Special 26 Review

Special 26 Movie Review by Indicine critic Joginder Tuteja

Expectations met

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. This is what you end up saying even before end credits start rolling for ‘Special 26’. A film that goes beyond expectations, ‘Special 26’ is what ends up as a highly entertaining film that keeps you on the edge of the seat (many films promise that, this one does) right till the very finale. In the times when one continues to draw parallel with Hollywood films when it comes to heist thrillers and con games, ‘Special 26’ turns out to be an indigenous piece of cinema that manages to create it’s own space.

Special 26 Review
Special 26 Review

What worked

In this endeavour of director Neeraj Pandey, his ‘special’ actors completely go with his vision. Akshay Kumar underplays his part, Anupam Kher changes colour like a chameleon while Jimmy Sheirgill doesn’t mind taking a step back but still stay in the game. In the middle of them all, Manoj Bajpayee creates a zone for himself. With an eclectic mix of characters contributing to the script, Pandey ensures that the roller coaster ride keeps the audience guessing without confusing them.

It is this very fun element that ensures that you do chuckle, break into loud laughter and at quite a few places, especially in the second half, even come up with claps and applause. Whether it is the sequences featuring raids or the entire recruitment drive that Akshay and Kher come up with or the ‘Indian Idol’ kind of auditions that happen for the open CBI posts or the manner in which Bajpayee gets his sleuths in place to prevent a robbery, you are totally glued to the proceedings while also ignoring any distraction whatsoever.

What could have been avoided

What does distract though is the entire love track. Completely unwarranted and only turning out to be an interruption, especially in the first half where a couple of back to back songs as well as few ‘almost silent’ scenes featuring Akshay and Kajal bring the pace down, they could have been better off the film in entirety. Thankfully Pandey manages to keep it all short instead of filling in this space.

What keeps the momentum on

To his credit though, he ensures that the space and platform provided to him is well utilised. ‘Special 26’ is one film which can well be tagged as a true blue period film. 80s is reflected beautifully, right from the hoardings to the traffic on the roads to the billboards to the political references to communication channels to the offices to the whole language, milieu and overall surroundings – Just awesome!

A major player in this whole game who keeps the momentum up is the background score that has been composed by veteran Surender Sodhi. He elevates the film to a different level altogether with an eclectic 70s style score that reminds of Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘The Great Gambler’, ‘Parwana’ and ‘Don’ to name a few.

Special 26 Review
Special Chabbis Movie Review

The ‘special’ actors

Actors make sure that ‘Special 26’ never gets into a frivolous zone even once. Akshay never ever allows his stardom to come in the way of the film in even a single scene. Anupam Kher, despite an experience of around 350 films, can count this as one of his Top-10 performances till date. Manoj has a huge role to play and he does exceedingly well, as is expected from him. Jimmy justifies his presence and is important to the film. Kajal is fine in her limited part. Rajesh Sharma and Kishore Kadam provide support as the script demands. Divya Dutta has just one dialogue that she repeats throughout and that too for a reason.

The final word

Right from the opening sequences where a raid is conducted at the house of a politician to a similar, but highly effective sequence that follows in Kolkata, you know that director Neeraj Pandey is playing his game well. He teases the audience, engages them, indulges them and keeps the door open for the story to even demand a sequel.

Oh yes, we are waiting for the story to unfold further, like it was yesterday. Bring it on Neeraj, Akshay, Kher saab, Manoj, Jimmy and the team!

As for the commercial returns, ‘Special 26’ comes with the kind of strength and power which should allow it to see major growth on a day to day basis. Even though the film’s opening isn’t in line with the likes of a quintessential biggie Bollywood entertainer, it has in it to follow the route of the likes of ‘OMG – Oh My God!’ & ‘Kahaani’ and in turn emerge victorious.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Do post your Special Chabbis Reviews in the comments section below. We’d love to know your thoughts on the movie.



  • Why this actress?!!! she’s not attractive at all to be a heroine for hindi films!!! when I saw her with Ajay Devgan in Singham I asked myself this question: didn’t they get any better looking actress than this lady?! now with Akshay Kumar!!! why? what makes her so special?!!! nothing I guess!

  • why songs were put in the film?? neeraj earlier film didnt have aNY Songs and it was very taut .. but this one could have avoided the romantic angle

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