Special OPS

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Special Ops
Special OPS Poster.jpeg
Promotional poster
Created by
Written by
  • Neeraj Pandey
  • Deepak Kingrani
  • Benazir Ali Fida[1]
Directed by
ComposerAdvait Nemlekar
Country of originIndia
Original languageHindi
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
ProducerShital Bhatia
Production locations
  • Sudheer Palsane
  • Arvind Singh
EditorPraveen Kathikuloth
Running time44-55 min
Production companyFriday Storytellers
DistributorStar India
Original networkDisney+ Hotstar
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Original release17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Related showsSpecial Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story

Special Ops is an Indian Hindi-language action espionage thriller web series for Hotstar Specials created and directed by Neeraj Pandey, with Shivam Nair serving the credits for co-direction. Pandey also produced the series under his Friday Storytellers, a division of his production house, for providing content to the digital medium.[2][3] It stars Kay Kay Menon as Himmat Singh, a member of Research and Analysis Wing, forms a team of five agents, in order to track down a person, who is the mastermind of the terror attacks which took place in India.

Neeraj Pandey eventually conceptualised the idea of the script in late 2010, with the series eventually scheduled to be aired on Star Plus, which however did not materialise. He later revived the project in August 2019. Shooting of the series took place in India, and some scenes were filmed in Turkey, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan. The cinematography and editing were handled by Sudheer Palsane, Arvind Singh and Praveen Kathikuloth, whereas Advait Nemlekar composed the background score.

Special OPS was released through Hotstar on 17 March 2020.[4] The series received positive response from critics, praising the performances of the cast members, storyline, direction and technical aspects. It also received eight nominations at the inaugural Filmfare OTT Awards, winning three of them.[5] Pandey had converted the series into a franchise, with the second instalment Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story released on 12 November 2021.[6]


The series follows Himmat Singh (Menon) of the Research and Analysis Wing who finds similar patterns in terrorist attacks and is convinced a single person is behind all the attacks. His task force team of five agents living in various parts of the world aim to catch the mastermind.[7]



The episode were titled, as a tribute, after various Bollywood films by series creator Neeraj Pandey who served as an episode director on an alternating pattern with co-director Shivam Nair.[12] The films referenced include Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Guide (1965), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Qurbani (1980), Shatranj ke Khiladi (1977) and Sholay (1975).[12]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Kaagaz Ke Phool"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
In 2001, five terrorists in a dilapidated house attack the Parliament of India and die during the attack. In the present day, Himmat Singh (Kay Kay Menon) attends the RAW audit meeting to explain "miscellaneous" expenses of 28 crores incurred in the last 11 years, on the Middle-East desk. He explains that he had planted agents in five countries and those funds were utilized for their needs but he refuses to reveal their identities. Later his superiors ask him about his theory on 2001 Parliament attack in which he was a part of the investigations. Himmat finds the shop name in the dry fruits packets the terrorists were carrying and asks Abbas (Vinay Pathak) to investigate, from which he finds out that the sixth guy who bought the dry fruits was living near a mosque. Himmat and Abbas reach to the place and start searching, they notice smoke coming out of the window as the sixth guy burns all his things and escapes. As they reach the house Himmat finds his Pakistani passport which was half burnt with no details. Farooq (Karan) calls Himmat and informs that he found Ikhlaq Khan in UAE.
2"Guide"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Farooq suspects about Ikhlaq khan and informs Himmat. And spents time with Soniya. Flashback shows that in 2004, Himmat meets Farooq who then was a student. Back in present in the investigation Himmat told he got an intel about 26/11 terror attack and sent to investigate kasab. There he believed that Ikhlaq khan is connected with that terror attack too. With the help of his team he operates "Operation Smiley" with Farooq leads the charge, they captured Ikhlaq khan's right-hand man Wasim Karachiwala from Dubai.
3"Mughal-E-Azam"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Telecom Minister, Sujata Thapar appoints Abbas to keep an eye on Himmat. At investigation Himmat reveals that in 2008 upon killing Wasim Karachiwala Farooq decides to stay back in UAE. In 2012 he got to Illiyas Hassan, who was the driver of Wasim. From him he learnt about Ismail Hassan a business tycoon, who invests Hafiz Ali's money in market to fund terrorist organisations. Farooq as Amjad tries to get closer to Ismail. Hafiz executes Ismail's younger brother Abu. Meanwhile Himmat is ambushed while returning from the inquiry.
4"Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Himmat survived the attack with minor injuries. Four assets and four tasks. Himmat's team is challenged to test their mettle and see if they are ready for the storm coming their way. Hafiz got a tip about Himmat. Farooq getting closer to Hafiz. Himmat causes a bomb blast in Rawalpindi and blames Jamaat to freeze their funds and assets.
5"Chaudvin Ka Chand"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
During the Heated Argument for the funds of Operation Himmat brings the name of Telecom Minister for a 250cr. scam. Himmat hints a possible bomb blast in Delhi.Farooq's long wait comes to an end and he's face-to-face with Hafiz. Saroj informs Abbas that Himmat's life is in danger. Abbas learns that Telecom Minister is behind the attack on Himmat and warns her. Farooq poses as Rashid in front of Hafiz and agrees to help him on his deal. Farooq senses Ikhlaq khan will be on the deal so, Baku is added to the Special Ops map and new players are revealed. A woman in delhi is shown with a suicide bomber jacket as Himmat hints a possible bomb blast.
6"Qurbani"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Hafiz, Ismail, Farooq reaches the oil fields. Himmat's team reaches Baku, assisted by Kemaal devised a strategy to eliminate Ikhlaq khan. Avinash and Juhi sets out to complete the task but, Ikhlaq does not comes out of the car, signs the deal and leaves. Himmat had no choice to abbot the mission. Himmat decides abduct Hafiz and orders his team the same. Due to absence in the inquiry, Himmat's funds are frozen by Chaddha and Banerjee. Meanwhile in the wedding the team attempts to abduct Hafiz. But, the attempt foiled as Hafiz kills Bala.
7"Shatranj Ke Khiladi"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Bala is killed and due to suspicion the rest of the team forced to leave to their locations. Abbas finds an link about Ikhlaq khan captures the person and informs Himmat. Hafiz smells a mole and suspects Farooq. It was revealed that Jamaat is planning the bomb blast in Delhi. Farooq finds a pawn to survive another day. Himmat meets special IB officer Surya kumar. He was incharge of delegation of defence minister from Islamabad. Himmat shares his bomb blast hint about Surya. Surya agrees to help Himmat. Farooq requests Himmat to take one more shot at Hafiz as he leaves for Islamabad in 24 hours. Himmat assembled remaining team to complete the mission. Farooq tricks Ismail and ambushed in the mall, Soniya is killed in the process. Russians abducts Kemaal and investigates, as per Himmat's instructions Kemaal takes Ismail's name hence Hafiz thought Ismail was the mole. Farooq saves Ismail from that ambush. Where Ismail reveals about the blast in Delhi. And that mystery woman is none other than Hafiz's wife Sadiya, she would complete the blast. And she along with her sister discuss about jihad.
8"Sholay"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali Fida17 March 2020 (2020-03-17)
Ismail mentions Ikhlaq khan to Farooq, He shifts Ismail to a safe house. Farooq passed the information to Himmat. In the flashback, it was revealed that Sadia and her sister Farah were victims of 2013 Muzaffarnagar Hindu Muslim riots. Himmat investigates Abbas' link Habib, he identifies Hafiz as Ikhlaq khan and Sadia is Ikhlaq's wife. Habib found Sadia in the refugee camp and hands over to Jamaat. Where Jamaat would use her as a suicide bomber. Farooq soon realises Ikhlaq and Hafiz are the same person. Ikhlaq invites Farooq to Islamabad. Ravinder killed Ismail, Bakhtiyar is still in investigation. Himmat coarced Chaddha to arrange the fund for the final task. Sadia, Farah are in the spot, Pakistan Minister's chief security Mansoor helps Farah to go through the hall. Himmat and team assembles for the task. Farooq and lkhlaq out for Islamabad. On the way Bakhtiyar informs Ikhlaq about Farooq's real identity and executes Ravinder. Avinash and Ruhani ambushed Ikhlaq and killed all the securities. Himmat confronts Ikhlaq khan, Farooq killed Ikhlaq. From his phone the team recovered Sadia and Farah. Surya learns Mansoor helping cause the blast, shots Mansoor dead. Himmat immediately informs Surya, he found Sadia and Farah, quickly separated from the crowd, found that they did not wear any bomber jacket. The talk goes as per schedule. And in the credit it was shown that Soniya is alive.



On 15 January 2019, the streaming platform Hotstar,[13][14] announced its foray to original content production exclusively for the service,[15] with Star India,[16] the parent company of Hotstar,[15] tied up with 15 Indian filmmakers for creating the shows for its label called Hotstar Specials.[17][18] Pandey had started a new division Friday Storytellers, a subsidiary of his production house Friday Filmworks, for digital content providers, in which the series is produced.[19]

The series is developed as an eight-hour story which is inspired by nineteen years worth events of national significance by Pandey along with Deepak Kingrani and Benazir Ali Fida. Shivam Nair was served as the co-director.[20] He initially pitched the idea of the series in 2010, with Star India's head Gaurav Bannerjee, offering to premiere the show on Star Plus, but failed to materialise later.[21] The project was eventually announced with Kay Kay Menon being offered to play the protagonist, on 6 August 2019, and the rest of the cast and crew members were finalised in the same month.[citation needed]


The principal photography of the series was kickstarted in mid-August 2019.[22] Shivam Nair took charge of helming the major portions of the show taking place in India,[23] and Pandey was directing the rest of the sequences. The show has recreated Parliament of India for filming 2001 Indian Parliament attack portions which were dealt for the first time in film history.[24] Apart from India the show is filmed in Turkey, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan.[25] Pandey eventually stated that the shooting of the series in Delhi was more expensive, as the team needed to build sets and also use visual effects, as the story needs heavy mounting, and hence filmed in international locations.[26]


A promotional video featuring between the scenes footage of filming was released on 23 February 2020.[8] The teaser poster was released on 25 February 2020,[8][27] followed by the trailer of the series,[28][29] which was dropped on the same day at a press conference held in Mumbai,[30] attended by the cast and crew.[31] On 1 March 2020, the makers announced that the series will be premiered on Hotstar on 17 March 2020,[32] where it will be made accessible for viewers who enabled the VIP subscription method, in the streaming platform.[33] On 15 March 2020, the second trailer of the series was released, which confirmed the release on the said date.[34] However, Hotstar eventually released the first episode, earlier ahead of the scheduled date, on 16 March 2020, followed by the other consecutive episodes.[35] The series was premiered in seven Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi and Kannada, along with its Hindi original version on the said date.[35]


Critical response[edit]

Special OPS received mostly positive response from critics. Rohan Naahar of Hindustan Times stated "Neeraj Pandey and Kay Kay Menon deliver the first Hotstar original series almost worth the self-isolation."[36] Sana Farzeen of The Indian Express stated "With some impressive performances and a compelling tale, Special Ops deserves a watch".[37] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave three out of five stars to the show stating "Special Ops, is a sprawling espionage actioner that takes its own sweet time to glide towards two suspenseful climactic build-ups."[38] Archika Khurana of The Times of India too gave three out of five and stated "Special Ops' could have been a winner all together if it was more focussed. Still, this setup of spies is better than some of its counterparts, and is binge worthy too."[39]

Stutee Ghosh of The Quint stated "Special Ops is uneven in its pace and falters in between but it’s also a proof of Neeraj Pandey’s skill that despite these flaws he has created a series that has enough drama to keep us hooked", and gave three out of five stars.[40] Divyanshi Sharma of India Today, gave a mixed review stating "Special Ops has some stellar performances, which was put down by, forced slow-motion scenes, predictable twists, absence of logic and poorly executed story."[41] Nandini Ramanath of Scroll.in opined "Special Ops lands on the better side of Bard of Blood, but doesn’t match the entertainment value of The Family Man [...] While the Parliament attack is well executed, the hand-to-hand combat scenes are unmistakably choreographed."[42]

Avinash Ramachandran of The New Indian Express commented "Despite the supporting cast being underwritten, a few setbacks in the pacing, and the oh-so-convenient twists, the show gets a lot right".[43] Firstpost chief critic Pratishruti Ganguly gave two out of five and stated "Perhaps it would have fared better for Special Ops to do away with the frills and focus on the titular special operation right from the get go [sic]... However, it could well be a binge-worthy series in the times of self-quarantine."[44]


Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref.
Filmfare OTT Awards 19 December 2020 Best Drama Series Special OPS Nominated [45]
Best Director (Drama) Neeraj Pandey and Shivam Nair Nominated
Best Actor (Drama) Kay Kay Menon Nominated
Best Supporting Actress (Drama) Divya Dutta Won
Best Background Score Advait Nemlekar Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack Won
Best Art Direction Sandeep Sharad Ravade Nominated
Best Costume Designer Falguni Thakore Nominated
Best Editor Praveen Kathikuloth Won


In a live chat session on Instagram, with Kay Kay Menon, Karan Tacker and Neeraj Pandey in May 2020, the director hinted of the second season of the series which is yet to be conceptualised.[5] Although an official announcement of the second season was made in April,[46] Pandey hinted that the series will be "bigger than that of the first season".[47]

In January 2021, Pandey announced that the works on the second season will be completed,[48] before starting the production of Ajay Devgn's Chanakya.[49] He eventually converted the series into a franchise and on 22 January 2021, the makers announced the second instalment in the franchise titled Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story.[50] The series which revolves around the backstory of Himmat Singh (Menon) as a raw agent, is a prequel to the first season.[51] The series consisted of four episodes with a runtime of nearly one-hour and was premiered on Disney+ Hotstar on 12 November 2021.[52]


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  3. ^ "Neeraj Pandey to Helm Spy Thriller Web Series 'Special Ops'". www.news18.com.
  4. ^ "Special Ops trailer: The Hotstar original promises thrills galore". The Indian Express. 25 February 2020.
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  9. ^ a b c "Hotstar VIP on Instagram: "Action. Thrill. Neeraj Pandey. Here's the first look of Hotstar Specials presents #SpecialOps. Trailer launches on 25th February. Stay…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Trailer Touchdown: A raw, action-packed look is what Hotstar's Special Ops is all about". Lets OTT. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
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  12. ^ a b IANS. "Neeraj Pandeys special tribute to Bollywood". Outlook India. Retrieved 18 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  14. ^ "Hotstar announces original content under Hotstar Specials; to be out in March". Exchange4Media. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Hotstar Taps 15 Indian Filmmakers for Originals Expansion, Starting March". NDTV Gadgets 360. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
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  19. ^ Pandey, Neeraj [@neerajpofficial] (25 February 2020). "Proudly presenting Friday Storytellers, the digital arm of Friday Filmworks. Also happy to share with you the trailer of our first series Special Ops. Coming soon on Hotstar" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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  22. ^ Kher, Saiyami [@SaiyamiKher] (18 February 2020). "Up next - SPECIAL OPS! Directed by the amazing @neerajpofficial :) He was always on my wish list after I watched A Wednesday! Glad I could be a part of this project. Coming soon.. stay tuned for more updates! @HotstarVIP @ShitalBhatiaFFW @FridayFilmworks @mid_day @MoharBasupic" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Neeraj Pandey at trailer launch of Special Ops web series | Hotstar Specials | Gaurav Banerjee" – via www.youtube.com.
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  34. ^ "Watch the New Trailer for Special Ops, Out Tomorrow on Hotstar". NDTV Gadgets 360. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  35. ^ a b "Streaming in March 2020: Guilty, Mentalhood and Special Ops and more". The Indian Express. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
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  39. ^ Special Ops Season 1 Review: An engrossing espionage thriller, retrieved 21 January 2021
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  45. ^ "Flyx Filmfare OTT Awards 2020: Complete winners' list - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
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  51. ^ "Neeraj Pandey, Disney+ Hotstar announce multi-series 'Special Ops Universe'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  52. ^ "Special Ops 1.5: Neeraj Pandey Talks On Using Unconventional Title". Koimoi. 17 February 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.

External links[edit]