The Tashkent Files Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and a half stars)
Star Cast: Shweta Basu Prasad, Mithun Chakraborty, Pankaj Tripathi, Pallavi Joshi, Mandira Bedi
Director: Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri
NOTE: Before moving forward to the main review, please note, I’m a political illiterate and have a pretty little Google knowledge about Lal Bahadur Shastri’s case. So, I’ll just talk about how the movie is without pointing out the ‘factual’ errors in the film.
What’s Good: The in-room sequences and the debates holds your attention but it’s not for the majority of the time, there comes the ‘What’s Bad’ section – read below
What’s Bad: Poor editing and the protagonist’s character has way too many flaws and the credit goes to mediocre writing
Loo Break: The movie is 144 minutes long and there comes a time when you’re forced to take one
Watch or Not?: Watch it only if you have any idea about the case and you are a sucker for political dramas because whatever information the makers feed you, could be too much to sink on
It starts with a political journalist Raagini (Shweta Basu Prasad) getting slammed by her boss for not finding a worthy scoop. Very conveniently, in the next scene, she gets a call from an unknown who offers her a ‘life-changing’ scoop as a birthday gift. Raagini, who by now, has already been accused by her boss for posting fake news in order to garner more social media attention, starts researching about that scoop. The caller asks her to expose the apparent most mysterious death of the Indian history, of Lal Bahadur Shastri.
She goes home open her laptop which has a ‘Search’ engine instead of Google, does the research and gets it printed. This spreads and politicians get in the radar of public asking questions. This led to a high profile investigation committee called political leader Shyam Sundar Tripathi (Mithun Chakraborty). Along with few publicly prominent figures, Raagini, too, gets to be a part of that committee. With the ‘war of narratives’ going in that room, everyone has a different agenda/theory regarding the case and they scream a lot.
The Tashkent Files Movie Review: Script Analysis
The film, definitely, is well-researched; now is it all the Google stuff? Or there were some real efforts in accumulating all this information – I’ll leave that on those who will watch the film, please let me know. The courtroom scenes are intriguing (without any agenda, I was totally into some scenes) and thankfully there’s a little bit of comic relief in between (was it unintentional? Don’t know, but it was there).
The screenplay of the movie is extremely poor! The outdoor shots are taken hand-held and that just disturbs you while watching them. The indoor scenes are shot properly but because of the setup, it gives you a high 12 Angry Men hangover. The one thing that’s understandable is, the director chose 10 people to amass different theories about the case and then criticize them all to end it with the one he wanted.
For example, a certain xenophobic leader played by Pankaj Tripathi shamefully passes racist comments about a Muslim cook but then he gets the bashing by Chakraborty’s actor to nullify the same. In this way, there are a lot of things said but none of them convinces you to stay afloat.
The Tashkent Files Movie Review: Star Performance
Shweta Basu Prasad, time and again, has proved she’s a fine performer. She still hasn’t reached her peak yet because of her still awaited due. She is good as this journalist on the quest of digging up proofs to solve a mystery, but the problem is it’s very uni-dimensional. Mithun Chakraborty hams… a lot, yes his character demanded the same but after a point of time, it just gets annoying.
From the supporting cast, Pankaj Tripathi and Prakash Belawadi bring in the humour in some scenes. Naseeruddin Shah is wasted, Mandira Bedi and Pallavi Joshi don’t leave any mark apart from screaming their hearts out in some sequences.
The Tashkent Files Movie Review: Direction, Music
Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s direction is very disjointed, it’s all over the place. Unwanted slo-mo sequences, uncalled-for drama create chaos. For a political illiterate like me, the information at times gets too much to consume. There are some scenes in which the zooming was very abruptly used making it look very amateurish.
The less we talk about the background score, the music, the better.
The Tashkent Files Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, The Tashkent Files consumes too much of information, how much of that is true? It intrigues you at places but it drags too. It’s a shoddily directed, relying on a few good performances and a poorly edited film.
Two and a half stars!
The Tashkent Files Trailer
The Tashkent Files releases on 12th April 2019.
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