The Tashkent Files

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The Tashkent Files
The Tashkent Files poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVivek Agnihotri
Produced by
  • Haresh Patel
  • Pranay Chokshi
  • Anuya Chauhan Kudecha
  • Vivek Agnihotri
  • Ritesh Kudecha
  • Sharad Patel
Written byVivek Agnihotri
Screenplay byVivek Agnihotri
Music by
CinematographyUdaysingh Mohite
Edited bySattyajit Gazmer
  • SP CineCorp
  • Vivek Agnihotri Creates
Distributed byZee Studios
Release date
  • 12 April 2019 (2019-04-12)[1]
Running time
144 minutes[2]
Box office₹20.84  crore[3]

The Tashkent Files is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language thriller film about the death of former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, it stars Shweta Basu Prasad, Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty in leading roles.

The film released on 12 April 2019 and received mixed reviews from critics. The film became a box-office sleeper hit.[4][5]



The film was announced in January 2018; Agnihotri stated of the film to be country's first crowd-sourced thriller. Principal photography began in January 2018.[7]

In February 2018 he invited from the public any information, book, link or memory related to Lal Bahadur Shastri’s mysterious death in Tashkent to help him solve the 'decades old enigma' surrounding the death of former prime minister of India.[18]

Marketing and release[edit]

First look poster was released on 19 March 2019, and on the same occasion, the release date of the film was announced as 12 April 2019.[1]


Critical response[edit]

Rachit Gupta of The Times of India rated the film with two and a half stars out of five and praised its theme but lamented the lack of talent in its characters, despite a star-studded cast. Criticizing its direction, story-telling and songs, he concluded that:- "It also doesn’t help that the final slide of the movie tells the audience that the authenticity of all the facts displayed in the film cannot be verified."[19] Devesh Sharma of Filmfare gives the film two and half stars out of five and noted the film to be a 'melodramatic' episode with loud and over the top acting coupled with bombastic dialogues. He further notes the film to be biased against a certain political party and that it ought have been launched after the national elections, which were running concurrently.[20] Prashant Sisodia of NDTV India gave the film 3 out 5 stats[21] whilst Shashank Shekhar of Desimartini gave the film 4.5 out 5.[22]

Rahul Desai writing for Film Companion rated the film with one star out of five. Noting it to be a 'PhD. in whataboutery', he noted the film to be "not informed enough to be a documentary, not balanced enough to be a docudrama and not smart enough to be an investigative thriller."[23] Writing for, Nandini Ramnath noted it to be a politically motivated film that did not have any rigor and failed to be an effective conspiracy thriller.[24] Saibal Chatterjee, writing for NDTV rated the film with half star out of five and noted it to be an example of Google search film-making and concludes "Well, the actors may not be trash, but their performances scrape the bottom of the barrel. And the film? If you still haven't got it, it is JUNK."[25] A review over India Today rated it one out of five stars and noted it to be a politically motivated film that did not have any logic and might be easily dispensed with.[26] A review over The Hindu noted it to be an ideological slideshow that exploited Shastri's death to attack left, secular and socialist ideologies and institutions and though based on an engaging topic, was a 'hotch-potch of hearsay, juvenile arguments' that ultimately lend to utter confusion rather than any conviction.[27] Another review over News18 India rated it one out of five stars and noted it to be a politically motivated film with unconvincing arguments and made for a dull watch.[28]

A review in The First Post asserted it to be a politically motivated film and rated it two out of five stars. Noting Agnihotri to neither have the finesse nor the potency to sketch a conspiracy thriller, the reviewer deemed it to be a cheap trick, that was high on hysteria but lacked logic amidst a focus-less frenzied storytelling that did not venture beyond the realms of Google.[29] A review in The Indian Express deemed it to be an ideal fiction film for the 'post-truth, fake news era' that was politically motivated in entirety and consisted of a series of eye-roll moments with unintentionally hilarious dialogues.[30] The Print reviewed it to be a shoddy jab at film-making that harnessed a mish-mash of unformed characters and incomplete plots whilst lacking factual logic.[31] Jyoti Sharma Bawa, reviewing for The Hindustan Times rated it one out of five stars whilst noting it to be disgusting political propaganda that hardly contained any truth and presented nothing new beyond the realms of an internet-crawl.[32] Bollywood Hungama gave one and a half stars out of five.[33]

Anusha Iyengar, reviewing for Times Now gave two out of five stars, praising its story but criticizing its over-the-top dramatization and attempt at storytelling, that was amateurish.[33] A review over criticized the film as an endless cycle of whataboutery, directed by a dedicated by a historical revisionist, which was nothing but an assault on common sense.[34] Manavi Kapur, reviewing the film at Business Standard, noted it to be shoddily written, that was not even worthy enough for a daytime opera slot.[35] Mid Day gave one and a half stars out of five and noted it to be a poorly researched dull work, that seemed to have been wholly derived from internet and esp. social media.[36] Shilajit Mitra, reviewing for The New Indian Express remarked it to be an exhausting head-spin of a movie, that went increasingly weird with the passage of time. Deeming it to be a poorly executed political propaganda, he rated one and a half stars out of five.[37] Stutee Ghosh of The Quint reviewed it to be a prejudiced, amateurish and cringe-worthy film with an uninspiring storytelling that banked on crowd-sourced research and ultimately failed to engage the viewer. She rated one star out of five.[38]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on Video on demand service ZEE5 on 12 April 2019.[39]


The Tashkent Files
Soundtrack album by
Released30 April 2019[40]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
Rohit Sharma chronology
Anaarkali of Aarah
The Tashkent Files
External audio
audio icon Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The music of the film is composed by Rohit Sharma while the lyrics are penned by Aazad, Rohit Sharma and Vivek Agnihotri.

Track listing
1."Saare Jahan Se Acchha"Rohit Sharma, Vivek AgnihotriJayaraman Mohan, Arya Acharya, RJ Archana, RJ Anuraag Pandey, RJ Rohini, Ekdant Kalakshetra, Swara Sharma, Nyonishi Cousins3:42
2."Radha Tori Batiyaan Thumri"AazadRitesh Rajnish Mishra3:42
3."Thumri Jugalbandi Rock"AazadRitesh Rajnish Mishra, Geet Sagar3:14
4."Sab Chalta Hai Rock"Rohit Sharma, AazadGeet Sagar3:50
5."Sab Chalta Hai Electronica"AazadRohit Sharma2:18
6."Sach Chalta Hai"Aazad, Rohit SharmaGeet Sagar2:17
Total length:19:03


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2021 National Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Pallavi Joshi Won [41]
Best Dialogues Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri Won [42]


  1. ^ a b c Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (19 March 2019). "Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Shweta Basu, Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak, Mandira Bedi, Pallavi Joshi, Ankur Rathee and Prakash Belawadi... #TheTashkentFiles to release on 12 April 2019... Directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri... Zee Studios release... First look poster:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "The Tashkent Files". Golden Village. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  3. ^ "The Tashkent Files Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ "The Tashkent Files: Small-budget film's dream run at box office, completes 100 days". The Financial Express. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Bollywood makes bank". The Asian Age. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  6. ^ Adarsh, Taran [@taran_adarsh] (23 March 2019). "Naseeruddin Shah..." (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b "The Tashkent Files: Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty to star in film on Lal Bahadur Shashtri". Indian Express. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  8. ^ Adarsh, Taran [@taran_adarsh] (22 March 2019). "Mithun Chakraborty is #ShyamSundarTripathi..." (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Adarsh, Taran [@taran_adarsh] (22 March 2019). "Shweta Basu Prasad is #RaaginiPhule..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Adarsh, Taran [@taran_adarsh] (24 March 2019). "Mandira Bedi..." (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Adash, Taran [@taran_adarsh] (22 March 2019). "Pallavi Joshi is #AiyshaAliShah..." (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ The Tashkent Files [@TashkentMovie] (23 March 2019). "#OmkarKashyap, a man manipulating situations in order to survive.Trailer out on Monday" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ The Tashkent Files [@TashkentMovie] (25 March 2019). "Vinay Pathak as #Mukhtar An ex-raw guy and a double agent, who knows everything, or does he really? Find out in #TheTashkentFiles trailer releasing this Monday" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Adarsh, Taran [@taran_adarsh] (22 March 2019). "Pankaj Tripathi is #GangaramJha..." (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ The Tashkent Files [@TashkentMovie] (25 March 2019). "#JusticeKurianAbraham, a retired supreme court judge still fighting to stay relevant in present time. Trailer out on Monday" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ The Tashkent Files [@TashkentMovie] (23 March 2019). "How far this former secret agent will go for the truth or will he go against it? #GKSAnanthasuresh" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ The Tashkent Files [@TashkentMovie] (25 March 2019). "#VishvendraPratapSinghRana, a young leader and eminently dangerous if you get in his way. Trailer out on Monday" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 December 2019 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ "The Tashkent Files: Vivek Agnihotri urges fans to help solve Lal Bahadur Shastri's mysterious death". Times Now. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  19. ^ Gupta, Rachit. "The Tashkent Files". Times of India. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  20. ^ Sharma, Devesh. "Movie Review: The Tashkent Files". Filmfare. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  21. ^ "The Tashkent Files Film Review by Prashant Sisodia – फिल्म रिव्यू: द ताशकंत फाइल्ज वीडियो – हिन्दी न्यूज़ वीडियो एनडीटीवी ख़बर". Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  22. ^ Shekhar, Shashank. "A Valiant & Well Researched Attempt to Uncover the Truth with Thrilling Insights..... -". Desimartini. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  23. ^ Desai, Rahul. "The Tashkent Files Movie Review: A Second-Hand History Lesson In Third-Rate Politics". Film Companion. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  24. ^ Ramnath, Nandini. "'The Tashkent Files' movie review: Vivek Agnihotri puts the hysterics into history". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  25. ^ Chatterjee, Saibal. "The Tashkent Files Movie Review: In A Word, Junk". NDTV. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  26. ^ DelhiApril 12, Samrudhi Ghosh New; April 12, 2019UPDATED; Ist, 2019 12:45. "The Tashkent Files Movie Review: Vivek Agnihotri murders logic in Lal Bahadur Shastri death mystery". India Today. Retrieved 12 April 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ Rosario, Kennith (12 April 2019). "'The Tashkent Files' movie review: History in the time of conspiracies". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  28. ^ "The Tashkent Files Movie Review: A Dull and Drab Conspiracy Theory Film". News18. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  29. ^ "The Tashkent Files movie review: High on hysteria and hamming, Vivek Agnihotri's film comes off as a cheap trick". Firstpost. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  30. ^ "The Tashkent Files movie review: This Vivek Agnihotri film is a series of eye-roll moments". The Indian Express. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  31. ^ Pothukuchi, Madhavi (12 April 2019). "Vivek Agnihotri's Tashkent Files adds confusion to many conspiracies over Shastri's death". ThePrint. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  32. ^ "The Tashkent Files movie review: Disgusting propaganda where truth is a luxury". 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  33. ^ a b Hungama, Bollywood. "The Tashkent Files Review 1.5/5 | The Tashkent Files Movie Review | The Tashkent Files 2019 Public Review". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  34. ^ "The Tashkent Files Review: A Life-Threatening Headache Presented by Alt-Historian Vivek Agnihotri". Arré. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  35. ^ Kapur, Manavi (12 April 2019). "The Tashkent Files review: Bit of truth mixed with lies, presented as fact". Business Standard India. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  36. ^ "The Tashkent Files Movie Review: Juhu-Versova ka JFK". mid-day. 13 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  37. ^ "The Tashkent Files review: A tacky thriller that feels longer than the Cold War". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  38. ^ "'The Tashkent Files' – Prejudiced, Amateurish and Cringe-Worthy". The Quint. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  39. ^ "The Tashkent Files". ZEE5. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  40. ^ "The Tashkent Files – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jio Saavn.
  41. ^ "Pallavi Joshi on National Film Award Win for Tashkent Files: This will Definitely Shut Critics Up". News18. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Exclusive! Vivek Agnihotri on National Award win for 'Tashkent Files': I dedicate this award to Shastriji - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 March 2021.

External links[edit]