Special Ops Review: If I ever get a chance to takeover Neeraj Pandey’s mind, I will try to learn his trick to bring audience to the edge of the seat. Gifting Hotstar its first ever worth Original, Writer Neeraj Pandey, Director Shivam Nair and the man with a charming calibre Kay Kay Menon with their espionage thriller have left me thrilled and I am impressed.
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Vinay Pathak, Karan Tacker, Sayami Kher, Meher Vij, Muzamil Ibrahim, Sana Khan, Gautami Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Vipul Gupta and Sajjad Delafrooz.
Available on: Hotstar
What’s Special Ops About?
A R&AW agent Himmat Singh (Menon) is convinced by his theory that the 2001 Parliament attacks had a master mind who slipped from the radar. The agent is on a hunt for him since 19 years and the government one day decides to question him about his miscellaneous use of the government funds in his operation to look for Iklaqh Khan. Iklaqh, a man who for all other than Himmat and his team, doesn’t exist. What begins is Himmat’s back story, his journey, the hunt and a espionage thriller that might not be the best but is worth the time you invest.
Special Ops begins with a visual representation of the 2001 Parliament terrorist attacks that had shook the nation. It was this very first scene that sucked me right in. Everything there looks real due to the choreography that does not make it look caricaturish.
Kay Kay Menon as Himmat Singh is any other man you meet every morning sitting besides you in your commute. But he has a poised charm to him, secrets that he spills out only when needed and in proportion that he decides is right. Even the supporting parts including Karan, Sayami, Muzamil, Divya, Vipul and Meher are all normal people on a dangerous task but never behaving like aliens.
Following his streak if Espionage thrillers including The Wednesday, Baby, Naam Shabana, the filmmaker is in control of his craft just like his lead Himmat Singh is. You are told and showed only what is needed, nothing less or more.
Comparisons to Manoj Bajpayee’s The Family Man cannot be avoided, but for me Special Ops has its own space. This world though is high on set design and aesthetics, it’s real and understated when it comes to its characters. Even the bad guy Iklaqh Khan is given a chameleon trait. He isn’t the obvious one liner evil, rather he is one who could be chilling with you with a plan to destroy the world in the back of his mind. And well it is the same in the show, but no spoilers!
Special Ops gets a strong primary and secondary cast, who don’t make anything look dragged. A talented Kay Kay Menon who slides into every role is way ahead from my validation. The one to impress me the most other than him has to be Karan Tacker whom we have seen in TV serials till date. The actor gets a part that demands variation and the actor does it impressively.
Also while there are a few mentions of politicians that really exist, thank Special Ops fir not making look alike actors playing them making caricatures.
Vinay Pathak, Divya Dutta and actor Sajjad Delafrooz deserve special mentions as the three make themselves notice in an ensemble this big. Others including Sayami, Muzamil, Vipul, Meher get their characters right.
DOPs Sudhir Palsane and Arvind Singh create the suspense with their job in parts. While there is not much new, they are atleast not copying the recent Zero Dark Thirty pattern that DOPs these days try to with the genre.
The show never deviates from its plot. Yes there is a hint of romance between Himmat and his wife, or the broken relationship between Juhi and Avinash. But they are just layers, the show stays religious to its genre otherwise.
What Doesn’t Work?
Though Gautami Kapoor is a fine actress and Kota Factory fame Revathi Pilkai supports her nicely, their part seemed to be unnecessary. It feels like they are just a layer to Himmat Singh and not a bit more than that.
The timeline in the first 3 episodes gets a bit confusing. Maybe this might be a problem just with me.
Now this point might not have us on the same note, but out of the two climax points that the series has, the second one wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Something different might have matched the first.
Special Ops Review: Last Words:
Watch this Neeraj Pandey’s show for the love of the genre. It is thrilling, exciting, and intriguing all at the same time. Pro tip: Special Ops doesn’t have anyone jumping out and narrating a patriotic monologue, isn’t that a good news? Also, it’s the quarantine period, this will have you fruitfully occupied for 7 hours. WATCH IT!
Special Ops Review: Star Rating: 4 Stars!