My 2nd question ever here was Was Nancy Pierpan a spy? (Page Eight) and the first comment that appeared almost immediately was something like "Have you even seen the movie?" to which I could happily reply "Of course I have!" in that case.

Now there is a movie I have not seen and am not sure I will be able to any time soon. There is a line in the synopsis in Wikipedia that intrigues me, and I'd like to track down its veracity.

From Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran; Plot:

As the activities begin, two local spies of the CIA and ISI are alerted and they bug Ashwath's guest house to get the information on the nuclear test. Ashwat and the team manage to prepare the setup for the tests while distracting the Lacrosse satellite. When the material are arranged, Himanshu tells Ashwat to stop the tests due to the political climate. Ashwat nevertheless convinces him to greenlit the tests and distract media attention from Pokhran. This gives Ashwat and team time as they now struggle to complete the tests within a shorter deadline. One day, when a sandstorm exposes the setup, Ashwat and other officers rush to cover it before being spotted by the satellite. They manage to run to the bunker before being spotted, but the spies learn of the test when they view satellite-clicked photographs of Ashwat's vehicle parked oddly. They try to convince the CIA about the tests, but they don't believe them. The ISI Agent calls Ashwat's wife and tells him he's in Pokhran with a woman, after which she arrives at the guest house and mistakenly believes Ashwat to be having an affair with his teammate Ambalika. Ashwat tries to defend himself but she leaves, following which Ambalika learns of this and believes it to be a setup.

I found out about the film while reading about the Lacrosse series of US government spy satellites which use synthetic aperture radar to image the Earth in high detail. Lacrosse (satellite); In pop culture

Question: Would asking "Did the main character of this film really "distract" a US spy satellite? If so, how?" be on-topic since I didn't actually see the film? Would what's shown here likely be sufficient prior research in this case? Distracting a spy satellite is an extraordinary plot device, and I'd never heard of something like this in fact or in fiction before.

Here is a trailer of the film, the Lacrosse satellite can be seen after 00:26

  • Without seeing the film it's hard to clarify what "distract" actually means. Frankly, it would make more sense to take a couple of hours to just watch the movie and see if you can answer your own question. Not watching the movie just demonstrates a lack of fundamental research.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 17:46
  • @Paulie_D the movie is in Hindi which I can't speak, I live in a place where the movie is not likely to be available in libraries or the few DVD stores that still exist, I have no type of cable subscription where I could order it, thus the :...a movie I have not seen and am not sure I will be able to any time soon." If you'd like to say "if you can't see it you can't ask about it" okay, but to suggest "... it would make more sense to take a couple of hours to just watch the movie..." is somewhat presumptuous, no?
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 21:42
  • @uhoh If you don't have the resources, time, or ability to watch the film, that is unfortunate, but we don't need to turn this into some kind of discrimination thing either, I think. With some things this site might just not be able to help.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 22:07
  • @NapoleonWilson ya I understand, the "it would make more sense" felt like a "let them eat cake" kind of thing.
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


I agree with Paulie_D that it's problematic when the entirety of the question ultimately hinges on Wikipedia's specific plot-synopsis, which for all we know might be terribly incomplete or inaccurate. What this comes down to is basically reading a plot summary and asking "does this really happen in the film?", to which the obvious answer is either "yes, or it wouldn't be in the summary" or maybe "no, the summary is wrong". But all in all it is more a question about the summary and its accuracy than the film. And if the question is "how did he do that in the film", then not having seen the film is really just a lack of fundamental research and an answer would simply be a more accurate plot synopsis.

We are (or try to be) not terribly strict on prior research and for some questions you indeed don't even have to have seen the film necessarily. But when you're ultimately asking if or how some specific plot element happens in the film, not having seen it would seem rather odd. If this is all based on a summary you read or heard somewhere, I'd likely be in favour of "unclear"-closing it, since it wouldn't be too different from just asking us for a better plot summary.

But the question doesn't run away. If you happen to watch the film one day and it's still unclear, you can always come back and flesh it out into a precise and relevant question about the film's story. And even better, you have a great reason to seek out the film now and can even take specific notes during the scene and form a really good question out of it (or none if it's explained obviously and satisfactorily in the film, but then you at least spared yourself an embarrassing question ;-)).

  • per my comment I'd like to understand how my situation seems "rather odd". It's a big world and some of us live in different circumstances than others of us. If it's a site policy okay, but I don't think it's ideal to call it "odd" for someone on the planet to come across a synopsis of a film in a different language from a different place without the resources of viewing the film. It certainly doesn't feel odd!
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 21:46
  • 1
    @uhoh Well, I didn't say it's odd for it to happen to someone. I said it would be odd to then ask on this site about the veracity of such a summary you came across without having seen the film. I tried to explain why in the answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 21:58
  • I'd characterize it as "understandable" myself, but of course I'm biased. Anyway it seems that there is site policy on this, so it seems that this question wouldn't fly.
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 21:59
  • 2
    @uhoh Still that's rather missing the point. It might very well be understandable but it wouldn't be all that appropriate. But I'll try to work on the wording a bit further.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 22:00
  • 2
    @uhoh Since I have seen this movie, I will say that if you watch the film, you will know how they tricked that spy satellite.
    – A J Mod
    Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 3:49
  • @AJ I don't want to give the impression that I "tricked" anybody into answering at least the first part: Did the main character of this film really "distract" a US spy satellite? :-) This is particularly irritating because now that I have this much I won't be able to rest until I find out the rest of the story. There are several South Asian people I work with, I'll see what I can find out about ways to learn more. Thanks!
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 4:55

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