An interesting story based on real-life events; A con-caper that does its best trying to stick to a plot; A cast that is known for seamlessly fitting into various roles. It's a winning combination from the get go, yet Neeraj Pandey looses track of Special 26 because of what can only be the burden of star power.
Special 26 is a story about four individuals who in the 1980s went about orchestrating robberies across India pretending to be CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) officials. The film has enough Ocean's 11 inspired twists and turns to keep the audience guessing about the final outcome. The cast comprising of Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpai, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, and Divya Dutta, are all seasoned actors and that is not where the problem with the film lies.
Till yesterday I was focusing on the many loop-holes that the story has, but after seeing the English film Compliance, which too is based on real events and although tackles a different topic, shows the length people are ready to go to when facing an authoritative figure, made me overlook those very loop-holes. Yet, the film still does not match up to the brilliance of Neeraj Pandey's earlier film A Wednesday.
The only logical error in the film seems to be the addition of Akshay Kumar in a primary role. He simply sticks out as a sore thumb amongst all the other characters. The problem with star-power that Akshay brought to the film is that as a result he became the focal point of the entire plot. Moreover, unlike A Wednesday, the audience has to suffer through a romantic angel in the story, once again revolving around Akshay Kumar, and as a result we end up with unnecessary song and dance sequences that bring nothing to the film except for an increase in its running time.
It is quite understandable that having a 'big' star in the film means having a big opening, but if it is at the expense of film-making I am not too sure about it. Furthermore, the editing isn't bad, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table with Ocean's 11 like split screen scenes. Although the fast paced story-telling during the various crime scenes covers up the tedious romantic and dramatic scenes, making the film a bit more enjoyable, the film just doesn't have that wow-factor or the same level of suspense we saw in the Pandey's earlier film. In fact, it gets so wrapped up in trying to make the wrong doers look good, almost forcing the audience to root for them, that the plot looses its authenticity.
In conclusion, Special 26 isn't a bad film at all. The concept is brilliant and it has tremendous potential. It simply fails to entertain the audience to its maximum capacity sidetracking into subplots that takes away from the charm of the film.
Rating : 3.5 / 5