Film review: ‘The Tashkent Files’ rakes up a long-dead issue at last

Updated 14 April 2019

Film review: ‘The Tashkent Files’ rakes up a long-dead issue at last

CHENNAI: Much like the deaths of US President John F. Kennedy and actress and socialite Marilyn Monroe, the sudden demise of India’s second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, in Tashkent on Jan. 11, 1966, remains shrouded in mystery. While it was officially declared that he died as a result of a massive heart attack, just hours after signing a peace treaty with Pakistan in the aftermath of a war between the two neighbors, doubts remain. One theory is that he was murdered by the Soviet secret service, the KGB, for refusing to be drawn into closer ties with the communist superpower. Vivek Agnihotri’s latest outing, “The Tashkent Files,” digs into this disturbing question, but still leaves viewers none the wiser. 

At the center of the plot is a young journalist, Raagini Phule (played by Shweta Basu Prasad), desperate for a scoop after her editor lambasts her for posting “fake news.” A character akin to the anonymous source from the Watergate scandal made famous by the 1976 film “All the President’s Men,” comes to her aid, pushing her into the murky world of Indian politics. Phule’s reports force the government to set up an expert investigative committee, including a historian, a scientist and the chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The panel is chaired by a politician, Shyam Sundaripathi (Mithun Chakraborty).

Much of the film’s 144 minutes is devoted to the arguments between the panelists, often turning dramatic and hysterical. Though intriguing, Phule’s character sometimes comes across as exaggerated, including a painful moment when a halo is, quite literally, placed around her head, depicting her transformation from fake news spinner to crusading celebrity. Prasad seems ill-at-ease playing the scribe swimming in shark infested waters — the actor who steals the show is Chakraborty, at first unimpressive and limping, but bursting with depth of character. 

“The Tashkent Files” is a far cry from the kind of depiction of an authentic study “All the President’s Men” offered up, or the more recent “Spotlight” about the Boston Globe investigation into the Catholic Church, but Agnihotri has, nonetheless, raked up a long-dead issue ripe for reinvestigation. It is a start.

Demi Lovato steps out in Jordanian-Romanian designer after engagement

Updated 52 min ago

Demi Lovato steps out in Jordanian-Romanian designer after engagement

DUBAI: American pop star Demi Lovato has been spotted championing a pair of sandals by Jordanian-Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi, who is famous for her signature flared heels. 

In a picture the star shared with her 89.7 million Instagram followers on Monday, the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer was seen wearing Muaddi’s glitzy Naima leather sandals in white during a romantic dinner date with her fiancé, actor Max Ehrich, at the celebrity hotspot Nobu in Malibu, California.

The two-time Grammy nominee matched the heels with a dusty rose velvet form-fitting minidress that had a low-cut neckline and cuffed sleeves.  


Date night at Nobu I love you @maxehrich - also shout out to @brianbonifassi for the pic!!!

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She accessorized her look, which featured a sleek low bun hairstyle, with a pair of golden hoop earrings and a glittery purple purse. 

The 27-year-old star announced her engagement last month on Instagram with a series of heart-warming images of her dreamy proposal.

The couple, who confirmed their relationship in May, celebrated their special moment by a beach in Malibu.

Lovato also shared images of her wedding ring by celebrity jeweler Peter Marco.

Muaddi, whose eponymous footwear label is designed in Paris and produced in Italy, has also been in the spotlight, with the likes of Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber showing off their favorite pairs at a number of star-studded events since the launch of the brand.

The 34-year-old designer, who grew up in Italy, launched her eponymous footwear line in August 2018, approximately one year after departing from her role as co-founder and creative director of luxury footwear label Oscar Tiye.


Kylie @aminamuaddiofficial

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Just last month, the entrepreneur released a limited edition Fenty x Amina Muaddi footwear capsule collection in collaboration with singer-turned-entrepreneur Rihanna. 

Multi-hyphenate “Wild Thoughts” singer tapped Muaddi to design a collection of shoes for her luxury label Fenty back in December, the designer revealed in an interview with Footwear News.

The news wasn’t all that surprising, considering that Rihanna has been a longtime fan of Muaddi’s glitzy footwear.

The singer and beauty mogul would go on to be spotted wearing Muaddi’s designs on multiple occasions, including a trip to Barbados where she accessorized a long, green sweater dress from Jacquemus with a pair of strappy sandals by Amina Muaddi.


Rih & me

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