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SPECIAL 26 - A fine heist thriller which is enjoyable if you are willing to ignore its big open loopholes. (Review by Bobby Sing)
08 Feb, 2013 | Movie Reviews / 2013 Releases

A Neeraj Pandey film post the classic A WEDNESDAY cannot escape two major things associated with it unarguably. One is the huge amount of expectations among the viewers from his second film and the other is a comparison in their minds with his debut movie which was acclaimed all over unanimously. Ideally, the comparison factor should be of least concern in such cases as a film-maker needs to be given complete freedom to break through and move in some diverse directions in his next attempts. However since in his second project Neeraj still opts for another Chor-Police kind of exciting thriller quite close to the genre of A WEDNESDAY so the comparisons would come in automatically as self-invited and cannot be avoided.
This time the basic theme revolves around few shocking true incidents of 1980s wherein four people posing as CBI or Income Tax department men robbed several businessmen and politicians in the broad daylight and nobody even reported those fake raids due to the fear of revealing their unaccounted black money. The subject is no doubt a well chosen one which also has been made into a fine exciting thriller which would surely entertain majority of viewers interested in this particular genre. The fantastic initial 30 minutes impress you a lot and then you get into the mood of watching an engrossing heist tale of four entertaining con-men who plan & execute their brave heists with great intelligence and confidence.
As a clever step by its makers, just before the release they started using the song Dhar Pakkad in its promos with the text written all over because in reality the title SPECIAL 26 was not working and creating several confusions in the minds of the viewers. May be that also became one of the reason for its slow start at the box office on Friday. Anyway as it has got the right pace of an interesting thriller and has got some great performances too to support its unconventional theme so its sure going to pick up in the coming days as it seems.
To begin with, SPECIAL 26 has an uneven first half with a forced in love angle and few good songs (taking you again into the clichéd Punjab) which I was never expecting in a film from the maker of A WEDNESDAY (a song-less masterpiece). Probably since this time it was Akshay in the lead role, so a deliberate love angle, songs and sequences related to it were made necessary by the actor as well as its producers to make it a more commercial venture for the box-office. But to say the truth, the film would have been a much better, focused and inspiring tale to watch without all these silly, forced in sequences.
In the second half, though there is another song to continue the avoidable teasing, still Neeraj gets back on his track soon and then gives you a shocking climax in the end breaking all the norms of such con-films made in Indian Cinema till date. The twist in the tale makes you sit straight and forces you to think that how they actually did it. Yet here once again I would like to say that S26 will surely be appreciated more by the lovers of this particular genre only because the film has a major part of its content without dialogues with just the pulsating background score keeping the energy alive and the actors performing their act on the screen silently. Hence it’s basically a film, which is more concerned about its rare plot in the script and less about the actors performing their roles on the screen (as it should be).
Apart from its exceptional execution SPECIAL 26 also excels in its department of Cinematography and Art Direction showing the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta in the late 80s almost perfectly. To give you the feel of that developing era, the essence of those times is well taken care of with all Maruti 800s, Fiats, Black Autos, the old Connaught Place (partially), Best Buses & Bus Stops in Bombay and Trams in Calcutta shown clearly in all the long and close outdoor shots taken elegantly. Further its also nothing short of an achievement made by the director that despite of being a film about con-men, police and thieves performing some big crimes, there is not even a single scene of blood-shed, murder or gun-shots. So visually too it’s a great work done by the team lead by the talented Neeraj Pandey which needs to be watched keeping in mind the obvious points (like there were no communication sources at that time other than the fixed line government allotted telephones in our homes).
Musically, S26 didn’t require a romantic plot and the songs at all even if they do give you some listening pleasure for few moments (like Kaun Mera) . The songs hinder the pace of this crime-chase thriller hugely and they have clearly been added to suit the image requirements of Akshay. In fact this is a clear example of the act that in Hindi Cinema, an actor’s image is given much more importance than the theme, subject or need of the project itself.
Akshay is in terrific form in the film and emotes well in all kinds of scenes in the script, which is far different and ahead than most of his recent mindless comedies. But in case, the romantic angle was in reality forced by him only then its pretty evident that he was not 100% confident about the genre of S26 and its success right from the beginning. Both Manoj Bajpayee & Anupam Kher give another splendid performance of their bright careers as expected. Jimmy Shergill is efficient and same can be said about Rajesh Sharma and Kishore Kadam who mostly remain silent throughout the film. Kajal is wasted in a forced role and Divya Dutta shines in her small cameo.
Coming to the points which force me to rate this film a bit lower than I really wished, please read further only after you have watched it, as there are spoilers ahead.
As a creative person Neeraj Pandey has all the rights to try something new and different as per his choice in his second film. So it was fine to accept that this time Neeraj is back with a comic kind of heist thriller based on some true events of 1980, without any strong thought provoking message for the nation. But on the other hand, it wasn’t really fine to see such big open loopholes in his second script which were nowhere to be found in his earlier A WEDNESDAY. Here for reference I am stating two big flaws in S26 among many others which might force you to think about the film once again from the beginning.
1. Both Jimmy Shergill and Divya Dutta are posing as fake police officers in the raid at the minister’s house, that’s fine. But later in another scene they also take a fake “Commissioner of Police” to the minister’s house too after making a proper appointment, where the Commissioner suspends both on the minister’s request. Now this means that a minister of that area is so foolish that he doesn’t even know who the Commissioner of Police is in his own state.
2. In the second half we are shown that the CBI very well knows, who Anupam Kher is (by finding him in their old records) and where he lives with his family in Chandigarh. To know their plan they even send a person to install a phone tapping machine in his home. But still strangely CBI doesn’t appoint a person to keep an eye on the house of that notorious criminal and neither they go to raid that house at once after Kher vanishes away from the crime scene. In short, CBI never even goes to that house in Chandigarh to question Kher’s wife nor makes any arrangements to stop him moving out of the country. And then we see both Anupam and his wife enjoying a cricket match in Dubai?
Keeping in mind the above two and many more flaws which I found in S26, one can enjoy it only if he ignores to look at the big open loopholes in its entertaining script. And due to that very reason SPECIAL 26 remains a fine heist thriller from Neeraj Pandey which can surely be considered as A TUESDAY after his A WEDNESDAY and not A THURSDAY.
Rating : 3 / 5

Tags : Special 26 Review By Bobby Sing, Special 26 Movie Review by Bobby Sing, S26 Review, S26 Film Review, Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Ci
08 Feb 2013 / Comments ( 8 )
amit joshi
Just watched the film in theater and I agree on both loopholes,
want to add another loophole

(a) How Jimmy Shergil is working with Manoj Tiwari means he is searching papers in police record , How he can ? when he is not a real police officer. Can you enter in police office's record room if you are not a police officer ?

I am surprised that how Neeraj can not think about these loopholes ?. But I have a interesting question to ask

1. Why we audience don't wants to see screen criminals (if they are hero) not to be caught by the police ?

(c) why we love a heroine who is happy to marry with a thief, why ? why we don't say that she is so stupid who is willing to merry a thief :)

I may be wrong......but many times I feel while watching the movie, I never want hero of the film to get caught by police but in real life I would definitely want a thief to be caught at earliest by police :)
Bobby Sing

Hi Amit,
The film has many more loop holes too like how they managed to make all the duplicate jewellery for a two floor showroom in just one night.

But still it remains one of the better movies from Bollywood thought I wished it didnt have so many weak points in its script.

Now regarding your questions that,
"Why we audience don't wants to see screen criminals (if they are hero) not to be caught by the police ? OR
"Why we love a heroine who is happy to marry with a thief, why ? why we don't say that she is so stupid who is willing to merry a thief ?"

The reason a person thinks that way is very simply and you may have heard it often too.
And it is that a Human being is a sum of both good and bad. So his or her personality has both evil and goodness in different proportions which make him act in a particular manner.

Besides the other truth is that we all may sound or be good always but the actual test of a person comes when he has a clear chance to commit a crime without any fear to get caught.....for example in a mob attack or riots or a group activity where a single person cannot be stated responsible. At these moments in 60 to 70 percent people the evil comes out at once and starts acting.

Therefore when we watch such criminals posing at heroes in our films then that hidden evil side of our persona gets his food and we enjoy it a lot and as I see it such films can become a good way of introspection too.

I hope I was able to explain myself in these few words.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

amit joshi

You are right as usual :)

Bobby Sing

Thanks Amit and Keep Writing in.
Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

roby

Hi Bobby,
i think you are unnecessarily criticizing what has been one of the finest movies i have ever seen.
Please understand this is 1980s when there are no mobiles and communication was very difficult, so smart criminals could get away easily. Probably there was no centralised quality database. I wonder if such a thing is there even today, then your doubts why anupam is in dubai.

U see even if manoj vajpayi knows that they have been conned, there is no evidence for them to take action against anupam or his family.and surely the whole bureacratic setup of india makes it difficult for any action unless there is sure shot evidence.and the other question why audiences love it,it is bcoz these guys are robbing the corrupt and the rich,so naturally the audience loves it to see how the corrupt get thier due.thats why people love it even though they do bad things.neeraj pandey deserves the highest award bcoz he has created such a masterpiece and that too re-creating the 1980s and the crowd sequences,all have been spectacular.

Bobby Sing

Hi Roby,
Differences of opinion are bound to be there and the basic reason for it may be the kind of heist movies one has already seen which might set the bar differently for different viewers.
So from the Indian Standard as I said it is undoubtedly a worth watching film but along with that it does have many open loopholes also mentioned in the earlier comments.

However regarding your points I have the following replies:

1.Please understand this is 1980s when there are no mobiles and communication was very difficult, so smart criminals could get away easily. Probably there was no centralised quality database. I wonder if such a thing is there even today, then your doubts why anupam is in dubai.
(Even in that time they successfully managed to reach Anupam's house and tap his phone too, so how come Anupam's wife escaped from there and what about their 5-6 children.....??)

2. U see even if manoj vajpayi knows that they have been conned, there is no evidence for them to take action against anupam or his family.and surely the whole bureacratic setup of india makes it difficult for any action unless there is sure shot evidence.
(The most shocking loophole of the film was when the Chief of Police introduces Jimmy to Manoj as a police inspector from a different branch like a big fool without confirming it officially from the headquarters or from the station he is coming from)

3. And the other question why audiences love it, It is bcoz these guys are robbing the corrupt and the rich, So naturally the audience loves it to see how the corrupt get their due. thats why people love it even though they do bad things. 
(Regarding this point you can read my answer to the question in this same thread asked by Amit Joshi that "Why we audience don't wants to see screen criminals (if they are hero) not to be caught by the police?"

Cheers!
HIS
 BLESSINGS

 

 

Sush

Here's my take on your comments:

1. Jimmy and Divya dutta may have been real police officers too who just teamed up with Ajju. In the end, wasim says "Ranveer ajju ka admi tha". So it is also possible that they were both police officer but they had teamed up with ajju to loot corrupt people and since Jewellery heist was their last job, ranveer could afford to walk away and reveal his identity after that job. And also it wasn't the commisioner of people. He acted as "ACP". In the end, you even see shanti ji saying he overacted the acp part. Since there can be many ACPs in jurisdiction, it is possible that the minister did not know him.

2. As Waseem says to Sethji that a person can be arrested only for commiting crime and that too when there is evidence, he cannot arrest Sharma since there is no evidence against him although this is debatable since wasim can arrest sharma and those in workshop can testify against him. But maybe I don't know much about beurocratic setup back in those days

To me, a more baffling point is how do they transfer all the cash/jewellary out of India? They couldn't have sold the jewellary in India and couldn't have taken it out of India in airplane either. Maybe they did melt gold into gold biscuits and transferred it? Or through some corrupt route (that goes against their principles)? Or smuggled it. This part is more intriguing because they were dealing with value in crores.

Bobby Sing

Hi Sush,
Thanks for your detailed comment with the justifications but frankly I am not that convinced.
For me a con film or a heist film works majorly when you cant find such things to point atleast while watching it.
Later it may create some doubts, which seem to be illogical in your mind as you re-think about it.

But if a film of this genre allows you to catch or point out such loopholes within those two hours only as your are watching it, then for me its not a great mindblowing effort in totality.

However we all have our own devleoped likings and preferences which I completely understand and respect.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

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