The Tashkent Files
Critic's Rating: 2.5/5
Avg. Users' Rating: 2.7/5
The Tashkent Files Review: Based on one of the most controversial chapters of India’s history, The Tashkent Files tries to recreate a hard-hitting and volatile political drama. The film is based in modern times, as a journalist takes a deep dive into investigating Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death from 1966. While the pursuit of truth after half-a-century may seem jaded, the young journalist, played by Shweta Basu Prasad, chases the scoop because she’s overly ambitious and in the world of social media, any sensationalist topic, will do. So she and a whole host of politicians, social workers and civil servants, join a committee that has the task of uncovering and reinvestigating the truth. It’s a setup borrowed from 12 Angry Men, and the lack of novelty doesn’t help the proceedings at all.
Director and writer Vivek Agnihotri explores a lot of political stories, facts and rumours through the story. As the young journo comes face to face with the history of Shastri’s death, she also realises that the world of politics and espionage can be overwhelming for the common man. That the story is able to put across such a relevant point is commendable, but the execution of such ideas is far from ideal. The direction and narrative of the film is inconsistent. Also the music, both the background score and the songs used in montages, are too loud and don’t compliment the complex nature of the story at all.
One of the film’s strengths should have been the ensemble cast featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty, Pallavi Joshi, Pankaj Tripathi, Mandira Bedi and more. But, apart from Mithun Chakraborty, no other actor gets a character that does justice to the talents of the actors. Even the film’s lead, Shweta Basu Prasad, gives an honest performance in an underdeveloped character.
The Tashkent Files makes some shocking claims about India’s political history, dynasty politics and the citizen’s right to know the truth. All its sensational content is relevant and important social issues are highlighted, too. But, the storytelling effort is half-baked and lacks the finesse that such a heavy-duty film requires. It also doesn’t help that the final slide of the movie tells the audience that the authenticity of all the facts displayed in the film cannot be verified.