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Special 26  : Far From Special
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Friday, February 8, 2013
Neeraj Pandey
Akshay Kumar, Kajal Agarwal, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Sheirgill
Remember the conmen who pretended to be I-T sleuths raiding a jewellery store in Mumbai? Yeah, we saw it in Rakesh Roshan’s Khel, eons ago. It didn’t work then, it doesn’t today either, even decades later.

The plot: Over a drink Ajay (Akshay Kumar) tells Waseem (Manoj Bajpayee) that people do nothing but crib about the government. To go beyond whining, Ajay does something – he forms a team of four who earn their bread and butter by conning the rich and the corrupt, in the full knowledge that hoarders of black money won’t ever lodge a complaint about a raid.
After 49 robberies (fraudulent ‘CBI raids’), team member Sharma (Anupam Kher) wants to live peacefully with his family, so he asks Ajay to think big and play one big hand for the last time. But real CBI agent Waseem gets wind of their Special 26 mission and comes up with a ploy of his own to con the conmen.

The good: First of all it is nice to see Akshay Kumar in an interesting and substantial role, giving himself a break from the trending `100-crore genre of rowdy action-comedy. The concept and the simple treatment with straight-faced humour are refreshing (script: Neeraj Pandey).
In spite of a loosely-written story, it is gripping for quite a while due to flawless performances by Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee and Akshay Kumar. The dialogues are amusing and bang-on, aided by Akshay’s impeccable comic timing.

The bad: In reality, the CBI is pretty much synonymous with intelligence. To repeatedly mention and depict the government department of sleuths as a cakewalk to con, is annoying. To compound it is the hollow content that is so full of loopholes. First of all, it’s too simplistic to assume that a layman can get an advertisement printed in the newspaper on behalf of the CBI, calling for 50 young graduates to work for the prestigious department. It’s all the more astounding that nobody seems to have a problem with that.

Secondly, the way it underestimates the CBI and thus the audience’s intelligence, is hardly smart writing. There are conmen raiding the mansions of big-time politicians and businessmen without any major hurdle and random people conduct a walk-in interview on behalf of the CBI. The casual ease with which four men dupe people all over India with an array of fake identities is irritatingly unconvincing. At many such levels the film strays from reality.

 It is a huge disappointment that this comes from Neeraj Pandey, the writer-director of the delightfully unique A Wednesday.

The film drags when a love track is enforced in the form of Kajal Aggarwal’s character Priya which is insignificant to the rest of the script. The protocol of songs that follow the romance bring down the fun and pace of the film. Certain characters like that of Shaanti played by Divya Dutta appear phoney and superficial.

Certain scenes where Akshay Kumar is shown sitting at Marine Drive are shoddy as it looks like a small budget set, light years from reality. 

Overall: What a pity that what could have been a high-on-adrenaline-and- grey-matter entertainer turns out to be a mid-level, low-on-substance film tale.

– Pooja Thakkar
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