Special 26

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Special 26
The poster features faces of all top-billed actors. The film title appears at bottom-left.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNeeraj Pandey
Written byNeeraj Pandey
Based on1987 Opera House heist
Produced by
StarringAkshay Kumar
Manoj Bajpayee
Kajal Aggarwal
Jimmy Sheirgill
Anupam Kher
CinematographyBobby Singh
Edited byShree Narayan Singh
Music byOriginal Songs:
M. M. Kreem
Guest Composer:
Himesh Reshammiya
Background Score:
Surinder Sodhi
Distributed byViacom 18 Motion Pictures
Release date
  • 8 February 2013 (2013-02-08)
Running time
144 minutes[1]
Box office₹103 crore[2]

Special 26 is an Indian Hindi-language 2013 period heist thriller film written and directed by Neeraj Pandey. Based on the 1987 Opera House heist, the plot follows a group posing as CBI officers to execute an income tax raid in Mumbai. The film stars Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Sheirgill, Anupam Kher and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles alongside Rajesh Sharma, Divya Dutta and Kishor Kadam.

Special 26 was released on 8 February 2013 to widespread acclaim and commercial success, grossing 103 crore worldwide. In 2018, it was partially remade in Tamil as Thaanaa Serndha Koottam starring Suriya in Kumar's role.


The story of the film opens on 18 March 1987, where a walk-in CBI interview is taking place, held by Ajay "Ajju" Singh (Akshay Kumar) and Pramod Kumar "P. K." Sharma (Anupam Kher). The film then goes into flashback.

Ajay calls a local police station to obtain more manpower for a CBI raid. He speaks to SI Ranveer Singh (Jimmy Sheirgill) who agrees to send the required number of support officers. Ajay, with accomplices P. K. Sharma, Joginder Khurana (Rajesh Sharma) and Iqbal Ali (Kishor Kadam), meet the supporting officers and conduct the raid.

Following the successful raid at a minister's house, it's revealed that Ajay and P. K. are fake CBI officers, along with their two accomplices. They then move to different parts of the country where they belong to and merge into their everyday lifestyles. Ajay's love interest, Priya Chauhan (Kajal Aggarwal), an about-to-be-married teacher, is introduced here. The crew meets again in Chandigarh at the behest of P. K. for his daughter's wedding.

Ranveer with his senior officer meet the minister of the earlier raid, who reveals that he doesn't want the news to appear in the public domain because he wants to protect his image. The senior officer suspends Ranveer with his colleague Shanti (Divya Dutta) for being irresponsible.

Waseem Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), an honest CBI officer lives with his wife (Neetu Singh) and child in New Delhi. A disgraced Ranveer meets Khan, and they join hands to apprehend Ajay and his accomplices.

Meanwhile, the next raid planned by Ajay is conducted on a traders' business in Calcutta posing as officers from the Income Tax Department. Following the more difficult but successful raid, Khan insists that this should be reported in the newspaper, despite nobody coming forward to report it themselves, as black money is involved. Upon seeing this in the newspaper, Ajay and P. K. decide to conduct their "big job," a final raid in Bombay. Meanwhile, Ranveer finds information about P. K. and Khan orders wire-tapping his phone. When P. K. is talking to Ajju on the phone, Khan procures several details about them. Under Khan's orders, officers track the crew to Bombay to a hotel where they're staying. They plan to raid and hence rob a big jewellery store.

Ajay, followed by a CBI officer, goes to a newspaper to advertise for "50 dynamic graduates" with details of an interview. Khan embeds his officers among the candidates and they are selected. Khan finds out the details of the training process, which includes a mock raid. It is stated that, on the day, the candidates will be trained and then led out for the mock raid in the afternoon.

To find out more, Khan and Ranveer go to the hotel and force their way into Sharma's room. He divulges the information about the raid, following a threat of violence. He also mentions that Ajay is taking revenge on the CBI for not appointing him. Khan orders Sharma to ensure everything proceeds as normal.

On the day of the raid, Khan takes charge of the jewellery store and replaces the goods with fake jewellery, with the originals being moved to the jewellery store's own workshop. Ajay informs the recruits that he will come in a different vehicle to them. P. K. leaves with the recruits in a bus, but leaves the bus at police headquarters, saying that he will arrive with Ajay. He also states that nobody should leave the bus until they arrive and that he is going to verify the paperwork for the raid at the Police HQ. In reality, he goes to meet Ranveer and Shanti. With Ajay, a raid of the workshop is carried out. Ajay then goes and meets Priya, who is ready for departure at the airport.

Meanwhile, at the jewellery store, Khan is informed that the raid was conducted at the workshop and all jewellery in the workshop along with the jewellery that was moved were stolen. Khan works it all out for himself, realizing that Ranveer was part of the gang and he wasn't a real police officer and they were set up right from the beginning. Khan starts laughing loudly and applauds the entire robbery plan and execution. Later, Khan receives a money order for Rs. 100 that Ajay had taken from him with the message that he could not steal the honest earnings of an officer. The film ends with Khan being told over the phone that the CBI has information about the perpetrators. At the same time, Ajay and P. K. are seen enjoying a cricket match happily at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium.


Kajal Aggarwal with her co-star Akshay Kumar during the promotions of their film in 2013



The film takes its foundations from the robbery of 19 March 1987, when 26 people posing as CBI officials raided a jewellery store in Opera House, Bombay.

Manoj Bajpai was signed to play the CBI officer,[3] and Anupam Kher plays a vital role.[4] Kajal Aggarwal plays a specially-written role of Ajay Singh's love interest.[5]

Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan were reported to have been considered for the lead role. It went to Akshay Kumar as he was Pandey's first choice.[6] Kajal Aggarwal is playing the role of a school teacher.[7][8] Akshay Kumar slashed his fee by half for Special Chabbis.[9][10]


Shooting began on 23 February 2012 in Delhi. The first schedule of the film was shot in Chandni Chowk, following which the unit moved to Jama Masjid.[11]


Special 26
Soundtrack album by
Released9 January 2013 (2013-01-09)
VenueHyderabad, Mumbai
StudioPrasad Film Laboratories,
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerFriday Filmworks
M. M. Kreem chronology
Shirdi Sai
Special 26
Himesh Reshammiya chronology
Khiladi 786
Special 26
Shortcut Romeo

The soundtrack album of Special 26 was composed by noted South Indian film composer M. M. Keeravani credited as M. M. Kreem. Himesh Reshammiya, was roped in as the guest composer for the song "Gore Mukhde Pe Zulfen" which was written by Shabbir Ahmed, and the rest of them were penned by Irshad Kamil. All the songs were recorded at Prasad Film Laboratories in Hyderabad, and Silver Harmony in Mumbai. The music rights were acquired by T-Series and the album was released on 9 January 2013, at a promotional event held in PVR, Mumbai.[12] The background score of the film is composed by Surinder Sodhi.

All music is composed by M. M. Kreem and lyrics were written by Irshad Kamil, except the track "Gore Mukhde Pe Zulfen" was composed by Himesh Reshammiya as guest composer, and lyrics written by Shabbir Ahmed.

Track listing
1."Tujh Sang Lagee"KK, M. M. Kreem4:13
2."Gore Mukhde Pe Zulfen"Aman Trikha, Shreya Ghoshal, Shabab Sabri4:06
3."Kaun Mera Kya" (Female)Chaitra Ambadipudi2:57
4."Mujh Mein Tu Hi Basa" (Version 1)Keerthi Sagathia4:24
5."Kaun Mera Kya" (Male)Papon2:54
6."Dhar Pakad"Bappi Lahiri2:22
7."Kaun Mera Kya" (Film Version)Sunidhi Chauhan2:32
8."Mujh Mein Tu Hi Basa" (Version 2)M. M. Kreem3:20
9."Mujh Mein Tu Hi Basa" (Film Version)Akshay Kumar3:13
Total length:25:28

Marketing and release[edit]

Special Chabbis released on for around 120 million (US$1.5 million).[13][14] The producers have 500 million (US$6.3 million) investment on Special Chabbis, as the film has fetched around 350 million (US$4.4 million) from sale of the territory rights across India.[15][16] Special 26 was made on a budget of around 300 million (US$3.8 million), with a publicity and advertising budget of around 120 million (US$1.5 million).[17]

Since the film is set in late-1980s, the title was designed to resemble the type-face of newspapers back then

The theatrical trailer was released online on 20 December 2012.[18] The first promos of Nautanki Saala and Chashme Baddoor were attached to Special 26.[19] The movie was distributed all over India by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Wide Frame Pictures. Akshay Kumar, with the rest of the cast of Special Chabbis, were scheduled to visit the crime spot of the incident that inspired the film.[20][21] A special screening was held for CBI officials on 5 February 2013.[22]


Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Bollywood Hungama[23]
Hindustan Times[25]
The Times of India[28]
Zee News[29]
Planet Bollywood[30]

Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the score of 4 out of 5, and said "Special Chabbis is an intelligently woven, slick and smart period thriller with its subject matter as its USP. It's sure to get listed as one of the most gripping heist dramas based on real life occurrences."[23]

Anupama Chopra, writing for Hindustan Times, gave 3.5 stars out of 5, calling it one of the best films of the year and praising its attention to detail, its character building, the plot's steady but sure sense of immediacy and urgency, and the elaborate cat-and-mouse chase between the conmen and the police. She criticises the unnecessary addition of the love angle in an otherwise gripping script, along with the unconvincing nature of its climax.[25]

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave it 4 out of 5 stars, and wrote, "Special 26 is an intelligently scripted, superbly acted, enthralling and believable heist film that is more than just that."[26]

Kaushik Ramesh of Planet Bollywood gave the film 8 out of 10 and summarised, "The unfolding of each scene brings with it certain unforeseeable surprises, course changing and effective. The adrenalizing screenplay makes you spontaneously acknowledge the genius in the director Neeraj Pandey who clearly emerges as the hero to watch out for."[30]

Resham Sengar of Zee News rated the film 4 out of 5, stating, "Very rarely would you come across a logically scripted and intelligently-directed drama thriller churned out from the good ol' Hindi cine factory these days. And here's a promising Neeraj Pandey for you who is back with a bang (and bang on target) with another awe inspiring film Special 26."[29]

Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave 3.5 out of 5, saying "Special Chabbis works on account of its meaty, realistic plot and nicely fleshed out characters. This is solid, assured filmmaking, evident in the meticulous detailing of its 80s production design. The film charms you with its subtle humor, through characters played by Jimmy Shergill and Divya Dutta."[24]

Madhureeta Mukherjee of The Times of India gave the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars, while adding, "Special 26 doesn't stun you with a social message like Pandey's 'A Wednesday!', but it grips, excites and ahh...climaxes too! And no ... you can't fake this one! Catch it for pure cinematic orgasm."[28]

Sukanya Verma for Rediff.com gave 3.5 stars out of 5 and said, "Special Chabbis is one of the finest films of the year so far."[27]

Newstrackindia stated that Special 26 is a no-nonsense film from Akshay.[31]

Box office[edit]


Special 26 opened at 30% occupancy on Thursday morning but it improved steadily till the evening shows to 60% due to positive reviews.[32] The film netted 5.75 crore (US$720,000) on its first day[33] and further grow to make 23.1 crore (US$2.9 million) in its first weekend.[34] The film collected around 3.75 crore (US$470,000) nett on Monday.[35] It netted around 38.7 crore (US$4.8 million) in its first week.[36] In its second weekend it has a collection of around 1.99 crore (US$250,000) to bring its ten-day figure to around 48 crore (US$6.0 million) nett.[37] In its second week, the film netted 17.99 crore (US$2.3 million) taking its total business to nearly 56.7 crore (US$7.1 million) in India.[38] It eventually netted around 65.7 crore (US$8.2 million) with a distributor share of 31.8 crore (US$4.0 million) in domestic market.[39][40]

The worldwide gross of Special 26 stands at 129 crore (US$16 million).[2]


Special 26 had low opening overseas with a collection of $1.25 million its first weekend.[41] It further netted around $2.35 million in ten days.[42] Its final overseas collections was US$2.75 million.[43]


Special 26 was remade in Tamil titled Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (2018) starring Suriya and Keerthy Suresh in lead roles, and was directed by Vignesh Shivan. The film was released on 12 January 2018.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Special 26 (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Special 26". Box Office India. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ Subhash K Jha. "Manoj Bajpai to play CBI agent in Special Chhabees". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Anupam Kher excited for Neeraj Pandey's next". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 December 2011.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Singham actress Kajal Aggarwal signs her next film". Rediff. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Ajay Devgn roped in for Neeraj Pandey's Special Chabbis". Zee News.
  7. ^ TNN (4 January 2013). "Kajal Aggarwal to play a school teacher". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Special Chabbis: Kajal Aggarwal is in awe of Akshay Kumar- Bollywood- IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 4 January 2013. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Akshay Kumar slashes fee by half for Special Chabbis | NDTV Movies.com". Movies.ndtv.com. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  10. ^ Rebello, Runcil. "Why Akshay Kumar Slashed His Fee By 50% For 'Special Chabbis'". Businessofcinema.com. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Akshay Kumar shoots for Special Chabbis in Delhi". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Special 26 details". Bollywoodhungama.
  13. ^ "Special 26 First Day Business". Box Office India. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  14. ^ "Special 26 Opening Day Box Office Collections". koimoi. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Boxofficeindia.com". Box Office India. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  16. ^ "SPECIAL 26 review | Komal Nahta's Blog". Komalsreviews.wordpress.com. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Initial reports on Special 26 and ABCD positive". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Special Chabbis Official Trailer" – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "First Look of Nautanki Saala with Special 26". Bollywoodhungama. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  20. ^ "Akshay Kumar to visit 'Special Chabbis' crime spot in Mumbai". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  21. ^ "Akshay Kumar to visit Special Chabbis crime spot". ndtv. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  22. ^ "CBI wants to review Akshay Kumar's Special Chabbis". ndtv. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  23. ^ a b Taran Adarsh (7 February 2013). "Special Chabbis – Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  24. ^ a b Review, Special 26. "Rejeev Masand Review". Rajeev Masand. CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 11 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  25. ^ a b Chopra, Anupama. "Special 26 review". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  26. ^ a b Saibal Chatterjee (7 February 2013). "Special 26 Review (NDTV)". movies.ndtv.com. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  27. ^ a b Sukanya Verma. "rediff Review: Special Chabbis is an exciting con caper". Rediff.com. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  28. ^ a b Madhureeta Mukherjee (7 February 2013). "Special 26 – Movie Review". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  29. ^ a b Sengar, Resham. "Special 26 Review". Resham Sengar. Zee News. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  30. ^ a b Ramesh, Kaushik. "Special 26 Review by Kaushik Ramesh". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  31. ^ "Special Chabbis Review: Finally a no nonsense film from Akshay". Newstrackindia.com. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  32. ^ "First Day Occupancy". Box Office India. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  33. ^ "Special 26 First Day Territorial Breakdown". Box Office India. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  34. ^ "Special 26 First Weekend Territorial Breakdown". Box Office India. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  35. ^ "Special 26 Has Decent Collections on Monday". Box Office India. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  36. ^ "Special 26 Week One Territorial Breakdown". Box Office India. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  37. ^ "Special 26 Grosses 48 Crore in Ten Days". Box Office India. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  38. ^ "Special 26 Week Two Territorial Breakdown". Box Office India. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  39. ^ "Special 26 v Khiladi 786: All India Comparison". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  40. ^ "Boxofficeindia.com". Box Office India. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  41. ^ "Special 26 – $1.25 Million ABCD – $425k". Box Office India. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  42. ^ "Murder 3 Dull Special 26 Heads For $3 million". Box Office India. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  43. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]