Tashkent Files is a movie that was tanked by most critics but is still playing in some theatres in its 6th week. Quite an achievement. So when KC suggested we watch the movie in the theatre, I didn’t hesitate. The movie started with the credits and it has been directed and produced by Vivek Agnihotri, a rabid Right Wing Troll on Twitter who is also a filmmaker. Uh oh.
“Maybe, am biased. Maybe, I should watch it with an open mind. After all, Congress and BJP are two sides of the same coin. Ok, ok, that is not right. BJP is vile through and through and there is nothing good or right or positive about it.”
The movie is about India’s 2nd PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death in mysterious circumstances. He is supposed to have died of a heart attack in Tashkent, the day after the war with Pakistan formally ended. Not everyone is convinced that the death was by heart attack since there are many unresolved questions surrounding it.
A very interesting topic and one which hasn’t been explored before. “The movie has to be good, after all the material is so good”, I naively thought.
The movie starts with a journalist, Raagini (Shweta Basu Prasad) who does not believe in ethics and is on thin ice with the editor for her article which turned out to be fake news. She has less than 10 days to come up with a scoop. An unknown caller gives her an insight into Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death and she decides to pursue the story. The news is big enough to make the current Home Minister (Naseeruddin Shah) insecure when his opposition (Mithun) declares a fast till LBS’s death is not investigated. A committee is formed whose members are a historian (Pallavi Joshi), a social worker (Mandira Bedi), an ex RAW agent (Prakash Belawadi), a retired judge, a youth politician, a few others (Pankaj Tripathi) and the journalist Raagini.
As all government formed committees go, this is a farce too except Raagini takes it seriously. Her perfectly straightened hair, nice dressing sense, perfectly kohl lined eyes take a beating as she delves deeper and deeper into the mystery. By the end of the movie, she has stopped combing her hair, her clothes haven’t been washed in weeks and there isn’t a speck of makeup on her. How do they let her move around in Delhi without any makeup on? Ugh, these Mumbaikers!!! They come to our city and refuse to follow the rules like hippies. No chappals in Khan Market, bright fuschia/deep red lipstick in all malls, hair that takes an hour to blow dry and clothes that are either from Sarojini or a high end mall, most times the former looking more fashionable than the latter. How difficult is it!!!
She also does this weird jogging across Rashtrapati Bhavan. Morning runners either run towards or away from RB, I haven’t seen anyone crossing it from left to right and nobody runs on the grass at India Gate. Mumbaikers!!!
Anyway, Raagini suddenly cares about LBS and his death and can’t believe nobody else seems to give a shit about another PM who died when in power. (I mean, the ones who really deserve to die are electioneering for a 2nd term. How unfair!!!) The last scene is when Vivek’s Right Wing conspiracy theory is all out and he isn’t even subtle about it. Congress got LBS killed because they wanted to come to power. There is no proof because all the characters in the movie are straight out of Twitter. He probably took his entire Twitter/fb timeline, the rabid comments from both sides of the debate and just pasted them here. No dialogue writer needed. After all, if Buzzfeed can do it, why can’t Vivek.
I left the theatre with tears rolling out of my eyes. I couldn’t stop laughing all the way home in the cab. I thanked KC for picking this comedy movie over the play I was suggesting. It has been a while since I laughed like a hyena. All thanks to a Right Wing Troll. I should start following some of them on Twitter too.
Please go watch it if you are having a bad day. Then take note of all the people sitting around you because this is what Right Wingers without a brain cell look like.