Home » Reviews » Movie Reviewยป Movie Review: Special Chabbis

Movie Review: Special Chabbis

Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - Feb 09, 2013, 01:13 PM IST

Movie Review: Special Chabbis
  • +1 See more slides

    This is an Akshay Kumar film. Despite all the anticipation, it is easy at once to understand the apprehensions then. Only someone who has wasted a significant portion of their lifetime watching nonsensical gibberish starring the actor would know that even if the promo of a picture looks promising and the plot is thick, there is a baggage that the star may bring along, which could make everything redundant eventually.

    There is the Punjabi wedding early on in the movie with the customary bhangra and giddha and the song with words “mar jawa” and “soniye”. You cringe but keep your fingers crossed. The heroine (Kajal Aggrawal) eyes the hero. Her family is marrying her off to someone else. She knows the hero will take her away sooner than she hits the mandap. This under-explored romance has nothing to do with the picture per se. I am glad to report, it’s not where the film is headed either.

    This is a sensible movie. And it remains one almost entirely. The promos are obvious. They tell you all that there is to know before you step into the theatre. There is a group of con-men. Akshay plays the confident mastermind. Anupam Kher (wonderfully conflicted) is his old, nervous deputy. These are regular sort of blokes who pose as investigators from the CBI. They recruit the local police, get into vehicles that are earmarked for the “Government of India”, barge into the official residence of a minister in Lutyen’s Delhi, knock open every hole in the wall as thick wads of cash shower over their heads. They seal all the jewels and money into metal suitcases, pack them into their car’s trunk, and run off with the loot before the minister realises he’s been robbed in broad daylight.

    The politician has a reputation to protect. He doesn’t file a police complaint. He says his netagiri will seem questionable if the news spreads that four random people could wipe out his whole house while he sat there and watched. The reason for hushing up this fake raid is obviously a lot simpler. The stolen money is illegal. Two wrongs don’t make a right. How do you report robbery for something that you weren’t supposed to possess in the first place? The plan is cunningly smart. The execution is exhilarating. The team of con-men similarly regroup every once in a while, posing as various other government agents. It is said they’re a national menace, having conducted similar raids in other Indian towns.

    In the film, we see them only twice in action – in New Delhi and Calcutta. The third one in Bombay is where the film’s climax is set. The year is 1987, when Giani Zail Singh is India’s President in white turban. The Times of India is a black and white newspaper. The filmmakers take care of ‘80s Delhi, showing rows of Maruti 800s and Premier Padmini’s on the roads of Connaught Place. Calcutta possibly looks the same as it did three decades ago. Director Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday) casts his eyes well on getting the broad detailing right.

    Rotary, landline phone is the only mode of communication. The group’s modus operandi would be impossible now with cellphones around. It’s getting harder for them still, since the top CBI sleuth (Manoj Bajpayee, in a cracker-jack role) is on to their case. He has to catch these crooks red-handed. There is no other proof against them. It becomes a cat and mouse chase then, not very different from Steven Spielberg’s stunning Catch Me If You Can (2002). The plot moves at lightning speed – “cut to cut” as filmies would call it. If there are glatring holes in the plan, you won't have time to step back from the movie and think, which is a good thing.

    We know very little about the main character’s background, besides that they are ordinary men with remarkable self-belief. This trait is good enough to trick the world. Most of us are likely to fall prey to such shenanigans. And surely have in some form or the other. All I could hear at the film’s interval from fellow smokers were similar real life incidents that happened to them or took place across Bombay, from Chembur to Jhaveri Bazaar. No one quite brought up the great Indian con-man Mr Natwarlal. He could sell the monument Taj Mahal many times over (something that also inspired the film Bunty Aur Babli).

    There is no doubt this movie is based on a true story. It’s too crafty for a screenwriter’s invention. So are the folks before us on the screen. While you know the basic story, you’re always aware there could be a fine twist at the end. And that is a surprise. Besides that this super-smart movie stars Akshay Kumar.

  • +1 See more slides

    This is an Akshay Kumar film. Despite all the anticipation, it is easy at once to understand the apprehensions then. Only someone who has wasted a significant portion of their lifetime watching nonsensical gibberish starring the actor would know that even if the promo of a picture looks promising and the plot is thick, there is a baggage that the star may bring along, which could make everything redundant eventually.

    There is the Punjabi wedding early on in the movie with the customary bhangra and giddha and the song with words “mar jawa” and “soniye”. You cringe but keep your fingers crossed. The heroine (Kajal Aggrawal) eyes the hero. Her family is marrying her off to someone else. She knows the hero will take her away sooner than she hits the mandap. This under-explored romance has nothing to do with the picture per se. I am glad to report, it’s not where the film is headed either.

    This is a sensible movie. And it remains one almost entirely. The promos are obvious. They tell you all that there is to know before you step into the theatre. There is a group of con-men. Akshay plays the confident mastermind. Anupam Kher (wonderfully conflicted) is his old, nervous deputy. These are regular sort of blokes who pose as investigators from the CBI. They recruit the local police, get into vehicles that are earmarked for the “Government of India”, barge into the official residence of a minister in Lutyen’s Delhi, knock open every hole in the wall as thick wads of cash shower over their heads. They seal all the jewels and money into metal suitcases, pack them into their car’s trunk, and run off with the loot before the minister realises he’s been robbed in broad daylight.

    The politician has a reputation to protect. He doesn’t file a police complaint. He says his netagiri will seem questionable if the news spreads that four random people could wipe out his whole house while he sat there and watched. The reason for hushing up this fake raid is obviously a lot simpler. The stolen money is illegal. Two wrongs don’t make a right. How do you report robbery for something that you weren’t supposed to possess in the first place? The plan is cunningly smart. The execution is exhilarating. The team of con-men similarly regroup every once in a while, posing as various other government agents. It is said they’re a national menace, having conducted similar raids in other Indian towns.

    In the film, we see them only twice in action – in New Delhi and Calcutta. The third one in Bombay is where the film’s climax is set. The year is 1987, when Giani Zail Singh is India’s President in white turban. The Times of India is a black and white newspaper. The filmmakers take care of ‘80s Delhi, showing rows of Maruti 800s and Premier Padmini’s on the roads of Connaught Place. Calcutta possibly looks the same as it did three decades ago. Director Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday) casts his eyes well on getting the broad detailing right.

    Rotary, landline phone is the only mode of communication. The group’s modus operandi would be impossible now with cellphones around. It’s getting harder for them still, since the top CBI sleuth (Manoj Bajpayee, in a cracker-jack role) is on to their case. He has to catch these crooks red-handed. There is no other proof against them. It becomes a cat and mouse chase then, not very different from Steven Spielberg’s stunning Catch Me If You Can (2002). The plot moves at lightning speed – “cut to cut” as filmies would call it. If there are glatring holes in the plan, you won't have time to step back from the movie and think, which is a good thing.

    We know very little about the main character’s background, besides that they are ordinary men with remarkable self-belief. This trait is good enough to trick the world. Most of us are likely to fall prey to such shenanigans. And surely have in some form or the other. All I could hear at the film’s interval from fellow smokers were similar real life incidents that happened to them or took place across Bombay, from Chembur to Jhaveri Bazaar. No one quite brought up the great Indian con-man Mr Natwarlal. He could sell the monument Taj Mahal many times over (something that also inspired the film Bunty Aur Babli).

    There is no doubt this movie is based on a true story. It’s too crafty for a screenwriter’s invention. So are the folks before us on the screen. While you know the basic story, you’re always aware there could be a fine twist at the end. And that is a surprise. Besides that this super-smart movie stars Akshay Kumar.

Stories You May be Interested in

More From Reviews

Trending Now

Trending

Top