Ajay Singh (Akshay Kumar) and PK Sharma (Anupam Kher) along with their two aides (Rajesh Sharma and Kishore Kadam) excel in duping people as a CBI team that goes about conducting raids at some of the most infamous Politicians and Businessmen. They get away with all their money and valuables quite easily as their offence never get reported for it involves a lot of black money. Until they con an actual cop Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Sheirgill) to help them execute a big raid. Swearing revenge for the suspension that follows, Ranveer goes to the actual CBI officer Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) with all his findings to trace down these conmen. Whether the real CBI team catches the fake team before they execute their biggest scam - that of looting Bombay's most pretigious jewlery store or not follows through the rest of the plot.
Some films come with all the pomp and show, all the masala of a Bollywood potboiler and all the star power riding on them to make it to the top grossers of the year while some films just come with a cracker of a story and nothing else and still beat the others. Neeraj Pandey's Special Chabbis falls in the latter category.
His first film A Wednesday itself had established the fact the Neeraj Pandey isn't the no-meat-all-froth filmmaker. The director gets to business from the very first scene itself and knows how to keep you hooked to the screen. Sure, Special Chabbis, unlike his debut film, doesn't boast of social relevance and doesn't get all grim and stark about its content but it is as engaging as any commercial film that sees the light of the day.
The film borrows from the real life incident that happened in 1987 of a heist on the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri. However, it doesn't document the series of events. Instead it twists the plot and makes it into a smart and taut thriller. The wicked humour that Neeraj indulges in is laudable and yet again he reiterates that it's only script at the end of the day that rules the roost.
The filmmaker painstakingly recreates the times of 80s what with all the older wagons like Contessa, Matador Vans, Fiats, and Ambassadors to the clothes and styling of each and every actor. Even the high ochestrated background score is completely reminiscent of the '80s era. Neeraj goes an extra mile to even get a matt sketchy finish on the print of the film.
Where the film starts wavering is its pace, if only the script could be tighter. Also the romantic track of Akshay Kumar and Kajal Aggarwal is a complete hogwash pretty much like the romantic tracks that interrupt the proceedings.
If scripting is one pillar of the film then acting another! Akshay Kumar who has been immersing himself in larger than life or over the top characters for the past few years strikes hard with his restrained yet impactful performance of an astute conman Ajay Singh. Anupam Kher is a sheer delight to watch and leaves the mark of a veteran all over the film. How easily he switches between countless expressions is beyond belief.
Manoj Bajpayee deserves a special mention too for he essays a very meaty part with as much confidence as the lead actor of the film. Jimmy Sheirgill is impressive and so are Rajesh Sharma and Kishore Kadam.
Special Chabbis, in short, is an unpretentious intelligent cinema that has potential to make a lasting impact. A definite watch.