Aadil Khan on playing Kay Kay Menon’s nemesis in Special Ops 1.5: ‘The kind of experience he brings…’

Actor Aadil Khan talks about playing Maninder in Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story, working with Kay Kay Menon and his take on Neeraj Pandey's spy universe.

Neeraj Pandey’s mini-series Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story has lefts fans impressed with its fast-paced drama and thrilling storyline. Apart from Kay Kay Menon, whose Himmat Singh gives the show its name, audiences were also treated to power-packed performances by Aftab Shivdasani and Aadil Khan. Aadil, who debuted in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara, plays rogue R&AW agent Maninder. At various points in the show, he is called the exact opposite of Himmat, the man our heroic agent would have been if he had embraced the dark side.

The actor, meanwhile, is enjoying all the praise coming his way as the show plays out on Disney+ Hotstar. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Aadil Khan shared how he is feeling like a kid who just excelled in his exams. “The feedback has been so beautiful and amazing. It’s mind-blowing to see people sending me reviews and messages. I don’t think I could have been happier,” he shared.

Giving more details on how the project came his way, the RJ-turned-actor shared that he got a call from the casting team for an audition. “As they told me it was for the Special Ops universe, I actually went running for it,” he said.




A post shared by Aadil Khan (@aadilkhanitis)




A post shared by Aadil Khan (@aadilkhanitis)


Calling his part a ‘wonderfully written character’, Aadil said that half his job was done by the script. Given it had quite a lot of action sequences, he trained with international fight directors and rehearsed for a long time. “Neeraj sir wants everyone to be well prepared before they hit the set. I also got into the mind of Maninder, so that I was aligned with the director’s vision. It was a beautiful process to even prepare for it.”

And while on set, he had the likes of Kay Kay Menon and Aftab Shivdasani as co-stars, whom he calls ‘wonderful people’. “Given that Kay Kay sir has been part of the show, he never let me feel like a newcomer. He was so welcoming and made everyone around comfortable. I really formed a great bond with him. With the kind of experience he brings to the table, it’s always a pleasure sharing the frame with him. I think working on Special Ops 1.5 was a breeze as I really gelled well with him, Aftab bhai and Neeraj sir. It was so much fun.”

Praising the series, Aadil said that he had binge-watched the show last year during the lockdown. Talking about the universe that Pandey is creating, he added, “People have already watched and lived with the character in season 1. And when you eventually expand it, people can relate more to it. You actually start moving along with it. The kind of response we are getting, you understand that the spin-off felt like coming home to many.”



A post shared by Aadil Khan (@aadilkhanitis)




A post shared by Aadil Khan (@aadilkhanitis)


While he is taking home the experience of working with a talented team, the actor also said that it has inspired him to do better work. And while it is unlikely that his character will return, Neeraj Pandey has a habit to surprise audience.

Talking further about his career, Aadil Khan said that he is living a beautiful dream. Having dabbled into RJing and even his father’s business, he said that only when he faced the camera, he knew it was his true calling. “There is just no limit or monotony, and that’s what keeps me going. One gets to live so many lives that it’s amazing. Shikara has been a dream launch and got me noticed but soon the world went into lockdown. Now that things are opening up, I am looking forward to doing more and more exciting work.”

Ask him if it’s tough to survive the industry without a godfather, and he shared, “I try to keep my life very simple. I really believe that if you do good work, you will get good work. All that I want to focus on is the kind of roles I get and what I take away from it. I just want to give my 100 per cent to every project that comes my way.”


Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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