Special Ops 1.5 - The Himmat Story
It was in 2020 just at the onset of the first lockdown when the OTT space was beginning to boom. With theatres closed, the ausience had only one source of entertainment and all OTT platforms were gearing up with original content. It was then that a show on Hotstar had caught the imagination of the audience. Special Ops which was directed by Neeraj Pandey and Shivam Nair had recreated the magic of their earlier film Baby. The appreciations were pouring and naturally there would have been a pressure of a sequel. And the makers are back this week with the Prequel of Special Ops titled Special Ops 1.5. With just four episodes, does this miniseries live upto all the hype surrounding it, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
A prequel(and Not Sequel) to Special Ops, Special Ops 1.5 follows the origin story of Himmat Singh as he tries to foil the leakage of some classified information of his agency. The story is taut and to the point this time around and definitely thrilling and engaging. The screenplay has a minor buildup of around 10 to 15 minutes to get the audience back in the groove and get used to the world of Himmat Singh. There are a few familiar faces which were a part of the original as well as a few new faces that play an integral part of the story. Post the initial buildup, the main story begins which is quite thrilling and engaging. Since there are only 4 episodes, you can easily binge watch them and that is the best part of the series. It is short, quick and thrilling. But the screenplay here had to trade off its short length with the lack of depth and characterisation. The characters here aren’t too well fleshed out and neither is the screenplay layered although the final edit does give you that impression mildly. Also the final conclusion here was a bit too simple and lacked that buildup which we did see in Special Ops. But barring these shortcomings, the screenplay is tight and extremely engaging. This one will keep you on tender hooks throughout as you try and predict what would happen next. While most of the screenplay is predictable(barring a couple of terrific twists), particular with this being a sequel you can guess the fate of some of the actors but it is quite thrilling and entertaining here. Overall, a crisply written screenplay that is superbly engaging.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues here are filled with hidden gems. Some of the one-liners are quite subtle and they leave a lasting impact. The BGM here is pulsating, as was the case in the original. It does its bit in heightening the tension and drama. The cinematography is pretty good with some of the best drone shots that are taken. The editing is crisp too and that tries to give an impression of the drama being layered(to its credit). The director’s chair is shared by Neeraj Pandey and Shivam Nair and they have done an outstanding job here. By now we all know that they are masters of a spy thriller and they do know the pulse of the audience regarding the same. The tension that they are able to create despite a predictable plot speaks volumes of their skill as the directors of the series.
The performances are outstanding here. Parmeet Sethi as Chadha and Kali Prasad Mukherjee as Banerjee shine in cameos and do their bit in instilling a bit of humour to the proceedings. I was very impressed with Maria Ryaboshapka who did a great job as Natasha despite a limited screentime. Vinay Pathak as Abbas is absolutely in his elements and another good outing for him. Aishwarya Sushmita as Karishma looks stunning and plays the femake fatale with perfection. She has a dynamic presence onscreen and I wish to watch more of her going forward. Shiv Jyoti as Anita is brilliant. I won’t give out anything about her character as it might act as a spoiler but she exudes of confidence here. Gautami Kapoor as Saroj has an interesting role here. The dynamics of her character are different and she does a fabulous job here. Aadil Khan who was last seen in Shikara is quite a good looking actor who exudes of style. As Maninder, he is the perfect nemesis for our protagonist. Aftab Shivdasani who returns after such a long time onscreen is brilliant as Vijay. I feel the OTT space is where actors like him can truely explore and shine, and here he really showcases a side of him that atleast I have not previously witnessed. And Kay Kay Menon aka Himmat Singh is stunning as always. He is such a natural onscreen that he commands your attention. And again he brings so many smaller nuances to his role that are so interesting to watch. This is another acting masterclass by an actor par excellence.
Special Ops 1.5 is taut, engaging and thrilling and a worthy addition to the espionage franchise. Available on Disney Plus Hotstar.