This review of the movie “Tashkent files” written by me a couple of years back just popped up in my Facebook memories.
Found it as socially relevant today as back then. Being one of my favorite movies , I would like to share it with you all. It’s available on ZEE5.
Tashkent Files – My Opinion
“Tashkent files”… this is one movie which has truly left me dumbfounded. I could have easily missed it as very few shows, that too night shows, were being shown in the capital; which makes you believe that it might not be that great a movie. Surprisingly, even today a movie like “Kalank” runs more shows than such a movie. Went to see something different but didn’t know that it would be so awesome.
It’s gripping, engaging, and makes you aware of the history which has been twisted and distorted by the politicians world over. A total masterpiece. So much research work was done to make this movie happen that Vivek Agnihotri is planning to publish a book on this. An absolute eye opener. A must watch for every Indian nationalist. I strongly recommend this to every citizen of Azaad Bharat. Great execution, superb acting, amazingly crisp direction which makes this minimum a 9 stars out of 10 movie for me. I would love to give a standing ovation to the makers and the cast and everyone involved in the movie.
Did anyone ever wonder why we don’t remember that 2nd Oct is also the birth date of one of the finest, efficient, and the most successful Prime Minister of India, besides Mahatma Gandhi, The iconic Lal Bahadur Shastri. Public is totally brainwashed not to remember him categorically and strategically. It was during his tenure that India won a war against Pakistan. He went to Russia to sign a treaty with Pakistan and he never came back alive. Sad thing is despite being the then Prime Minister, no one listened to the demands of his family of getting a postmortem done.
We owe it to the most honest, simple, humble, and successful Prime Minister of our times. We owe it to his simplicity and integrity. He was the one who gave us the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan“.
The USP of Tashkent Files is its star cast. The protagonist Shweta Basu has done a terrific job as a young journo. She deserves accolades for this movie. Rest of the characters Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Tripathi, Rajesh Sharma, Vinay pathak, Pallavi Joshi are gifted actors who are always a pleasure to watch. Surprise package was Mithun da . He outshone many in his portrayal of a political honcho.
Today onward 2nd Oct is “Shastri Gandhi Jayanti” for me.
Once in a blue moon comes a book, a movie or a series which walks away with your heart and it takes some time to settle down to normalcy. It’s been a while since I have taken a strong liking towards a television series. I am glad I watched The Vineyard, a Spanish show with English voice over on Amazon Prime. This short 10-episode series is based on a book La Templanza by Maria Duenas. It is a historical romance set in the 1860s, between two strong individuals who live in two different parts of the world.
The Vineyard Season 1 Storyline
Soledad (Leonor Watling), an heiress in the family of winemakers marries a widower, who is a wine importer to keep up the family business. Her husband is a very successful businessman in England and builds a huge empire. She leads a good content domestic life in England with her three daughters until her husband is diagnosed with dementia. Her husband’s condition becomes a dangerous predicament when he starts losing sense of time and safety. He fails to recognize people and Soledad is forced to step into the man’s world and take charge of the business.
This is not met with an approving nod by his business partners and his accountants. To make matters worse, her husband’s son, from his first wife, smells the opportunity and plots to take over the entire business and his father’s wealth. To escape the prying eyes and protect the family business, she flees to Jerez in Spain, her childhood home to La Templanza.
Mauro Laurea (Rafael Novoa) is a Spaniard who migrates to Mexico with his two small children after his wife’s untimely death. He works as a mine worker to feed his children and encounters a lot of hardships. But with a shrewd business acumen, he strikes a deal with a businessman and strikes gold in mines. He becomes rich and lives a good life with his children for a few years but his recklessness and his nature to take chances with life steals his fortune away from him. After getting his daughter married and mortgaging his house, he travels to Havana, Cuba for a fresh start and makes some money to pay off his debts.
There he gets into trouble with slave traders, those who import slaves from Africa to Cuba and make profit. He also is tantalized with the charms of an influential married woman, and makes some wrong choices. Desperate to flee from the lady and the slave traders, he agrees to play a billiards match with the lady’s husband and puts his fortune at stake, once again. This time around, he gets lucky and wins La Templanza, Soledad’s vineyard from the cunning lady’s husband, who also happens to be Soledad’s cousin. To settle his debts and secure his children’s future, he sails to Jerez to sell the vineyard.
It is only then these two incredible individuals have their first encounter, in Jerez, when they come together, it is nothing short of magic. But their pasts haunt them and danger comes in their pursuit. Soledad’s stepson arrives in Jerez to kill his imbecile father, the cunning lady from Havana comes to Jerez to claim back the fortune her husband lost in the billiards match. To make matters more complicated, Soledad’s sister Inez, still burns in vengeance and hatred against her sister for stealing her love from her. Inez has embraced sisterhood when Soledad’s husband chooses Soledad over her. But she refuses to forgive Soledad and blames her for her condition. So, when opportunity arises, she tries to steal Soledad’s husband away from her.
Torn between their love for each other and rescuing their dear ones, who are vulnerable, Soledad and Mauro have to face complex choices and make hard decisions. How they sail through this plight forms the crux of the story.
My Observations And Views On This Amazon Original TV Series
It is difficult to come up with a romance which can hold the attention of the audience. Romance is a genre which has a tendency to get stereotyped very easily. This is one of the unique romances I have seen. The chemistry between the lead pair is amazing. They are magnetically drawn towards each other but they also understand the responsibilities towards those they love. Never once does Soledad desert her husband and Mauro desert his children. They are clear on the direction they are headed to. I absolutely loved their attitude towards life. With spectacular visuals, elaborate costumes and brilliant screenplay, this series is worth our time. The screenplay is also very unique, it alternates between Soledad’s and Mauro life after every frame. So, we are able to witness their life trajectory simultaneously and by the time they both meet, the audience is fairly acquainted with their hardships and are already very attached to them and their vulnerabilities. It is one of the brilliant series I have watched in recent times.
The only thing which I did not like is the English voice over, which practically ruins the whole show. They should have let it be in Spanish with the English subtitles. But I did not mind it , this series is a classic and cannot be missed . Give it a shot.
The World of Movies Rating – 9/10
Title: The Vineyard
Based On: La templanza by María Dueñas
Year of Release: 2021
Original Network: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Guillem Morales, Alberto Ruiz Rojo, Patricia Font
Writers: Sarah Streicher, Jai Tiggett, Melissa Blake, Shalisha Francis, Amy Harris, Daniel Paige, Tonya Kong
The Vineyard Season 01 Cast Members: Leonor Watling as Soledad Montalvo, Rafael Novoa as Mauro Larrea, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba as Don Matías Montalvo, Juana Acosta as Carola Gorostiza
Genre: Drama, History, Romance, Web Series, TV Series
Number of Seasons: 01
Number of Episodes: 10
Episode Length: 45-52 minutes each
*Images created from screenshots captured from the series.
We all rely on the news to know about the happenings of the world. The morning newspaper is our every day means to know the current affairs of the country and the places beyond. But that does raise an interesting question. In the good old days, how many of them had access to the newspapers or radio, especially in remote towns or countryside? People would rely on travelers to give them information about what is happening beyond the horizon. The gypsies, nomads along with the wind carried the news from one place to another. News of The World movie introduces a very interesting profession that involves reading the news from the leading newspapers of the world to the people in the remote towns of Northern Texas.
News of The World: Plot
The year is 1870, just after the civil war. Texas, like other states in the US, is trying to stabilize post-war and deal with the changing political and cultural landscape. Some colored men are set free, the Republicans have got their foothold on Texas, but still, there is a rivalry within the party upon the direction the state is heading to, the captives who were held long by the native tribes are being ransomed by the US Army and are set free to rejoin their families.
Captain Kidd, a 71-year-old retired army officer, and a widower has seen it all, participated in three wars, and had owned a printing press. He earns his living in a very interesting way, he collects information from the leading newspapers around the world and then reads all the fascinating information across the globe to the people in the small towns in Northern Texas. People come in hoards for his reading sessions, they love hearing news on what is happening in different parts of the country and love being humored by the enchanting tales which Captain Kidd reads to them.
When he is traveling to one such small town to read the news, he is asked to transport a captive back to her family near San Antonio, south of Texas. The girl is 10-year-old, captured by the Kiowa tribe, and is completely transformed into one of their own. She does not speak English nor does she remember any events of her past before her capture except the memories of her parents and her sister. Captain Kidd and the girl, Johanna, begin their journey in North, near Wichita, to travel down south, where few of her German relatives are willing to adopt her.
Then the story follows the western style, the vast plains, and wilderness of Texas, the raiders, thieves, bandits, chase, and ambush. As they confront a few perils, slowly they begin to warm up to each other, and Johanna starts trusting Captain Kidd and calls him grandfather. He tries to teach her the civilized way of living and she starts speaking broken English with him.
Captain Kidd is initially under an illusion that he is saving her and reforming her, but Johanna loves the free native Indian way of living so much that she finds civilization more binding. But despite their contradicting beliefs, they still bond with each other. In their journey, they meet some really interesting characters. Johanna is looked upon with scorn at many places and is an object of interest to few. They meet soldiers, raiders, thieves along their way and also narrowly escape a chase. When they finally reach the destination, Captain Kidd is left with two choices, can he leave Johanna with her foster family, who are resolute about using her as a slave, or should he take her under his wing, which makes him a kidnapper in the face of law?
What’s Good About The Movie?
The movie is very well crafted and the visuals are splendid. The aerial shots of the vast Texas Prairies are breathtaking. The unruly terrain, the rolling hills, and the hardships of the locals are beautifully captured. I especially loved the enigmatic aura in which the Kiowa tribe is presented in the movie. The lead pair did an incredible job, Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel excel in their roles and get into the skin of their characters.
The movie captures the political atmosphere of Texas in the 1870s very accurately. Texas was part of the Confederates during the Civil War, so some of the views presented in the movie may not be to the popular liking. But the screenplay is crisp, the arguments are stated and noted. The political opinions are just presented, they are neither advocated nor ridiculed.
The movie does deviate from the book in many instances. To start with, in the book, Captain Kidd agrees to escort Johanna because he is given a good coveted 50 dollars to do the job. Whereas in the movie, he is shown to be a kindhearted man who is doing the job to answer to his own clear conscience. In the book, Captain Kidd does not read the local news as he believes that information could be obtained easily from the local public. Instead, he entices the audiences with the news from lands, far far away across the globe.
In the movie, though there is a glimpse of “The Times of India”, Captain Kidd is seen reading primarily from the Texas newspapers and the Federal newspapers. Most of the supporting cast is given little screen time, and they disappear into oblivion once the Captain and Johanna embark on their next stop. Whereas in the book, we learn about the lives of each of these characters in great detail. The captain’s children are not even mentioned in the movie, the chronological events summing up the life of the captain in the movie seem to be different from the book.
My Final Take On This Film
Albeit the glaring differences, my observation is that this is one of the rare instances where it is difficult to choose between the movie and the book. I loved them both equally. The movie excels on its own, but if you want to dig deeper, go for the book. The history of Texas is intriguing and indeed worth your time.
The World of Movies Rating: 09/10
Movie Title: News of The World
Based on: News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Clayton Frohman, Edward Zwick
Screenplay by: Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies
Main Cast: Tom Hanks as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, Helena Zengel as Johanna Leonberger/Cicada
Year of Release: 2020
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure, Western
Country of Origin: USA
Languages: English, Kiowa, German
Running Time: 118 minutes
Production Company: Perfect World Pictures, Playtone, Pretty Pictures, Universal Pictures
Watched the world-renowned Pakistani drama “Zindagi Gulzar Hai” again after a gap of almost 7 years. Then I had become a huge fan of much poised Fawad Khan (which I am even now ) and bewitching Sanam Saeed. That time I was too enamored by the depth and simplicity of Pakistani serials and their discerning and ingenious actors with whom you can relate, quite unlike our own Ekta Kapoor serials which corrupted the whole experience of Indian television viewing.
On a special note, this time my favorite Fawad Khan didn’t look as hot as I thought him to be. Something to do with the change in fashion scenario since then. His clean-shaven, well-scrubbed, just got threaded eyebrows look didn’t appeal to my eyes that much now, as I got more accustomed to the men in bearded looks these days.
I watched it with a more keen eye I believe, as I knew what was coming next. This time I found a few flaws in it which I would like to share with you.
Kashaf was supposed to be a very good idealistic girl (which she certainly was) but I found her too arrogant and rude so many times. Even if the guy is apologizing she doesn’t melt.
Zarun didn’t seem to be a flirt and a womanizer as they were trying to show him. He seemed to be quite courteous and a good decent man in comparison. Something to do with that beautiful Urdu zubaan and Muslim tehzeeb which we used to hear about since our childhood.
What I meant there were scenes where their actions and words were not in coordination.
Sometimes I felt like shouting at Kashaf’s mom and shaking her for all the mental torture she went through throughout her life and still being so good and telling her daughters to still respect their father who refuses to support them (or least he could do is to attend the wedding of his daughter). Though she was the most likable character in the whole serial. But it forces me to think whether such people exist and if they do, WHY?
I have a strong objection to the name “Zindagi Gulzar Hai”, meaning “life is beautiful”. Though what the main characters were doing throughout the serial was fighting for the smallest possible reason. It was only at the end of the last episode that they reconcile and Zindagi really becomes Gulzar (meaning all is well that ends well) out of the blue moon and I don’t know why and how.
But still what I liked about the serial and what made it such a rage was the innocence and beautiful acting by Sanam Saeed, dashing Fawad Khan (an out and out charmer) like a breath of fresh air and great acting even by other supporting actors like Kashaf’s mom, sisters, Zarun’s family, Kashaf’s father, step-mother and a really cute half brother Hammad. The way Fawad Khan gives a dreamy-eyed look to his co-actor Sanam will give even our own romance king SRK a run for the money.
Why Should You Watch Zindagi Gulzar Hai?
What I really like about these serials is how they build each character and go to the minute details. And subtlety thy name is Pakistani drama. Which never fails to impress me. The fights they put up are also from some past experience which they show in a very subtle manner like why Kashaf refuses to share about her loan to Zarun because his mother had commented on their suddenly increased expenditure after marriage and jumped to the wrong conclusion. There are many more such instances.
I wonder whether we can ever show such subtlety in our serials here in India. I doubt, seeing the current trend of Ekta Kapoor serials or Hindi serials of other online streaming platforms which unnecessarily use idiotic sex scenes and cuss words just to increase the TRP which leave a bad taste in the mouth. They don’t realize they are corrupting the minds of a whole new generation.
So in total, I loved watching it AGAIN despite all its flaws. A classic then is a classic now. Still impressed by the finesse and sensitivity of the actors and directors of the Pakistani drama industry. I hope the Indian TV industry is listening.
The World of Movies Rating – 09/10
About The Author:
Hi, I am Priya Mehta, an artist, a dedicated homemaker and an avid movie and TV enthusiast. Just like any Indian, I was born and brought up in an atmosphere where Bollywood and TV were a staple diet. In pre-covid times you’d find me in the picture hall almost every other weekend. Today, you will find me following Pakistani serials when not painting. I tend to pour my heart out when I am touched by a movie/serial and that’s what brings me here.