Special OPS review: A Thrillingly Instigating Drama

Review of Hotstar Specials SPECIAL OPS web series is here. Streaming on Hotstar from today worldwide.

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Review of Hotstar Specials SPECIAL OPS web series is here. Streaming on Hotstar from today worldwide.

The eighth episodes Indian espionage thriller series is created by Neeraj Pandey starring Kay Kay Menon in the lead.

Does the web series pushes the adrenaline rush to the expected level?. Let’s find out in the review of SPECIAL OPS.

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Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
Neeraj Pandey’s SPECIAL OPS on Hotstar specials is the digital child born from the love from BABY, NAAM SHABANA, FAMILY MAN and is thrilling old school spy action drama with an instigating twist.

The Story of SPECIAL OPS
Senior RAW agent Himmat Singh (Kay Kay Menon) is facing an enquiry for the alleged misuse of funds for his undercover operations.

The enquiring officers played by Parmeet Sethi and Kali Prasad Mukherjee trace the enquiry from the 2001 parliament attacks in Delhi to present.

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During the inquiry Himmat Singh spills some beans on the mystery behind ‘Ikhlaq Khan’ and his undercover team – that consists of Karan Tacker as Farooq Ali, Vipul Gupta as Bala, Muzammil Ibrahim as Avinash, Saiyami Kher as Juhi and Meher Vij as Ruhani.

What happens during the inquiry in India and to the team of Himmat round the world and where does the hunt for Ikhlaq Khan lead the viewers forms the crux of this web series.

SPECIAL OPS
Creator Neeraj Pandey’s SPECIAL OPS is a tribute to the old school cat and mouse spy action thrillers and there is a good rare degree of period authenticity that makes the difference. SPECIAL OPS may be the digital continuation of BABY, NAAM SHABANA with Himmat Singh finding some very vague similarities with Srikant from FAMILY MAN but it cannot be denied that this old school crowd pleasing espionage thriller has enough merits on its own to claim ‘originality’ in the web series genre for Hotstar Specials.

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Both Neeraj Pandey and Shivam Nair (a close source claims that both have distributed their duties as directors the way Kashyap and Motwane did in SACRED GAMES) ensure that the viewer is engaged and the interest level is maintained till the final kill.

The writes Deepak Kingrani, Benazir Ali Fida and Neeraj Pandey adapt the tested and trusted approach that works. Beginning with a bang by adopting the to and fro approach – past and present – Parliament attack and the enquiry juxtaposing with the undercover agents around the globe, SPECIAL OPS gets the pulse of the audience right from the word go.

However, the web series is threatened by dangerous subplots and unnecessary inclusions like Himmat Singh’s family issues that is just a diversion. Even if Himmat’s relation with his wife Saroj ( Gautami Kapoor) is not a threat and a moment of calm in the ongoing tension at some times, the equation of Himmat with his daughter Pari (Revati Pillai) fails to work. May be on paper it promised to add nuances to the plight Himmat Singh is going through. The ‘trust’ factor where Himmat who is facing an enquiry on the work front, is spying his daughter Pari. The idea was good but it’s not properly established.

Apart from this hindrance from the ‘home’ front, SPECIAL OPS lacks a solid back story and establishment of the agents of Himmat Singh.

The fiction derived from the facts missies the mention of Masood Azhar and Afzal Guru which may turned into a drawback for those who search for more realisms.

Kay Kay Menon rules and he is exceptional throughout. That mysterious movement of eyes which can be easily seen through those glasses explains the quality of his acting and he is just brilliant.

The agents lend solid support where Karan Tacker as Farooq Ali gets the maximum scope and he impresses. Vipul Gupta as Bala has his moments. Muzammil Ibrahim as Avinash is fine. Saiyami Kher as Juhi leaves her mark in whatever footage she gets ditto for Meher Vij as Ruhani, Divya Dutta as Sadia and Pakki Gupta as Farah. Sana Khan adds the glamour quotient and is fine.

Other note worthy performance comes from Gautami Kapoor, Parmeet Sethi, Kali Prasad Mukherjee and Revati Pillai.

And the actors who deserve special mention include Vinay Pathak as the ATS officer, Karan Asar as Himmat’s assistant, Sajjad Delafrooz as Hafiz Ali, Rajat Kaul as Ismail and Alok Pandey as Pappu auto driver and Sharad Kelkar as Intelligence officer Surya Kumar.

Technically sound, the background could have been better while the action by Abbas Mogul is realistic. Camerawork by Sudheer Palsane, ISC and Arvind Singh especially in the foreign locales catches your eye.

Final words
Neeraj Pandey’s SPECIAL OPS on Hotstar specials starring Kay Kay Menon in lead is the espionage thriller that respects the old school cat and mouse format.  Purely designed for masses, SPECIAL OP is an engaging thrilling drama that comes with an interestingly instigating twist. A ‘safe’ journey on screen looking at the ongoing dangers of Coronavirus (COVID – 19).

(Please note : This is the review of the Hindi version of SPECIAL OPS. The series is streaming on Hotstar from today – 17 March 2020 in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, and Kannada.)

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