The Tashkent Files (2019) – Movie Review

Who Killed Shastri?

The Tashkent Files is a drama mystery-thriller film written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri. The film depicts the conspiracies surrounding the death of India’s 2nd prime minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri.

The film sets in the present time, when a low time journalist Raagini Phule (Shweta Prasad) publishes the article regarding the conspiracies surrounding the death of former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. This article raises the questions amongst masses and forces the government to form a committee to investigate the truth behind this alleged event; is it really a natural death, or a well planned assassination.

The trailer of the film has given the exact idea about what to expect from this one. And this film delivers the same in a really compelling and grounded way. I was desperately avoiding watching this film as it is widely deemed to be politically motivated in light of the concurrent 2019 general elections. But I finally went to watch this film without having much idea about its content, it made me feel how ignorant (I am/we are) about our own political history. The film goes deep into the darkest chapter of our political history. In 1966, when India’s 2nd prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri went to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to sign a peace pact between India and Pakistan. And just after 8 days, Prime Minister Shastri dies of a heart attack in Tashkent.

Even if the film is politically motivated and biased against a certain political party, it does educate the people about that event, which is the most appreciated thing about this film. The film is good at delivering the content but loses the balance between the documentary and the political thriller. Even the screenplay of the film seems dull in some places. If we ignore some of the technical issues and its political motivation the film shines like anything.

The film stars Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty in lead roles. Besides leads, the film also stars Mandira Bedi, Pallavi Joshi, Rajesh Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Prakash Belawadi, and Pankaj Tripathi. The film has got a totally talented caste, and hence we get to see some really powerful performances. Some of the monologues in the film just steals the show.

Verdict : It is a must watch for its hard-hitting content and some really powerful performances.

Rating : 4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgWylHdfIdo

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Omerta (2018) – Movie Review

A Gripping study of Evil.

Omerta is a biographical crime drama film co-written and directed by Hansal Mehta. The film stars Rajkumar Rao in a lead role of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, British terrorist of Pakistani descent. It is the 4th time when Rajkumar Rao is working in collaboration with Hansal Mehta after Shahid(2012), CityLights(2014), Aligarh(2015). The film was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and many other film festivals.

The film follows the life of an infamous British-born convicted terrorist, Omar Sheikh (Rajkumar Rao). The film focuses on the involvement of Omar in many terrorist events which happened over the period of 17 years (1992 to 2008), like 1994 kidnappings of Westerners in India, 9/11 attacks, kidnapping and murder of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 and 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Mainly, it explores the motivations behind the sane youngsters being attracted towards the path of terrorism.

Omerta is one more gripping and offbeat film by Hansal Mehta. The film does not hold back while exploring the darkest truths behind the intelligent terrorism, and the ideology which sparks worldwide heinous acts. In director’s words, the exposes state-sponsored terrorism and how it manipulates young minds into believing a sordid interpretation of Jihad. Rajkumar Rao has ruled the whole film, he has made the evil persona alive on screen, his performance is truly applauding. The film has shot brilliantly, the use of light and sound is very peculiar. The film cannot be considered as a documentary film, but Surely, it is not for entertainment, and overall it is a discussion of a very sensitive and daring topic.

Like any other films by Hansal Mehta, the tone of the film is dark and serious throughout its runtime and is surely not for faint-hearted people. By many viewers, the film can be seen as a glorification of terrorism or terrorists, but in reality, the film can be seen the study of human psychology and characteristics which drags one to walk on a path of evil.

Verdict : A gripping crime thriller. Not a entertaining but informative film, and definitely for everyone.

Rating : 3.8/5