Special Ops Review5 min read

If Hotstar continues to deliver shows like Special Ops, it will soon become as successful as Netflix and Amazon. 

It’s not that we haven’t seen anything like Special Ops before. The Family Man was another great show based on intelligence, again with reference to real-life events and incidents. But as they say that there is no untold story, but it is still not told by you. So, the writers and directors should always ignore the fact that a similar story has been already told because it was told by someone else, not by them. 

What works for Special Ops? Its gripping direction. There is not a single dull moment or scene which makes you pick your phone to check the messages. The entire series, from the beginning to the end, is effective and powerful. 

What is its beauty? Most of the series based on intelligence and terrorism are not for the weak-hearted, including me. But that’s not the case with Special Ops. They have maintained a beautiful balance between subtlety and brutality. Some scenes show how brutal this particular terrorist is, but still there is no scene which you would want to skip or not want the old or the younger lot in the family to not see. In two scenes, I closed my eyes fearing the worst but it was all bearable.

Since I have already mentioned that direction is what makes Special Ops a good watch, I cannot afford to not mention Neeraj Pandey here. Before I started watching the series, I did not know it was directed by the Director of one of my favorite movies. There was one scene where a terrace is shown and it reminded me of A Wednesday so I Googled Special Ops and TA-DA! Special Ops was made by the man himself, director of A Wednesday and more such wonderful movies, few of which are Special 26, Mera Naam Shabana, and Baby. If you have loved these movies, you should definitely binge watch this series on Hotstar. 

The series has not been directed by Neeraj Pandey alone. It is co-directed by Shivam Nair. But if you have seen Neeraj Pandey’s work before, you can easily feel his invisible presence in the web series.

Other than Direction, I would also like to applaud the writing of Special Ops. Neeraj Pandey again is a part of the writing team as well. I guess this is why it is well-made. When the writer directs his work, the story-telling becomes more powerful. Along with Neeraj Pandey, the writers team includes Deepak Kingrani and Benazir Ali Fida. I always envy the writers who simplify such complex stories. I wonder how they manage to start in the North and then beautifully travel to the East, then South, West, and then finally come back to the North, joining the dots beautifully to complete the map, without getting lost in the way. That’s a God’s gift to only a few writers. What a fab job they do. This is exactly why I had loved Made In Heaven as well – beautifully written and well-connected stories!

Last but not the least, the performances. Kay Kay Menon is everyone’s hukkum ka ekka. When he is around, I don’t think the Directors ever have to worry about the performance. They can simply hand over the script to him, turn on the camera, and leave it all to him. The end result would still be incredible, outstanding, exceptional, and extraordinary. 

Then we have Vinay Pathak, another actor who can be blindly trusted upon. Excellent performance, as always. Karan Tacker, as Farooq Ali was fantastic. To be very honest, I did not expect such a wonderful performance from him. Reason? He is a TV actor. But his performance in Special Ops has convinced me that on TV, maybe, just maybe, there are no bad actors, only bad directors? Oh wait! There is Hina Khan out there. She is as bad on Digital as she was on TV. So, great job by Karan Tacker, as well. He has managed to make an impact even when there are actors like Vinay Pathak and Kay Kay Menon around.

All in all, the performances were great which was like a cherry on the cake. I won’t talk about the story because the stories based on intelligence revolve around the same plot. The fun is in watching it. If I reveal even a small part of it, I might just take away the fun of you unveiling the story yourself.

Having said that, I would like to mention two things here. One is the detailing I loved the most and second is the scene I adored.

Scenes with the detailing: What makes a film, a book, or a series remarkable? It’s detailing. Whenever you watch Special Ops, simply observe the man who sits with the camera to record the interrogation. Even when the camera is on the investigators, watch him whenever he is in the frame, even when a little blur. Such detailing is what makes a story stand-out from the rest.

Then comes the scene I loved the most, the scene between Himmat Singh (Kay Kay Menon) and his wife Saroj (Gautami Kapoor). When Himmat tracks Hafiz Ali and comes back home, his wife, just by his expression, understands that the ‘mission is accomplished.’ All their scenes were beautiful, no second thought about it but this particular scene is #RelationshipGoals.

In short, Special Ops is worth your time. From agents’ personal lives to the challenges in their professional lives, the risks they put themselves into to the price they pay for the work they do, from the bonds they share with their loved ones to the constant fear the agents and their families live in – everything has been well captured and portrayed in this intelligent tale about intelligence, Special Ops.

A special mention to Sajjad Delafrooz, the man who played Hafiz Ali in the series. Such a good looking man. He did not age a bit in the 19-year hunt story but I am not complaining.

Where to Watch? Hotstar VIP

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