As promised, Hotstar has released a full-length trailer for Special Ops, which also comes with a release date: March 17. Creator, director, and producer Neeraj Pandey’s action thriller series revolves around a fictitious manhunt for a terrorist mastermind behind the 2001 Indian Parliament attack, the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, the “26/11” 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the 2016 Uri attack in Jammu and Kashmir. (Though the incidents are real, there wasn’t a single leader behind them.) Special Ops uses that to call it “India’s longest manhunt” which involves five agents and spans a dozen countries.
The new Special Ops trailer beings with a reconstruction of the attack on Parliament of India, before introducing its lead intelligence officer, RAW senior analyst & logistics head Himmat Singh (Kay Kay Menon), who lays down the theory that a sixth terrorist was leading the five terrorists. That sets up the chase for one Ikhlaq Khan, which ends up lasting nearly two decades as Singh ages in front of us. He’s accused of wasting the Indian government’s secret service funds. For what it’s worth, his suspicions are true. Khan, whose face is covered, vows more attacks on India.
In the second half of the Special Ops trailer, we are given a look at the team of five agents assembled by Singh to take down Khan, who is described as “the devil” in a voiceover. As you can already tell, Special Ops seeks to build on the raging success of Islamophobia in Indian entertainment today, which has rapidly grown in recent years. The screen is filled only with Pakistan flags and messages in Urdu as the voiceover talks about terrorism being “a multi-billion-dollar industry”, and every villain seems to be Muslim. Specials Ops already feels like a low-rent Bard of Blood.
Menon (Shaurya) stars alongside Karan Tacker (Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai), Divya Dutta (Irada), Sajjad Delafrooz (Tiger Zinda Hai), Vipul Gupta (K. Street Pali Hill), Muzamil Ibrahim (Dhokha), Sana Khan (Wajah Tum Ho), Saiyami Kher (Mirzya), Anuj Sharma (Padmaavat), Vinay Pathak (Bheja Fry), and Meher Vij (Secret Superstar) on Special Ops, per reports, with Shivam Nair (Naam Shabana) a director alongside Pandey. Special Ops is a production of Friday Storytellers, a division of Pandey-run Friday Filmworks.
For Hotstar, Special Ops will be the first original series in 2020, after six last year: the hagiographical docu-series on Dhoni, Roar of the Lion; the well-acted but poorly-written eponymous remake of Criminal Justice; the intolerable Nagesh Kukunoor-created crime drama, City of Dreams; a cringe-worthy eponymous remake of The Office; an improbable eponymous remake of Israeli thriller Hostages; and a poor scene-by-scene copy of Doctor Foster in Out of Love.
Special Ops is out March 17 on Hotstar in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, and Kannada.