Disney+ Hotstar’s Special Ops 1.5 Review: Kay Kay Menon Starrer Gets Personal

Revolving around the life of Special Ops’ protagonist Himmat Singh, Disney+ Hotstar’s Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story is a Hindi language action espionage thriller. The series is directed and created by the man behind acclaimed films like A Wednesday! and Baby Neeraj Pandey. The cast includes Kay Kay Menon as Himmat Singh, Aftab Shivdasani as Vijay Singh, Adil Khan as Maninder Singh, Gautami Kapoor as Saroj, Parmeet Sethi as Naresh Chadda, Vinay Pathak as Abbas Sheikh and Aishwarya Sushmita as Karishma. This Hotstar Specials’ produce is four episodes long with each episode having a runtime of about 30 to 50 minutes.

– Disney+ Hotstar’s Special Ops 1.5 review does not contain spoilers –

Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story

The story retraces our memory of the first season of Special Ops with some nuanced, intimate and unknown information. Exploring the different points of the original story, both important and casual, Special Ops 1.5 tells us the story of Himmat Singh rather than the story led by Himmat Singh.

The events of this season take place after the incident and showdown of the previous season. A considerable amount of time seemed to have passed since we last saw these characters on screen. Abbas Sheikh, who we remember from the previous season as one of Himmat’s most trusted officers, is summoned by the audit panel to evaluate Himmat Singh’s career as his time of retirement draws in. Abbas Sheikh is asked to share details about Himmat’s life which has not been on record to seemingly help Himmat get the rightful retirement package that he deserves.

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Thus, starts the story where we are transported back to the time when Himmat and Abbas met for the first time after the 2001 Parliament attack, Himmat’s going off the grid and resurfacing when R&AW enlists for his help. We walk through the grid of chaos where some of India’s top officials are seen getting honey-trapped. Himmat teams up with Vijay (played by Aftab Shivdasani) to recover top-secret national data ensuing the beginning of a cat and mouse chase.

Kay Kay Menon shines in his role as Himmat Singh. An actor who we have essentially seen play a negative role in films like ‘Haider’ and ‘Sarkar’, finally gets his share of screen time to come out loud and clear with his acting skills. The supporting actors, especially Aftab Shivdasani and Vinay Pathak are brilliant in their roles. Aishwarya Sushmita is scary and seductive as she plays the role of Karishma, a spy but, Adil Khan’s Maninder Singh somehow lacks the authority to play the villain.

Like always, Special Ops weaves around a series of dialogues that are both memorable and impactful. An instance would be the powerful yet subtle exchange of dialogues between Himmat and the female politician about the state of the country how an equal amount of good and bad intentions is what maintains the balance of all things. There is a hint of comedy present in our auditors piqued interest in Himmat’s story, especially Kali Prasad Mukherjee’s D.K. Bannerjee and the camaraderie he shares with Parmeet Sethi’s Naresh Chadda.

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Each episode is titled after a Hindi language film serving as a tribute, like the previous season. The episodes are Aandhi (1975), Mere Apne (1971), Lekin (1990) and Ijazat (1987). All the referenced films are either musicals or Bollywood dramas.

Special Ops 1.5: Final Verdict

Overall, the series provides a gripping backstory to Kay Kay Menon’s character and his relationships with friends, co-workers and juniors. The series does not end in a cliffhanger but, definitely promises the birth of a third season as we see Karan Tacker’s Farooq Ali make a cameo appearance at the end to lead us onto the next chapter. It isn’t as brilliant as its predecessor but, it comes close to give us a good piece of cinema.

You can watch Neeraj Pandey’s Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story now on Disney+ Hotstar. You can also stream the previous season of this Kay Kay Menon starrer series Special Ops by clicking here.

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Special Ops 1.5 retraces the life of Himmat Singh before we got to meet him in the first season of Neera Pandey's hit Hotstar Specials.

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