A Wednesday was one of the cleverest films that Hindi cinema has produced. With most Bollywood movies, we know more or less where the storyline is headed, who’s going to get who (either in romcom or a thriller), and what the climax will be all about. But for once, we had a film that we thought we had figured out, till it unravelled.
A Wednesday didn’t have a ‘see-how-clever-we-are’ smartness; director Neeraj Pandey took you by surprise quietly and unexpectedly. So you can see why, for his next film, Pandey has chosen to tell the story of the jewellery heist that took place on March 19, 1987, in Mumbai when a team of 26 men posing as CBI officers walked off quietly with loot worth lakhs from a branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri, one of Mumbai’s best-known jewellery stores. The team was led by a conman who called himself Mon Singh, walked up to the proprietor of the store, asked him to seal it off and switch off all closed circuit cameras while he conducted a ‘raid’. ‘Mon Singh’ decamped with jewellery worth around Rs. 35 lakh, leaving behind the team of men he had recruited for his operation.
In Special 26, Akshay Kumar is Ajay Singh. And a smart piece of casting it is, too. Not only does he have the required cool and sangfroid required for the role, Akshay is also known to have nimble fingers, a skill he’s said to have picked up in Bangkok where he lived for a while. In fact, he is fond of demonstrating his skills by picking his friends’ pockets. Akshay can also be deadpan but charming, smooth but street-smart, making him a perfect fit for this role. It should be interesting to see what a director like Neeraj Pandey will do with this actor.
Pandey has also retained two of his actors from A Wednesday: Anupam Kher and Jimmy Shergill (as a police inspector). There’s no Naseeruddin Shah, alas, but Pandey has roped in Manoj Bajpai to play a CBI officer as well. That’s quite some talent on offer.
Bottomline: Let’s hope it will be a cracker of a thriller just as A Wednesday was.
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpai, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Kajal Aggarwal
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Releases: February 8, 2013