SUPERSTAR Akshay Kumar turns Jewel Thief in his first new year movie Special Chabbis It is a move away from the familiar roles Akshay has been seen in during recent years.

"He portrays a villainous and cunning thief who leads a pack of 26 hardened criminals in a daring jewellery heist, which sent shockwaves across India. Akshay’s character Mon Singh is said to be based upon real-life, notorious conman Natwarlal, who sold the Taj Mahal in a series of daring scams, before he was stopped.

"Special Chabbis is believed to be based on the events of the infamous Mumbai daylight raid of March 19, 1987 in which an unknown conman posed as CBI officer Mon Singh to recruit a band of 26 impostor income tax officials to carry out an audacious robbery on the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in Mumbai, disappearing with precious jewellery.

Director Neeraj is best known for his thought-provoking films, such as the critically acclaimed A-Wednesday, for which he won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Time Director, and the gritty thriller Ek Chalis Ki Last Local. He said, "We were clear he'd be the best choice.

“So breaking the kind of image Akshay has, as an actor, was the trigger. I'm doing ‘mind action’ — something I've never done before.

“The film shows how this guy's mind worked. Akshay's got an ability to listen, which is a rarity.

“Here, people are talking all the time.

“He has an immense sense of discipline.

“Working with him is special." Special Chabbis boasts a strong supporting cast, which includes Manoj Bajpai (Gangs of Wasseypur, Satya, Veer Zaara) Jimmy Shergill (My Name Is Khan), Anupam Kher (The Silver Lining Playbook, Bend It Like Beckham) and relative newcomer to Hindi cinema and the only female protagonist in the film Kajal Aggarwal (Singham). Special Chabbis will release on 8th February 2013 through Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.