Let me try and give as much as a neutral review about ‘Tashkent Files’ as possible. First, congratulations to @vivekagnihotri for making this film because to make a film that questions a narrative by the establishment in itself is a brave thing to do. Also I understand how tricky
it must have been to weave this into a story. It is like walking a tightrope when you have to write a screenplay mixing the historical truth with contemporary fiction. So, when India Today review says that the film is most insightful when it doesn’t intend to be is a stupid
observation, because if @vivekagnihotri has put the dialogue in the script he knows that he has put it there. It is actually his way to either be or appear balanced. Most reviews insinuate that the film shouldn’t have been made because it declares at the end that veracity
of documents cannot be confirmed. But isn’t that the intellectual honesty that precisely leftist intellectuals don’t show? You can’t blame @vivekagnihotri for an honest disclaimer. As regarding the accusation that it floats conspiracy theories, these same leftists love Michael
Moore. Now about the film. The performances by Naseeruddin Shah, Shweta Basu Prasad are very good. But Pallavi Joshi simply excels at portraying a complex character. The motif of the wheelchair that @vivekagnihotri has used is brilliant signifying a historian who’s tied down to
her biases. Pallavi’s is perhaps the most outstanding performance in the film. But apart from Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty’s characters, no other characters have been properly defined and appear constantly confused and irritable. Shweta Basu Prasad is a victim of
a weakly etched character. The remaining characters are sketchy & in the earnest effort to be balanced, Agnihotri has sacrificed the conviction of the characters. This results in some very abrupt scenes. Ragini (Basu) tracking down the Indian spy is one such sketchy scene.
This leads the film to be unnecessarily loud in parts. The young politician’s character is continuously screaming and so is Mandira Bedi’s character. When you raise the volume too much and too many times, dynamics are lost. And yet, the film holds your interest simply because of
its content and the very pertinent questions it raises. There are so many things that were slid under the carpet that things like Mitrokhin Archives are something we are unacquainted with. Why was Shastriji’s residence changed? Why did his regular cook not prepare the meal on
the last day? Most importantly, the Prime Minister dies in a foreign land just after signing an important treaty after a defining war, and why is there no post mortem? I remember my father’s friend died in Hong Kong a natural death and yet there was a post mortem. And here we
have a PM and nobody even thinks that the death should be investigated? Natural deaths of judges cause havoc just because they were presiding an important case here, but nothing moves when a PM dies abroad after signing an important treaty?
Is it impertinent to ask if there was a foul play? “People will be confused by the extra information” is such a ridiculous argument in the era of wikileaks! @vivekagnihotri doesn’t take a step back while asking these questions and full marks to that. I think the music hampered
the storytelling of the film. It was too loud & too busy for my taste. In spite of all this, Tashkent Files deserves to be watched for speaking what others didn’t either dare to speak or dismissed as unimportant. Don’t depend on newspaper ratings for this film. Just go & watch.
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