When Special Chabbis ends with a fabulous thriller twist, the revelation behind its title makes this con plot doubly special.
Wednesday writer/director, Neeraj Pandey, made quite a mark with his first film. His second film, again, a one man show in story, script and direction, carries his distinctive racy, breezy and funny style of storytelling. The concept of a real CBI officer pitched against fake CBI people, inspired from real events of a famous jewellery store heist in 1987, is cooler than the cool. The execution is simple and fun, marred slightly by repetitive use of background score and a love story angle that falls flat.
The film opens with a documentary footage of Rajiv Gandhi on Republic Day, playing on TV while a very serious looking, patriotic, CBI officer, P.K.Sharma (Anupam Kher) and Ajay (Akshay Kumar) summon a police officer, Ranveer (Jimmy Shergill with a brilliantly donned daft expression) to accompany them on a raid on a corrupt chief minister. A team of grim faced, duty conscious,four men - Sharma,Ajay, Iqbal (Kishore Kadam),Joginder (Rajesh Sharma) - march in, announces their identity and proceeds with practiced efficiency. Picture frames are taken off the walls, a home temple is uprooted, car seats unzipped, mattresses are slit open, bookshelves are knocked apart, locks are broken. The minister’s black money is quickly packed into several cases. The minister tries to bribe Sharma who slaps him hard and makes a small speech to the impressed newbie inspector, Ranveer , “real power lies in the heart.”Ranveer stares in awe and admiration of honesty. Except that the CBI team is just the opposite, the brainchild of con master Ajay. Deeply affronted and insulted at being taken for a ride, the inspector approaches a real CBI officer, a muscled tough nut at work and honest to the core, Waseem(Manoj Bajpayee) to get the con raid men exposed.
The film’s first half reveals bits of each one’s personal life along with a couple of con raids. The second half narrows down to the entire planning of the final raid on a jewellery store in Bombay, with the real CBI team keeping a close watch. Everything is shown in such realistic detail that one forgets the identities; like Sharma says at one point, ”By God, ek minute ke liye to bhool hi gaya that ki hum chor hain.”
The director has repeated two of the main actors from Wednesday, namely Kher and Shergill, both of whom deliver thoroughly enjoyable performances. Akshay Kumar, in an ordinay 80s look, indulging in slow balcony romance, is a pleasant change from his usual filmy hero image.
Manoj Bajpayee as the real CBI officer, is at his best with a permanent scowl on his face and a body language to match. In the end, his outburst of mixed emotional laughter, playing to a whirlwind of past events, captured in circular camera work, is simply outstanding.
Music by Himesh Reshammiya and M.M.Kreem along with most lyrics by Irshad Kamil, could have been better.
Wednesday with its serious statement, has stayed in public memory. Special 26,throwing a tongue-in-cheek light on corruption, remains a fun ride. Make that a double special fun ride.