Special 26: Smart, Tight, and Busy


When the previous outing of a Director is a movie like A Wednesday, you’re bound to have very high expectations. A Wednesday brought on screen the feelings of a large majority of people without making a political mess of it all.

Special 26 does not appear to be a moralistic or a social commentary. At its heart, it’s a heist movie. However, somewhere, there is a very strong comment on the Indian governmental institutions. About how a man with a gifted mind, takes on the system, cons it, uses it for his own benefit, but has an ethical aspect to his actions all the same. It’s a movie that makes you root for the conmen. And its comical in how easy, or ridiculously simple it might be to con the system. I am surprised that CBI endorses the movie in a way, through the opening disclaimer. Or, did Neeraj con them into not getting offended by the movie ☺

Simply put, it is one of the best heist movies from India. The Ocean series kinds. I don’t remember another one. Bunty Aur Babli? Not quite.

Airtight script leads the way. Set in 1987, with a good use of older parts of the cities, some digitally recreated/ superimposed shots, the movie is inspired by some true reported stories about how some conmen posed as CBI officials and conducted false raids on some businessmen.

Good no-frills editing keeps the movie well paced. The movie cuts between scenes quickly. The dialogues are short, crisp and witty. Barring that odd-ball Punjabi song in the first half, I am struggling to snip out any unwanted parts. The details of every city captured in that 1987 era are quite accurate. And to see Gyani Jail Singh on screen was a nice moment!

Acting nails it. Anupam Kher is mindbogglingly brilliant in the movie. Just watching his body language evolve from scene to scene should be good training for body actos. Here is someone who is a complete antithesis of Katrina Kaif who, for the records, looks exactly the same irrespective of the movie or the emotion or the occasion. This is the first Akshay Kumar movie that I have dared to see in a long time. I have skipped his last 10 movies I believe. And never regretted it for a moment. But this Akshay Kumar reminds you of the Akshay Kumar of Sangharsh, the time he did come across as an actor and not a buffoon. He is a revelation. Manoj Bajpayee, Rajesh Sharma, Jimmy Shergill are rocking. Jimmy is in a rehash of his cop role from A Wednesday. Grumpy, quiet and adequate. Manoj Bajpayee is leaner, meaner and awesome. Rajesh has a small role this time, but he scores. The one who outscores these guys with just 3 dialogues in the movie – Divya Dutta. I don’t know why Kajal Agarwal was needed for this movie. Waste of time. Now I know what I’d have snipped from the movie.SC2

The detail that did not always go right – Airport! ☺ With so many shots of the airport, having the current airport showcased as the 1987 version was a bit of a sadness.

And that’s all I will say without posting any spoilers.

The movie keeps you on the seat, and thinking. And it’s a very smart movie. And as most of the readers of this blog might agree, Bollywood has a serious dearth of smart movies. So. Go ahead. Enjoy the movie. Once the plot is revealed, I am sure it’d still remain a good second time watch. Why, you ask? The level of detailing for everything that you are going to notice in the second run, that’s why. Thank you Neeraj Pandey for another awesome movie.

Rating: 4 on 5.

Movie Review: Singh is Kinng

I will try to be honest.. about what comes to my mind now when I see this picture

Humpe ye kisne.. hara rang daala
maar daala… allah.. maar daala….

So.. I watched one of the kinngs of bollywood (SRK is one, AB is another, Aamir K is a third.. and Akki is the fourth) take the screen in a pre-premier show at PVR Goregaon. (I like the sound of the ringing NNNNNNs in Kinng… reminds me of Bheja Fry – It is ringing)…

And here are my two conflicting thoughts about the movie –

1. The movie is going to be a hit. One of the bigger hits of the year.
2. The movie is trash! Barring the occasional comic moments, the movie is a mindless creeper that takes 140 minutes to get over!

Ek Color Ke Terah Patte, Lekin Sab Mein Hai Ik King….
Read that as – there are several trashy movies like this, but there is a kind even amongst them! And most likely, Akki has another hit up his someplace yet again!

I went through a lot of emotions as I watched the movie. Some of it were related to my views on the movie. Some of it were related to my constant urge to check my mails in a hope that my colleagues in US would have something more sensible than Anees Bazmee’s crapshoot. In the end, the emotions had a similar flavor – Disappointment.

Akshay Kumar as Happy Singh manages to board a flight to Egypt while going for Australia. With no cash in his pocket, manages to go around Egypt with a hot chick. And Singh Sings and is Happy. Lands in Australia and meets the biggest underworld kinng (Sonu Sood) within an hour of landing (with no money and address of course!). Becomes an underworld kinng in the next 20 mins. Is Happy. Has a roadside lady pose as a rich woman at his mafia world’s expense – because the lady’s daughter does not know that her family is not rich anymore (sigh!) – while the henchmen play Yes Boss! More Sing-hing (its a different matter that Hing (asfoetida) is a pungent smelling thing added to some Indian dishes). And a whole lot of Priyadarshan Movie Climax scenes where humor is dependent on how clumsy people can be, and how outrageous the scene is. All this in 140 minutes (Yeah.. you do keep counting minutes!). Paisa Vasool.

Its a movie full of cliches, hamming, and average performances. In my book, it would be a below average movie. And being the bollywood buff I am, who can watch any trash, and being one who has no issues with leaving his mind outside the theater, I think I have a right to be unhappy (the pun on the name intended). The movie does not live up to the hype it created.

Now you may ask me – If everything is so bad, why is the movie going to be a hit. WELL .. I did not like Om Shanti Om that much.. and it became a rage. I hated Race. And from what I understand, its one of the biggest grossers of the year. And this movie belongs to the OSO genre of mindlessness. But beyond all this, there are some extremely funny moments and dialogues in the movie. Javed Jafferi in a loud role manages to create some cool moments. Yashpal Sharma manages to pull off another good comic performance. Katrina Kaif looks gorgeous as ever… and whether Sallu likes it or not, there is chemistry between KK and AK. Music is quite a rage already. Title track is going to be an anthem!

Anees Bazmee amazes me – Based on his IMDB record as a director, he cannot give two consecutive good ones. No Entry and Welcome had Sandwich and Benaam sandwiched in the middle. And before that, Deewangee came after Pyaar to Hona Hi Tha, which followed hulchul! Such variety!

I should have been careful!

At a certain point, a dialogue is – Ye aadmi to itna buddha hai ki sarkari naukri mein hota to ab tak teen baar retire kar chuka hota…. well…

Btw.. one really good thing about the show I watched – Trailers of 1. Kidnap, 2. The Last Lear, 3. Heroes and 4. Victory. Most of these movies – I did not have much idea about. Of these, Kidnap has Imran Khan (of Jane Tu Ya Jane Na) in an angry young man role taking Sanjay Dutt on. Last Lear is something I am looking forward to – Amitabh Bachan, Preity Zinta, Rituparno Ghosh, “Arindam Chaudhuri”, etc etc..

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