The film begins with a CBI raid at a minister's home. As the wife screeches and screams, pinned down by a female cop (Divya Dutta), the CBI team finds stacks of cash inside car seats, false ceilings, and the mandir. Nothing is sacrosanct.
When the minister offers the CBI officers a bribe (he shows two fingers signalling the amount offered), he gets two slaps in return.
The Senior Inspector (Jimmy Shergill) is impressed. It was only some time ago that he had got a call from the CBI asking for police assistance with the raid.
The film is based on reports of fake CBI raids that were conducted all over the country in the '80s. It was a win-win game for the fraudsters. Their crime would never get reported because of their careful selection of the victims - high-profile and image conscious, they'd rather forgo their "hard-earned" money rather than risk it being reported.
The plot thickens when the foursome (Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma, Kishor Kadam) hires a team - Special 26 - to carry out a huge raid. Will the determined 'real CBI' (Manoj Bajpayee) nail them this time?
The film is cunning in the way it creates sympathy for the protagonists. For one, since they're robbing from the robbers (I doubt anyone has sympathy for the corrupt politician), we don't consider them hardcore criminals.
Second, outside of their con-games, all four are really likeable. Akshay is the good friend-in-need who is in love with his pretty neighbour. Anupam is the nervous father of several children with another on the way. The third character is dominated by his loud wife, while the fourth is just as innocuous.
In their interactions with each other and the world, they don't display a shred of aggression or criminal behaviour. It's only natural that the audience roots for them.
Akshay and Anupam are fabulous as the adorable rogues, but Manoj is the absolute scene-stealer! Rajesh (who was fab in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana) and veteran Marathi actor Kishor tragically don't get enough screen-time.
Writer-director Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday) makes a taut, suspenseful thriller weaving in intermittent humour. One of the best examples would be the scene where the fraud CBI storms into an office, shocked to see the real CBI already conducting a raid. Audaciously, they 'use' the real folks to carry out their robbery!
Watch the film for the arresting story served up in a fun, frothy style. Recommended!
Rating: 3.5 stars