Director Vivek Agnihotri brings to us a movie which has an agenda, that too a political one. It’s aim is to resurface the questions related to the death of India’s second Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. The Tashkent Files (2019) succeeds, not only as a movie but also making the current generation aware that there are many unanswered questions about an event which shaped the history of not only India, but the world. However, this is a non political review, so the movie will be discussed as only a movie without discussion on its inferences.
“A Warrior’s strength does not lie in his weapon, but his ability to use that weapon.”
The movie,The Tashkent Files (2019) starts with an old video of three persons discussing important things, which cannot be revealed here to avoid spoilers. Cut to the life of our protagonist, Ragini Phule (Shweta Basu Prasad ), who is a struggling journalist with not so straight morals as well. She gets a call from a stranger who suggests her to look into the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri and dig up the issue. And so she does, shaking up the issue after a bit research. But the case isn’t what she expected, and so she gets sucked into the murky world of politics and secret agents where each stands for his own and life has less meaning than its purpose for others.
The title of this article is a parallel to the movie’s existence. The weapon is the cast of the movie, and the wielder is the director and his crew. The cast ensemble of this movie is enormously impressive, but the direction is the limiting factor, which was bound to happen. First we have the big old guns Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty, then there are stalwarts Pallavi Joshi and Vinay Pathak, the hidden gems Prakash Belawadi and VM Badola, the underrated Shweta Basu Prasad, Rajesh Sharma and Mandira Bedi, and of course our rising sensation Pankaj Tripathi. Of course there were other good actors as well, but these had the most impact in the movie. Shweta Basu, even though the youngest, handles the main role extremely well, and waltzes around the experts quite effectively. However, the technical aspects of the movie are not that impressive, but with a star cast such as this, everything else would pale. A must watch.