Second Prime Minister of independent India wins a war against Pakistan, goes to Tashkent, after days of high-tension talks, signs a peace agreement with Pakistan and dies within few hours. There are conspiracy theories and rumours about his death and even the family members suspect foul play. However, no post mortem is carried out.
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The Tashkent Files, which releases on April 12, is an extremely well-researched film which tries to ask a few uncomfortable questions without demonising any politician or a political party which may or may not have had anything to do with Prime Minister Shastri’s mysterious death and subsequent lack of investigation.
Having grown up in the 90s, the only thing our school history books talked about former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri how he was the second prime minister who gave us the ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ slogan. As The Tashkent Files says, there is more information surrounding former PM Shastri’s death over the internet than in official documents of the government of India.
The film makes a few startling revelations. Just how far were the intelligence agencies of the US and the then USSR involved? How deep had they infiltrated India through the politicians and media? Why was any inquiry commission not set up after Prime Minister Shastri’s death? Why was an autopsy not carried out? Why are there two separate versions of the medical report? Why the inconsistency? Why did the two witnesses who attended to PM Shastri in his last moments ‘coincidentally’ meet with road accidents?
Prime Minister Shastri’s body had turned blue-black, there were cut-marks on his body, there were dried blood marks on the body but despite this, the government of India did not think it was necessary to carry out an autopsy. Does this not raise alarm bells? The Tashkent Files brings together hours and years of research and puts out a coherent narration which leaves you angry and frustrated at what could be one of the biggest ‘coverups’ in independent India.
The film says how Shastri was killed twice, once in Tashkent and the second time systematically from our consciousness. The film mentions Mitrokhin Archives, a book which is a collection of secret documents by secret KGB archivist that talks about the truth behind Shastri’s death. The book and film make some damning revelations (not yet verified) regarding how deep had the KGB infiltrated India by bribing the politicians, planting media articles and perhaps even killing a prime minister.
Brilliant performance by the actors. Shweta Basu Prasad shines in her role of a young journalist where her character has its own share of flaws which she overcomes because she wants a logical end to a ‘game’ that was started. She does not take any moral high ground, does not go hammer and tongs against the grand old party which chose not to carry out an investigation after Shastri’s death. She only asks questions. Pallavi Joshi as a historian and an expert on Shastri also shows how history books are also filled with just one version and there could be other versions of the same incident.
Prakash Belawadi is another brilliant actor and a personal favourite amongst all the characters in this film. The film is backed with solid research and has no over-the-top narrative building which makes it a great political drama just as the election season kicks in.
I hope the film reaches out to the younger generation and they learn more about the son of the soil India lost too soon. Hope there is an investigation carried out on former Prime Minister Shastri’s mysterious death and the family as well as the country can get some closure. In the meantime, I’m buying my copy Mitrokhin Archives to learn more about India what the school history books never told me.
TASHKENT FILES – CRITIC REVIEWS AND AUDIENCE FEEDBACK
The movie’s reviews have quickly become the latest battle ground between the small elite coterie of politically biased critics vs the masses. Had this been year 2001, then maybe the movie reviews and critics would have had the power to decide the fate of the movie and relegate it to oblivion.
But this is 2018 and opinions have democratised and so the power to decide this is firmly in the hands of junta.
So here are the user reviews from across the internet:
Rotten tomatoes rating: 92%
ImDB reviews 8.5/10
Watched #TashkentFiles today n thanks to @vivekagnihotri to bring out the hidden truth behind the death of our Late PM Lal Bahadur Shastri. This movie shows the truth n today we understand why #INC, Lutyen media n liberals are behind @narendramodi
— Nitin J (@NeeI_J) April 14, 2019
Watched #TashkentFiles. I frankly had two fears. 1. It’d be dry and boring 2. May wander into mire of narrative over truth.
Neither. It is gripping (esp 2nd half) and solidly researched. Sheer power of facts leave you awakened, numb, angry.
Must watch for every Indian youngster.
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) April 7, 2019
I watched #TashkentFiles. Highly recommend it. @vivekagnihotri has made a gripping thriller on a complex subject — the mystery around former PM Lal Bahadur Sastri’s death. The research put into the movie is evident. It isn’t getting enough screens in Kolkata though.
— Sreemoy Talukdar (@sreemoytalukdar) April 14, 2019
What’s up guys ? Watched #TashkentFiles ?
Go watch and see what Congress doesn’t want you to see ☺️
— Chowkidar Maithun MI (@Being_Humor) April 13, 2019
thanks @vivekagnihotri multiple narratives are the sign of a mature democracy. and that you and i can coexist peacefully is the sign of mature humanity! #TashkentFiles needs to be watched. And government secrets need to be declassified. I support your #rightotruth. https://t.co/lZmyvK3U3Z
— kavereeb (@kavereeb) April 13, 2019
#Tashkentfiles is a must watch movie. @vivekagnihotri thank you for giving us a movie like this. How the so called political leaders tried to wash off the truth from the public eye.. this movie is an eye opener for people of our generation..?? More power to you Vivek?
— Neha Shetty (@nehashetty3) April 13, 2019
#TashkentFiles is a masterclass on so many basis
I would recommend every citizen of this country to watch this and know what had happened to our PM.
1. Why wasn’t a post mortem done when the prime minister of India died in suspense
2. Why SHASTRI Ji’s chef did not make his food
— Kashyap (@kashyap_hari) April 14, 2019
@vivekagnihotri sir, watched n loved ur movie #TashkentFiles.. u have kept everything is movie systematically how soviet stooge sold India, killed shastriji, the 1975 emergency,socialism term in constitution.. it needs guts n courage to make such movie..
— Ketan Satpute (@Ketan4India) April 14, 2019
Thank you @vivekagnihotri sir for #TashkentFiles. What a movie! It has reopened many books now. The best word created in the movie was the #TRPTerrorism. Every young Indian should watch this movie to know the history of our legend #LalBahadurShashtri and his enemies.
— Yuvaraj Shinde?? (@yuvaarajshinde) April 14, 2019
Watched The Tashkent Files. It is not an edge-of-the-seat thriller. There is no nail-biting suspense. It would be a stretch to say it is a gripping drama. There are even moments when you feel it is dragging on a bit.
— Oldtimer (@auldtimer) April 14, 2019
When the most popular media – online or offline together start rating a “controversial” movie like #TashkentFiles then it means it’s time to watch it. An ultimate agenda or no, a movie made! A full house Sunday. Worth it. Havent regretted a second of watching @vivekagnihotri
— Sudipto Das (@sdnan) April 14, 2019
OMG ? Just watched #Tashkentfiles and the movie is full of surprise that we where never told or studied in schools or anywhere. I request @vivekagnihotri to try to make some more truth telling stories of India that was hidden to us by some so called people’s. #LalBahadurShastri
— Ajay singh (@ajay2u21) April 14, 2019
When @ndtv gives half star, Scroll gives one star, & a reviewer I’d not even heard of, refuses to even critique the movie, you know something is hurting pretty bad. Thinks that’s a good enough reason to go watch the #TashkentFiles 🙂
— Chowkidar Smita Barooah (@smitabarooah) April 13, 2019
Trailer: Also watch: YouTube Trailer of The Tashkent Files movie: