Special Ops 1.5 REVIEW: Kay Kay Menon, Aftab Shivdasani and Vinay Pathak starrer sets the right precedent for a stellar prequel
Any announcement on a prequel, sequel in today’s time worries me more than it should. However, in the midst of it, director Neeraj Pandey sets the right precedent with a balanced prequel to his hit series Special Ops. With its prequel Special Ops 1.5, Neeraj explores the story of Himmat Singh (Kay Kay Menon), the backbone of his mission last season. Neeraj’s approach to the story with his lense and storyline is the strength of the prequel backed by a fluid screenplay. Kay Kay Menon returns as Himmat Singh along with Aftab Shivdasani and Vinay Pathak in pivotal roles.
Special Ops 1.5 begins with the system interrogating Abbas (Vinay Pathak), Delhi Police to find some ‘unknown’ and ‘distinct’ facts on Himmat in the garb of soughting feedback for appraisals. Abbas then takes us back to his first interaction with Himmat and their occasional hits and misses. We are teleported to various locations whilst understanding the choronology of the events that made Himmat Singh, the go-to man for any mission. From Lanka to London, Himmat along with Vijay (Aftab), his childhood buddy and a competent officer himself form major part of the back story. The story does get a little predictable in parts but the anticipation doesn’t take away the emotion from scenes. What I absolutely loved was without pairing Himmat the ‘hero’ or focusing on any sob story, the story showed varied emotions of this man who puts his nation before anything else and is unfazed to take a tough decision in tough times. But Himmat is not just about this, we get to hear some stories from his college days, past romances and him as a boyfriend as well which makes the character more human and real.
What I wished for more was a little insight into what made Himmat chose to be in security and defence. That I thought wasn’t fully explored. Since it is a prequel on Himmat, it would have been nice to see that part of him as well. Neeraj has kept the screenplay non complicated and simple without stretching the plot or any sort of forced element. The dialogues work well with the tonality of the show. Without any awkward chest thumping patriotic dialogues, Neeraj brings out the right essence from a story which speaks volumes. Neeraj balances the story with a flair only he has. At no point, do you feel a scene is stretched or unwanted. The editing is crisp and thorough. I absolutely loved the camera work. The approach to keep it authenticate with moving shots gives it a sense of authenticity a show of this stature deserves. The music blends and keeps our interest piqued throughout.
What works best for Specials Ops 1.5 is also its length. It is 4-episode series with an average duration of 45 mins.
Kay Kay Menon yet again proves why he is perhaps one of the best talents we have. The vulnerability and strength he brings to Himmat is top notch. From showing betrayal to hurt, to feeling revengeful whilst not comprising on the sense of duty is definitely something which someone with a caliber of a Kay Kay Menon can pull off ONLY. Similarly, Vinay Pathak as Abbas is effective and the rightfully cast. Aftab brings his own flavour to Vijay which is hard to not notice. His camaraderie with Kay Kay Menon throughout works well for the show. Everyone in the supporting cast too play their respective characters to the T.
I honestly enjoyed the show thoroughly. It is fluid, engaging and impactful.