Kay Kay Menon delivers a tour de force in Neeraj Pandey’s sparkling spy origin story

Web Series: Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story
Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Vinay Pathak, Parmeet Sethi, Aftab Shivdasani, Gautami Gadgil, Adil Khan, Aishwarya Sushmita, Kali Prasad Mukherjee
Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story Director: Neeraj Pandey, Shivam Nair
Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar
Review by: Russel D’Silva Also Read – Shikara box office collection day 2: Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film witnesses a good jump

The benchmark Neeraj Pandey has set when it comes to espionage content in Hindi cinema or Hindi OTT shows has hitherto never been attempted and henceforth will be the gold standard to aspire to for all future creators. Sure we’ve had gems of spy movies before like Farz (1967), Ankhen (1968), Charas (1976), Droh Kaal (1994), 16 December (2002), Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) and Raazi (2018). However, Neeraj Pandey has singlehandedly all but made the spy sub-genre among thriller movies his own with A Wednesday (2008), Baby (2015), Naam Shabana (2017) and Special Ops (2020). Now, he’s becomes the first to create (along with longtime work partner Shivam Nair) a spy universe even before YRF can with Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story on Disney+ Hotstar – a prequel to Special Ops. So, is it another jewel in Neeraj Pandey’s gleaming crown of celluloid espionage? You betcha! Also Read – CHAKRAVYUH movie review: Arjun Rampal tries too hard, Abhay Deol doesn’t try hard enough

So, are you excited about what to watch this weekend or what to watch this week and wondering whether Special Ops 1.5 The Himmat Story is worth your time? Scroll down for my full Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story review…

What’s it about

Special Ops 1.5 The Himmat Story revolves around, as the title suggests, the origin of its eponymous protagonist, way before he became a legend at R&AW, and much before he spread his team of handpicked sleeper agents across the world to bring down Ikhlaq Khan, the secret sixth terrorist behind the 2001 parliament bombing and the unknown mastermind behind most of India’s terror attacks.

Watch the Special Ops 1.5 The Himmat Story trailer below:

What’s hot

Special Ops 1.5 is almost as sharp, tight, engrossing and exhilarating as Special Ops was. Probably, the best thing about is how deftly the two web series have been tied together. Plus, the subtle touches of humor through the dialogues is so refreshing and serves as a wonderful offset to heavyduty spy work. And at just four episodes, Neeraj saab again uses his smarts, knowing full well than an origin story about just one character as opposed to an entire spy network, with a plot where the stakes aren’t as high as that of its predecessor, doesn’t merit 8-10 episodes. As for the acting, it’s all straight from the top drawer, with Kay Kay Menon being a tour de force (he knocks it out of the park in his final emotional scene), and Vinay Pathak, Adil Khan, Parmeet Sethi and Kali Prasad Mukherjee all being magnificent in their own way.

However, the surprise package is new find Aishwarya Sushmita, perfectly personifying the seductive, vulnerable and treacherous powers of a honey trap in the espionage world. And technically, the show is as polished as all Friday Filmworks / Friday Storytellers productions are. Neeraj Pandey makes this spy content so well, and it’s all so well researched, be it movies or shows, that sometimes I wonder if he actually ever was a part of a spy organization. And those waiting for a hint of Special Ops 2 also won’t be disappointed courtesy a cool cameo at the end.

What’s not

The final episode ends on a bit of a rushed and flat note as opposed the quality that precedes it and especially when compared to the crackerjack finale of the the first Special Ops. Aftab Shivdasani also feels like he tries too hard to fit into his role, plus his character is a dead giveaway of a major change that occurs in Special Ops after his wife is introduced the Disney Hotstar series (can’t reveal lest I give out a spoiler). Also, the main conflict around which the mission is based could’ve been explored a tad more In-depth.

BL Verdict

Special Ops 1.5 may seem as a slightly unpolished gem in Neeraj Pandey’s sterling repertoire, but it’s a gem nevertheless, worthy of every minute of your time for its sharp plot, engrossing and exhilarating setup, how everything is deftly linked to the first Special Ops, and Kay Kay Menon’s tour de force performance. I’m going with 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating : 3.5 out of 5

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