The Tashkent Files


The 70’s era witnessed many film such as Aandhi, Kissa Kursi Ka, Nasbandi and few more which were inspired by the current political happenings in the country. Though, none of them had direct reference to any of the political parties or the politicians. Still, these few movies managed to make their point. Luckily, in today’s times our film makers have been daringly attempting films which has direct references of riots, partition, war, armed forces and political conspiracies. ‘The Tashkent Files’ is also one of such films which questions the happenings related to the death of our second prime minister Shri. Lal Bahadur Shashtri.

‘The Tashkent Files’ is a story of a young political journalist Ragini Phule (Shweta Basu Prasad). Inspired from an unknown call and some basic facts related to the mysterious death of Shri. Lal Bahadur Shashtri, Ragini starts writing several questionable articles in her newspaper. The consequences leads to a formation of a committee under the leadership of opposition leader Shyam Sunder Tripathi (Mithun Chakroborty). The committee will decides whether there was any foul play related to the death of Shri. Lal Bahadur Shashtri.

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The screenplay is beautifully woven with good blend of facts and fiction. Many real footage including political statements, newspaper headlines, letters, books, articles have been researched and presented in the film. Though, the film takes some time to come on it’s right track. The debate and discussion happening inside the committee meet are engaging as well as intriguing. The second half of the film reveals several unknown facts and details which are quite shocking and an eye opener. Though, in order to witness these scenes one has to pass through the acid test of lethargic first half of the film.

The arguments and discussions might remind you of Basu Chatterjee’s film ‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisla’. Some of the solo scenes of Pankaj Tripathi, Pallavi Joshi, Mithun Chakroborty and Shweta Basu Prasad are outstanding. Sadly, the side track of Shweta dilute these conversational scenes. These scenes seemed misfit and abrupt at time and could have been strictly avoided. The writers have smartly targeted several politicians without even mentioning them. But, on the other end they have contradicted their own theories by claiming them as non authentic. This leads to absolutely nothing. It ends up as more of social media theory then the political one. The director should had presented his trump card in the finale. Also, the forced hammering on current political scenario is highly irritating. A one liner point is super stretched to a full length feature film, which should have been strictly trimmed down. The actors in some scenes are fantastic, but in others hams to the fullest.

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Along with Shastri Ji, one will find mentions of Homi Bhabha, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, emergency period, cold war and few such political happenings. The dialogues are hard hitting at times. Musically, there is no scope for it in this film. The background music at times is jarring.

Mithun Chakroborty, Shweta Basu Prasad and Pankaj Tripathi are superb in their parts. Mandira Bedi and Pallavi Joshi lends good support. Rajesh Sharma, Prakash Belwade and others are fine in their parts. Nasseruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak and others fail to create their marks.

So, on an overall basis while the escapist film lovers will fail to digest this movie, The Tashkent Files will be loved by all those who love content driven hard hitting films. The overdose of indirect hammering takes away the sanity of the film. One does wish it was more conversational rather than pointing out personal views. The movie would had good impact on the OTT platforms.

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Rating – 3.5/5