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Ashdoc's movie review---The Tashkent files


Movie Critic
Jul 19, 2011

In 1965 , after the successful Indian resistance to Pakistani aggression a conference was organised in Tashkent in the erstwhile Soviet Union to broker peace between the two rivals . After the conference Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri suddenly died and the reason officially given was heart attack as he had already suffered twice due to it . But his sudden death in midst of peace conference in a foreign country after war has led to conspiracy theories that his death was not natural .

Cut to the present day . Shweta Basu Prasad plays Raagini Phule , a young attractive female journalist . One day she receives a phone call and some documents asking her to re investigate the death of Shastri . She gets approval of her boss and her story about Shastri's death being suspicious gets headlined in the newspaper she works for . Due to the resultant publicity , a committee is formed to reexamine the facts behind Shastri's death . It is headed by Tripathi , a politician played by Mithun Chakraborty .

Raagini presents some facts saying that the death of Shastri was not natural , and arguments and fights soon break out between members of the committee . Some members are adamant that nothing unnatural happened with Shastri while others are sure that there was some foul play . Raagini goes to Tashkent where she meets a former spy who gives her some facts raising suspicions about the death .

Back home Raagini is stalked and threatened by people not wanting her to discuss more about the death . This makes her even more determined to unmask the truth about the death . She makes presentations in which former journalists of that era and Shastri's son Anil say that they are suspicious about the death . Raagini quotes former KGB spies who say India was awash with KGB spies after Shastri's death , and that both CIA and KGB tried to buy politicians during the post Shastri era . She says that the one person who could have stopped this total buyout of the country's political system due to his utter integrity was Shastri . Here was a politician who had changed his surname because he did not believe in the caste system and because that surname told his caste . He had driven around in a car taken on government loan because he was utterly non corrupt therefore could not afford his own car .

Raagini says that after Shastri's demise India came into the Soviet orbit and the word socialist was added to it's constitution when all opposition leaders were in jail . The death of Shastri also benefited the Nehru Gandhi family and Shastri could have stopped all this . Hence he was put out of the way by those who benefited by his death---both the foreign power and Indian politicians . As she goes on proving this , her tone grows more emotional and she seems to be losing control maybe because of the tremendous pressure and stress she is under after her face is blackened by a mob .

At the end of the movie she realises who had sent her the documents and made the phone call to her to raise the issue of Shastri's suspicious death . The person tells her that he did it to get political advantage over his rivals , and that such things have to be done to gain power for without power in hand nothing can be done for people's benefit . So it is obvious from the people targeted by the movie ( the opposition who else ) that the movie has been made with the ruling party's blessing in such a way that will benefit the ruling party . At least one has to give full marks to the director for being unabashed about his intentions at a time when the country is in national election mode .

Acting , background music and songs , photography and colours are all okay . The ruling party's fans will cheer the movie while the opposition supporters will fume , what else....

Verdict---Okay .

Two and a half stars out of five .
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