The Tashkent Files : Movie Review

Review Nov 19, 2020

The movie starring Shweta Basu Parsad as the main lead along with an ensemble cast featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty, Pallavi Joshi, Pankaj Tripathi, Mandira Bedi and more is directed by Vivek Agnihotri.

The movie claims to unearth the truth of the former Indian prime minister’s death in Tashkent in the Soviet Union on January 11, 1966, a day after signing a peace treaty between India and Pakistan following the 1965 Indo-Pak War. Official sources tell us that Shastri died of a heart attack. But conspiracy theories about his sudden demise have been fueled by his family and a handful of books down the years.

A young and ambitious journalist Ragini (Shweta Basu Prasad) receives an anonymous tip about a scoop behind India’s ex-Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s mysterious death in Tashkent. She publishes a story in the newspaper, which leads to an official committee being set up by the government to investigate the 53-year-old case. Ragini is added to the committee, and she continues her investigations on the side.

The movie is a very gripping and engaging thriller. It primarily makes us aware of a lot of facts and information about our Late PM. Lal Bahadur Shastris death. All Unanswered questions – shockingly even more than 50 years after his death. The movie takes us through all those questions one by one and attempts to make us think and ponder about the probable answers.

The entire movie revolves with constant debate on whether Shastri was poisoned or it was natural death. The movie put across all the valid evidences which are available in favour or against the motion.

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?

·       His personal doctor and his entire family perished after hitting twice in the road accident, who were in Tashkent along with him.

·       His personal assistant who lost legs and memory in two road accidents, who was also in Tashkent.

Did you know Lal Bahadur Shastri is born on 2nd October 1904? 2nd October is celebrated as Gandhi Jayant, even though it is Shastri ji’s birthday too but even our generation has no strong memory or historical knowledge about him.

I was surprised that the information and facts about his unnatural death were suppressed and hidden from us for so long. There are several other questioning facts in the movie, which were unanswered for decades.

The closing credits of 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.

Ishika Chokshi

DJ Lit Editorial Co-Committe member

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