselves by posing as fraud CBI officers and robbing the oblivious­—from a corrupt minister to rich jewellers. In A Wednesday, the criminals are ordinary blokes, the kind who would wash their clothes at home and respectfully touch the feet of their elders.

The first half sets the scene and characters nicely. The single notable aspect of the film is the attention to detail. The raids and the police procedures have an air of authenticity. There is a lot of work done in terms of art dir­ection to get the period right—from autos, taxis, cars, phat-phatis and buses to the uniforms of the cops to, nostalgically, CP’s terraces and facade.

The flipside is that it actually ends up being distracting. There are times when, instead of following the film's narrative, you end up playing ‘spot the mistake’. I did think that making all the kids of Anupam Kher’s family wear clothes off the same yarn was excessive. That happened in the ’50s and ’60s, not so much in the ’80s.

The film begins to lag in the middle. The second half is a build-up towards the final robbery—one to beat all heists, one that will get them the dream life they have always desired. It’s here that things come undone. The romance and song and dance angle, involving Akshay and Kajal Aggarwal, is shoved in just for the heck of it and bores to death. What works for the film are the efficient acts of the lead players—Akshay, Anupam, and Manoj Bajpai as the real CBI officer who is hot on their heels.

High Fives


  1. Race 2
  2. Vishwaroop
  3. David
  4. Midnight's Children
  5. Akaash Vani


  1. Identity Thief
  2. Warm Bodies
  3. Side Effects
  4. Silver Linings Playbook
  5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters


  1. Champagne... (Geraldine Albright)
  2. Backstage Pass (Paul Brown)
  3. The Village (Lee Ritenour)
  4. Let's Bounce (Nils)
  5. Montuno Bay (Marc Antoine)


The Net Is A Trip Madhuri Vaidyeswar
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail
The Reviews
Theatre is far removed from today’s Ramlilas, which are closer to the television versions Ramayana.
MAGAZINE October 13, 2016
Audiences have taken to it, because it combines two mass opiates—cricket and cinema
MAGAZINE October 06, 2016
The Reviews
Once upon a time, there was the Disney princess who has now been upstaged by a pauper–a 10-year-old chess prodigy from the slums of Kampala
MAGAZINE September 29, 2016
The Reviews
Amitabh Bachchan holds the movie together with his piercing gaze and formidable presence
MAGAZINE September 21, 2016
The Reviews
Mildly funny, pseudo-feminist, and not in the least offensive
MAGAZINE September 15, 2016

More than a decade after India first started the procurement process, it has finally inked an €8bn agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The original deal was to buy 126 Rafales to replace the accident-prone Russian MiG-21s. Ultimately, the government offered to buy only 36 ready-to-fly planes.

POLL STARTED ON: Sep 26, 2016
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016