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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    Default Special Chabbis: serves you something special!

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    Director: Neeraj Pandey
    Cast: Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Sheirgill

    Special Chabbis derives its theme from an infamous episode from the late 80s where a group of conmen posing as CBI officers robbed a jewelry store in Mumbai in broad daylight. Thereafter spin-offs of this incident were used in some films but to slapstick effect. However neither does director Neeraj Pandey intend anything farcical nor is Akshay Kumar in his usual clowning zone.

    Ajay (Akshay Kumar) and his team of three (Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma, Kishore Kadam) are conmen who confidently pose as CBI or income-tax officers and raid the rich. They primarily target politicians or businessmen so that their loss of black money remains unreported. When Inspector Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Sheirgill) turns pawn of one of Ajay's operations and is suspended from duty, he decides to trace the conmen. Teaming up with real CBI officer Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), they find that Ajay's next unsuspecting mark in a prominent jewelry store in Mumbai.

    Right from the opening raid sequence that introduces the conmen and establishes their modus operandi, the film sets the right tone and gets straight to the point. Unlike over-stylized conmen that we are often fed (and fed up of) in films, the central characters that Neeraj Pandey designs here are your average men without any glamour or guts. Their only asset is their confidence. And with their poise, they pull off what seems improbable. While the raids and the recruitment for the same seem kinda contrived, the pacing is fast enough to allow you to ponder over the proceedings.

    Interestingly the director merely derives the method from the original 80s raid but otherwise the film is not a documentation or reconstruction of the 1987 incident. It is not the heist per se but the meticulous pre-planning involved and the subsequent payoff that is a more gratifying experience. After the first two break-ins, it seems as if the narrative has gone into the conventional zone, yet the crisp editing keeps you riveted. However like his last film A Wednesday, Neeraj Pandey is a master when it comes to twisting the tale towards the climax and once again saves the best for the last.

    On the flipside, the romance track between Ajay and the girl-next-door (Kajal Aggarwal), despite having an old-world charm, doesn't excite much. If nothing else, the love song and more particularly an item number were absolutely avoidable in this sagacious cinema.

    The 80s era is smartly recreated with Lamby scooters, Contessa cars, unclogged airport terminals, expansive runway views and yesteryear currency notes - all justifying the period. The use of retro background score and a matt finish in the cinematography adds to the effect. Neeraj Pandey's shot takings are clever and his dialogues are as much wittily penned. His bigger triumph, however, lies in the fact that he makes us root for characters whose actions are neither ethically correct nor do they have any Robinhood type intentions to rinse off their sins. These conmen win your applause with their sheer self-assurance and astuteness.

    It's a treat to watch Akshay Kumar in a no-nonsense role, brimming with as much confidence as his character demands. He is calm, composed and doesn't have to try too hard to be cool either. Manoj Bajpayee gets a meaty role and his character gets as much reliance and runtime as that of Akshay. The one verbal confrontation scene between them has more fireworks than what a physical combat scene from an average Akshay Kumar film has.

    Anupam Kher is superb and the range of expressions he brings to his character is just amazing. Jimmy Sheirgill is excellent. Rajesh Sharma, Kishore Kadam and Divya Dutta add good support. Kajal Aggarwal is passable.

    Finally there's a film that lives up to its name and serves you something special!

    Verdict: Very Good



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