A film based on the fake CBI heist of 1987 could not have been better dealt with than it has been in Special 26. Akshay Kumar essays Ajay Singh, a conman who with accomplice PK Sharma (Anupam Kher) poses as the CBI and carries off huge robberies through his dexterous plots of trapping corrupt politicians and traders. He hoodwinks Ranveer (Jimmy Shergill), a police Inspector in one such gambit of his, getting him suspended from duty. Tenacious on getting the gang of conmen arrested, he goes on to seek help from actual CBI officer Wasim Khan; Enter Manoj Bajpayee: shrewd, sincere and hell bent on getting to this gang even in the absence of an official complaint by any of the victims.
Within minutes, you notice Special 26 evolving as one of the paciest and engaging stories. The adrenalizing screenplay makes you spontaneously acknowledge the genius in the director Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday) who clearly emerges as the hero to watch out for.
This film no doubt, is a vital image restorer for Akshay Kumar who performs admirably here in the role of a canny slick trickster. He is not new to comic roles and thus delivers perfect justice to Ajay Singh. Of all pivotal roles we clearly without dilemma sense Manoj Bajpayee as the show stealer in the film. Striking and prominent as he always is, his glamour laden dialogue delivery further festoons the effect he manages to make Wasim Khan have on the audience. Neeraj Pandey yet again gifts Anupam Kher a script which offers him an unrestricted scope for laudable acting.
While discussing characters, I faintly recollect the presence of Kajal Aggarwal in the film. She plays Ajay’s love interest, frankly an unwanted character in the story. The Akshay-Kajal scenes induce lethargy in the story and dull disdain in the viewer’s mind. This undesirable love subplot here only manages to reduce the attention level, harass a couple of songs into the film and expose the inept acting of the actress.
The return of M.M. Kreem’s music is delightful; his songs successfully hit the spot considering the story set in the 80s. The retro-mastered background score is vibrant enough to keep you engaged and well suffices the alacritous storyline.
A noticeable merit lies in the nuances the film offers. The apt and convincing art direction subtly and remarkably transports you to the charming 80s; an era where cutting telephone lines stalled communication and the clear Delhi roads were only occupied by a couple of Maruti cars.
An effective screenplay is what such a plot required, and it luckily won the trophy it deserved. The unfolding of each scene brings with it certain unforeseeable surprises, course changing and effective. The dialogues contribute significantly to the entertainment that the story provides. Some are heavily injected with casual sarcasm and satirical wit and successfully manages to address the comic requirement in a Akshay Kumar film.
As a whole, this enthralling story offers a discharge from the conventional drama film. It doesn’t let boredom sneak into the theatre and gives you a wholesome treat of excellent performances, brain tickling fast paced scenes and a commendable climax which is sure to impress every viewer. Neeraj Pandey is undoubtedly the champion here, shrewdly preparing a recipe which is an efficient blend of comedy, thrill and most of all enjoyable timing.