1. The Tashkent Files is all about the other hero born on 2 October
Historical dramas are heavy and often put you to sleep. The spirit of investigation and curiosity takes a back seat while propaganda takes charge behind the wheels, in short, a complete turn-off. In a departure from this boredom, Vivek Agnihotri opens The Tashkent Files, revolving around the mysterious death of India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri. The Hindi film sets out to explore the life of the hero, whose outspoken views shook up world leaders. Even though you may feel like not watching it, we suggest you do sit through the entire film just to understand how well do you know your country. During Shastri’s reign, India defeats Pakistan in a war. The PM then travels to Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, signs a peace treaty, and dies soon after in his hotel room. No post-mortem was conducted, despite his family’s demand. Indira Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister and Shastri gets lost in history books.
The truth, however, is that Shastri never got his dues paid. Here was a man, who in his first two years as India’s PM led the country to win a war against Pakistan, set the White Revolution and the Green Revolution in motion, brought back Indians from troubled Burma and signed a treaty on the citizenship of Indian workers in Ceylon. The selfless patriot is merely reduced to the man who coined the slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan.”
The Tashkent Files corrects that and gently reminds you that India didn’t gain just one national leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October, but Lal Bahadur Shastri too.
2. Who killed Shashtri? The Tashkent Files attempts to answer questions related to Shastri's mysterious death
Why did Shastri suddenly die? Why was his hotel changed? Why was his cook changed on the night of his death? Why did his face turn blue after death? Why were there bleeding wounds on his body? Why didn’t the Indian government conduct a post-mortem for a PM who died under suspicious conditions in a foreign land? Why wasn’t his family allowed to see his mortal remains hours after it had arrived in India?
And finally, WHO KILLED LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI? Because there was never any proof that it was a natural death because no tests were carried out to find out the cause of his death. The Tashkent Files seeks answers for all these questions and many more!
3. India's enemies - EXPOSED
The Tashkent Files draws a picture of India’s geopolitical position during the Cold War. It attempts to indicate a possibility as to why international powers and secretive agencies would want Shastri dead. Above all, the movie sinks its teeth into the widely acclaimed spy files, The Mitrokhin Archives, created from the handwritten notes of Russian KGB agent Vasili Mitrokhin, spilling the beans. It shows how easy it was to lure and bribe Indian bureaucrats, judges, socialists, and others.
4. Bask in the acting brilliance
Shweta Basu Prasad essays a powerful protagonist in The Tashkent Files. She plays a young journalist who takes a keen interest in the past and convincingly portrays her part as she investigates the ex-PM’s death. Naseeruddin Shah, Pallavi Joshi, and Pankaj Tripathi are as usual, stunning and brilliant.
5. The India you never got to know
The Gandhi family has had a significant role to play in the shaping of India we live in today. The film also touches upon the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi to the controversial ties of the Gandhis with KGB.
Rest assured, you will walk away learning more about Indian politics after watching The Tashkent Files, thus, the film is a must-watch for every Indian!
Get in the mood of patriotism and catch Independence Day special movies, here.