It wouldn't be an attempt at mockery to tell you that Special 26 is the most intelligent movie that Akshay Kumar has starred in yet in his gungho box-office friendly Hindi film career. No kidding.
The first triumph of Special Chabbis (Special 26) is what it makes of a one-off 1987 heist that occurred at a Mumbai jewellery store on the pretext of an income tax raid. Out of that little wool, much yarn is made and rolled about in the appropriate genre. Director Neeraj Pandey excels in spicing up this 'true incident' into an cat and mouse game, even as the commercial gloss is all over the movie, its doesn't ruin a plot devoid of any cringing loopholes.
There are four con men in the mix who pose as CBI officers, raid homes and offices of politicians and other hapless members who have much to hide (Read:Unaccounted money). No complaint is thus registered against the miscreants, therefore nothing makes it to the newspapers either. The two leaders of the pack are Ajay (Akshay Kumar, commercially apt, competent) and Sharma (Anupam Kher, comic pathos incarnate). Joginder (Rajesh Sharma, not much screen time) and Iqbal (Kishore Kadam, filling in well) play able allies to the scheming duo.
The film begins with one such raid of a minster's abode - long winding sequence that involves varied shots of a car cavalcade (That somehow escaped the editor's scissors). It then gives the crooks a sharp adversary in Waseem Khan (Manoj Bajpai, in sublime form), an honest CBI officer who pursues the con men with a sharp-eyed stubbornness. Police officers Ranbir (Jimmy Shergill, wasted) and Shanti (Divya Dutta, one-liner role) fit in to their brief roles sportingly. As the mandatory love interest, Priya (Kajal Aggarwal) plays it with a been there, done that ease.
Special 26 is a quality Hindi film with sprinkles of happy Hindi film escapism. It is but foremost, a consistent, controlled entertainer, intelligently made. That is reason enough to catch it at the theaters. The pick at the cinema screens at the time of writing. Recommended.