Special OPS

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Special Ops
Special OPS Poster.jpeg
Promotional poster
GenreAction
Espionage
Thriller
Created by
Written by
  • Neeraj Pandey
  • Deepak Kingrani
  • Benazir Ali Fida[1]
Directed by
Starring
ComposerAdvait Nemlekar
Country of originIndia
Original languageHindi
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Production
ProducerShital Bhatia
Production locations
Cinematography
  • Sudheer Palsane
  • Arvind Singh
EditorPraveen Kathikuloth
Running time44-55 min
Production companyFriday Storytellers
DistributorStar India
Release
Original networkDisney+Hotstar
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Original releaseMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)

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 film 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. It also received eight nominations at the Filmfare OTT Awards, winning two of them. A second season of the series was officially announced on April 2020.[5]

Premise[edit]

The series follows Himmat Singh (Menon) of Research and Analysis Wing who draws 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.[6] The story is inspired by several espionage missions undertaken by India in the last two decades.[7]

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Kaagaz Ke Phool"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
In 2001, five terrorists in a house were getting things ready to attack the parliament and all of them die in the process of the attack. In the present day, Himmat Singh (Menon) is attending the R&AW audit meeting, to explain where did he spend 28 crores in the last 11 years on Middle East desk, which are all mentioned to be miscellaneous? 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 FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
The 26/11 terror attack moves the nation and one link leads to the next, guiding Himmat and team closer to their target.
3"Mughal-E-Azam"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
Shipping business tycoon, Hafiz Ali shows the aftermath of a betrayal. The nineteen-year-old saga begins to set the stage for a mammoth reveal.
4"Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
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.
5"Chaudvin Ka Chand"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
Farooq's long wait comes to an end and he's face-to-face with Hafiz. Baku is added to the Special Ops map and new players are revealed.
6"Qurbani"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
Farooq's just a few feet away from the mastermind behind 2001 Parliament attack and yet again it's a touch and go situation for Himmat.
7"Shatranj Ke Khiladi"Shivam NairNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
Hafiz smells a mole and Himmat finds a pawn. Mind games help Farooq to survive another day.
8"Sholay"Neeraj PandeyNeeraj Pandey, Deepak Kingrani & Benazir Ali FidaMarch 17, 2020 (2020-03-17)
The country is under an imminent attack and time is running out. Finally, Himmat comes face to face with his nemesis.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On 15 January 2019, the streaming platform Hotstar,[12][13] announced its foray to original content production exclusively for the service,[14] with STAR India,[15] the parent company of Hotstar,[14] tied up with 15 Indian filmmakers for creating the shows for its label called Hotstar Specials.[16][17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

Filming[edit]

Season 1[edit]

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 buld sets and also use visual effects, as the story needs heavy mounting, and hence filmed in international locations.[26]

Season 2[edit]

In a live chat session on Instagram, with Kay Kay Menon, Karan Tacker and Neeraj Pandey on 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 on April,[27] Pandey hinted that the series will be "bigger than that of the first season".[28] In January 2021, Pandey announced that the works on the second season will be completed,[29] before starting the production of Ajay Devgn's Chanakya.[30]

Release[edit]

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,[31][32] followed by the trailer of the series,[33][34] which was dropped on the same day at a press conference held in Mumbai,[35] attended by the cast and crew.[36] On 1 March 2020, the makers announced that the series will be premiered on Hotstar on 17 March 2020,[37] where the series will be made accessible for viewers who enabled the VIP subscription method, in the streaming platform.[38] On 15 March 2020, the second trailer of the series was released, which confirmed the release on the said date.[39] However, Hotstar eventually released the first episode, earlier ahead of the scheduled date, on 16 March 2020, followed by the other consecutive episodes.[40] The series was premiered in seven Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi and Kannada, along with its Hindi original version on 16 March.[40]

Reception[edit]

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 Hostar original series almost worth the self-isolation."[41] Sana Farzeen of The Indian Express stated "With some impressive performances and a compelling tale, Special Ops deserves a watch".[42] 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."[43] Archika Khurana of The Times of India, 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."[44]

Stutee Ghosh of The Quint gave three out of five to the show and 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."[45] 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."[46] 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. The action is uneven. While the Parliament attack is well executed, the hand-to-hand combat scenes are unmistakably choreographed. The production design too is exiguous."[47]

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".[48] 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. The latter half of the show is decidedly far better than the first half. The twist in the end is unexpected, to say the least. It could well be a binge-worthy series in the times of self-quarantine."[49]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2020 Filmfare OTT Awards Best Drama Series Special OPS Nominated [50]
Best Director Neeraj Pandey and Shivam Nair Nominated
Best Actor – Male Kay Kay Menon Nominated
Best Background Score Advait Nemlekar Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack Advait Nemlekar Won
Best Art Direction Sandeep Sharad Ravade Nominated
Best Costume Designer Falguni Thakore Nominated
Best Editor Praveen Kathikuloth Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hotstar Specials and Neeraj Pandey come together for 'Special Ops'". The Hans India.
  2. ^ "Karan Tacker to make a comeback with Neeraj Pandey's web series Special Ops". India Today.
  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.
  5. ^ a b MumbaiMay 18, Press Trust of India; May 18, 2020UPDATED:; Ist, 2020 15:51. "Neeraj Pandey hints at Special Ops Season 2: We carry more responsibility as we take this franchise forward". India Today. Retrieved 21 January 2021.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "'Special Ops' trailer: Kay Kay Menon plays a RAW agent on the trail of a terrorist mastermind". Scroll.in.
  7. ^ Pandey, Nikhil. "NEERAJ PANDEY TO MAKE HOTSTAR SHOW?". Republic World.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h VIP, Hotstar [@HotstarVIP] (22 February 2020). "Action. Thrill. Neeraj Pandey. Here's the first look of Hotstar Specials presents #SpecialOps. Trailer launches on 25th February. Stay Tuned! @FFW_Official @neerajpofficial @kaykaymenon02 @karantacker @kokodiaries @SaiyamiKher @pathakvinay @divyadutta25pic.twitter.com/oejUTrgwZU" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  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.
  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.
  11. ^ "Watch the First Trailer for Neeraj Pandey's Special Ops, Coming to Hotstar in 2020". NDTV Gadgets 360.
  12. ^ "We are not building Hindi shows but Indian content: Gaurav Banerjee, Star India". Indian Advertising Media & Marketing News – exchange4media.
  13. ^ "Hotstar announces original content under Hotstar Specials; to be out in March". Exchange4Media. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Hotstar Taps 15 Indian Filmmakers for Originals Expansion, Starting March". NDTV Gadgets 360. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  15. ^ James, Nandana. "Star India rolling out next big bet on OTT platform- Hotstar Specials". @businessline. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  16. ^ Jha, Lata (14 January 2019). "Hotstar adds to streaming drama with originals". mint. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Hotstar Specials: Star India collaborates with Salman Khan, Kabir Khan, among others for new OTT platform - Entertainment News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  18. ^ 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. Click on the link below to see the trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF0H5DZAE2g …pic.twitter.com/t0Jh3MUE6C" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Ramnath, Nandini. "A terror mastermind is on the prowl. Who else to call but Neeraj Pandey?". Scroll.in. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Neeraj Pandey: Special Ops will resonate with everyone". The Indian Express. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  21. ^ World, Republic. "'Special Ops': It's cast & everything you need to know about the new series". Republic World. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  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.twitter.com/fScL4uxFTH" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Neeraj Pandey at trailer launch of Special Ops web series | Hotstar Specials | Gaurav Banerjee" – via www.youtube.com.
  24. ^ "Special Ops trailer: 2001 Parliament attack leads to a 19-year manhunt in Neeraj Pandey's Hotstar original. Watch video". hindustantimes.com.
  25. ^ "Special Ops – The Story Of A 19-Year Hunt For The Terrorist Behind The Biggest Attacks On India". Urban Asian. 26 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Neeraj Pandey: Shooting in Delhi more expensive than some foreign locales". Outlook India. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Neeraj Pandey opens up on Special Ops season 2". Outlook India. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Neeraj Pandey Hints at Bigger 'Special Ops' Season 2". News18. 18 May 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  29. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Before Ajay Devgn's Chanakya, Neeraj Pandey to complete Special OPS 2 with Kay Kay Menon". PINKVILLA. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  30. ^ "Special Ops 2: Neeraj Pandey gives Karan Tacker's web series first preference over Ajay Devgn's Chanakya?". Bollywood Life. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  31. ^ VIP, Hotstar [@HotstarVIP] (24 February 2020). "The story of India's longest manhunt unfolds at 5 p.m. Stay tuned! #SpecialOps @FFW_Official @neerajpofficial @kaykaymenon02 @karantacker @kokodiaries @SaiyamiKher @pathakvinay @divyadutta25 @sanaak21pic.twitter.com/Q7RcahEJrs" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  32. ^ "Watch the First Trailer for Neeraj Pandey's Special Ops, Coming to Hotstar in 2020". NDTV Gadgets 360. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  33. ^ "Special Ops trailer: The Hotstar original promises thrills galore". The Indian Express. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  34. ^ "Special Ops trailer: 2001 Parliament attack leads to a 19-year manhunt in Neeraj Pandey's Hotstar original. Watch video". Hindustan Times. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  35. ^ Scroll Staff. "'Special Ops' trailer: Kay Kay Menon plays a RAW agent on the trail of a terrorist mastermind". Scroll.in. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  36. ^ "Kay Kay Menon, Divya Dutta, Sana Khaan and others launch Special Ops trailer". .The Indian Express. 26 February 2020.
  37. ^ "Neeraj Pandey's web series Special Ops starring Kay Kay Menon and Divya Dutta to release on March 17". www.indulgexpress.com. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  38. ^ DelhiFebruary 26, India Today Web Desk New; February 26, 2020UPDATED:; Ist, 2020 17:02. "Special Ops: The thriller series is based on 19-year-old manhunt for 2001 Parliament attack accused". India Today. Retrieved 21 January 2021.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  39. ^ "Watch the New Trailer for Special Ops, Out Tomorrow on Hotstar". NDTV Gadgets 360. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  40. ^ a b "Streaming in March 2020: Guilty, Mentalhood and Special Ops and more". The Indian Express. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  41. ^ "Special OPS review: Neeraj Pandey and Kay Kay Menon deliver first Hotstar original almost worth the self-isolation". Hindustan Times. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  42. ^ "Special Ops first impression: An intriguing manhunt". The Indian Express. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  43. ^ "Special Ops Review: Burning Espionage Thriller Never Loses The Plot". NDTV.com. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  44. ^ Special Ops Season 1 Review: An engrossing espionage thriller, retrieved 21 January 2021
  45. ^ Ghosh, Stutee (18 March 2020). "Review: 'Special Ops' Keeps Us Hooked Despite Its Uneven Pace". TheQuint. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  46. ^ DelhiMarch 21, Divyanshi Sharma New; March 21, 2020UPDATED:; Ist, 2020 11:52. "Special Ops Review: An overly-stretched espionage thriller". India Today. Retrieved 21 January 2021.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  47. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Udita. "'Special Ops' review: Web series about a 19-year chase takes forever to get to the point". Scroll.in. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  48. ^ "'Special OPS' web series review: Kay Kay Menon fronts an engaging but overlong search". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  49. ^ "Special Ops review: Neeraj Pandey's meandering spy thriller lacks the thrill and emotional heft of his earlier work - Entertainment News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  50. ^ "Flyx Filmfare OTT Awards 2020: Complete winners' list - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

External links[edit]