Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee, Kajal Aggarawal Director: Neeraj Pandey Rating: 3.5/5 Movie Reviewed At: PVR Cinemas, Udaipur
Special 26 is a chimera but with a monotonous temperament. It goes on and on with a drama where there are con-men trying to milk the otherwise corrupt system for their purposes. In this mono-hued approach, the film reaches a level where it attempts to put across a point – the failure of the governing and the law and order machinery is so serious that it is a daunting task to sort out the fraudulent out of the noble committed people, sort out the culprits, out of the actually responsible people.
The decade of the 1980’s is a nostalgic one in the backdrop of this phase the plot of this film is woven with a remarkable precision.
It is quite a challenging task to relive and to recreate the period movies and specifically of a period where you see the earliest models of the Maruti cars , Lamby scooters ,Contessas parked in the parking lot of the thinly populated Connaught Place .
The Director of the film Neeraj Pandey of ‘A Wednesday’ fame must be congratulated for the movie and the period depiction.
Even the titles in the beginning are following the texture of the movies of the 80’s and the viewers are introduced to the actual scene through the Republic Day parade where one sees Giani Zail Singh as the then President of India and also Rajiv Gandhi the then PM.
Special 26 has so many latent meanings flowing as the undercurrents beneath the actual flow of the storyline.
The decade of 80’s was the decade of the congress monopoly with the Janata Party interregnum failed badly the Congress had the reins of absolute power in its hands which unleashed the license permit Raj or the Inspector Raj at its high peak where the institutional corruption was unbridled and out of the control of any mechanism .
This era was witnessing a huge dissipation of the public resources where the young and promising frustratingly waited for the jobs and even for a fictitious advertisement as it is depicted in the movie they turned up in numbers not even questioning the veracity of the advertisement.
Metaphorically the young India got solemnized to the racketeers, professional frauds who did not have any other option for these people than to land them in a soup.
Special 26 tries to hold that end of that thread which later on permeates into the India psyche where the unethical behavior in the public life gets a strange sanction from the society. This film underlines the systemic failure of the machinery where the criminals don’t have any faces no identification marks and even some of the most diligent officers, like the one being played by Manoj Bajpai, are led into an utter failure.
Manoj Bajpai is quite intense in his role here. Akshay Kumar playing a conman may be rated second to him in the intensity of the portrayal of the character. Akshay’s dalliance with Kajal Aggarwal is interspersed with the plot of the film Kajal is a pretty actress who has been through a stint in the south Indian films but has little scope in the plot of the film here.
Anupam Kher has obviously acquired a veteran hood and he while portraying the character gets into the skin of the character being no space left between Kher the person and the ‘character’.
Though towing a consistent line, Special 26 is a worth watch. You get stuck with every sequential scene and there would be lesser time left even to wink the eyelids.