Real-life jewellery heist inspires Bollywood thriller 'Special 26'

MUMBAI Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:01pm IST

A handout still from the film ''Special 26''. REUTERS/Handout

A handout still from the film ''Special 26''.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A daring heist on a jewellery showroom in Mumbai 25 years ago by men posing as law enforcement officers has inspired a new Bollywood thriller.

"Special 26", a two-hour film starring Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpai, is based on the Opera House heist in 1987 when men posing as Central Bureau of Investigation officers on a raid walked away with jewellery worth millions of rupees.

"It is inspired from that incident and bits of it are from other stories I read in the papers," director Neeraj Pandey told Reuters. "Strung together, they were the perfect backdrop for the film."

Pandey said the film was mostly fiction because there wasn't too much research available.

"The men who carried out the heist were never caught, so we imagined a large part of it in our head," he said.

In the film, Kumar plays the leader of a 26-member gang, who pretend to be law enforcement officials and conduct fake income tax raids.

Pandey says that films like "Special 26" do not glorify crime or make heroes out of criminals.

"The person was never caught and all this is on record. How can I glorify him? I am just stating facts," he said. "The film is unapologetic in its tone".

"Special 26" opens in cinemas on February 8.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Tony Tharakan)

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