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. 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 series 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. The series received positive response from critics, praising the performances of the cast members, storyline, direction and technical aspects. It also received eight nominations at the inaugural Filmfare OTT Awards, winning three of them. Pandey had transformed the series into a franchise, with the second instalment Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story released on 12 November 2021.
- Kay Kay Menon as Himmat Singh
- Karan Tacker as Farooq Ali/Amjad Sharif/Rashid Malik
- Vinay Pathak as Abbas Sheikh
- Vipul Gupta as Balakrishna “Bala” Reddy
- Sajjad Delafrooz as Hafiz Ali
- Muzamil Ibrahim as Avinash
- Saiyami Kher as Juhi Kashyap
- Meher Vij as Ruhani Khan
- Gautami Kapoor as Saroj
- Rajat Kaul as Ismail Hassan
- Sana Khan as Sonia
- Mir Sarwar as Hamid (cameo appearance)
- S. M. Zaheer as Noor Baksh
- K. C. Shankar as Wasim Karachiwala/Firdaus Sheikh/Jalaal Mansoor
- Parmeet Sethi as Naresh Chadda
- Rohit Tannan as Moderator for Indo-Pak Meet
- Kali Prasad Mukherjee as Mr. D.K. Bannerjee
- Divya Dutta as Sadia Qureshi
- Sharad Kelkar as IB officer Surya Kumar (extended cameo appearance in episode 8 and some parts of episode 7)
- Devas Dixit as Lallan
- Pawan Chopra as Chintan
- Bikramjeet Kanwarpal as G.P. Mathur
- Rajendra Chawla as llliyaas Hassan
- Alok Pandey as Pappu Haramzada
- Pakkhi Gupta as Farah Qureshi
- Tanaya Sachdeva as Aditi Rao, daughter of Indian ambassador in Turkey
- Sohaila Kapur as Sujata Thapar
- Bijendra Gupta as Habib Naik
- Rahul Vora as Zaheer Raza
- Abhiroy Singh as Mansoor
- Anuj Sharma as Chaudhary[
- Revathi Pillai as Pari
- Vaansh Goswami as Mohammad
On 15 January 2019, the streaming platform Hotstar, announced its foray to original content production exclusively for the service, with Star India, the parent company of Hotstar, tied up with 15 Indian filmmakers for creating the shows for its label called Hotstar Specials. 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.
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. 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. 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.
A promotional video featuring between the scenes footage of filming was released on 23 February 2020. The teaser poster was released on 25 February 2020, followed by the trailer of the series, which was dropped on the same day at a press conference held in Mumbai, attended by the cast and crew. On 1 March 2020, the makers announced that the series will be premiered on Hotstar on 17 March 2020, where it will be made accessible for viewers who enabled the VIP subscription method, in the streaming platform. On 15 March 2020, the second trailer of the series was released, which confirmed the release on the said date. However, Hotstar eventually released the first episode, earlier ahead of the scheduled date, on 16 March 2020, followed by the other consecutive episodes. The series was premiered in seven Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi and Kannada, along with its Hindi original version on the said date.
- E01 – “Kaagaz Ke Phool”
- E02 – “Guide”
- E03 – “Mughal-E-Azam”
- E04 – “Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi”
- E05 – “Chaudvin Ka Chand”
- E06 – “Qurbani”
- E07 – “Shatranj Ke Khiladi”
- E08 – “Sholay”
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