Biographical thriller The Tashkent Files, which is about the death of former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, is set to release on April 12. Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, the movie will try and unravel the real reason behind the mysterious death of Shastri in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). The film will star Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty and a host of other stars.
Posters of the much-awaited movie were released on March 19 and March 20, and the description on the first poster speaks of the mysterious death of Shastri. Vivek, who had announced the film in January 2018, had revealed that The Tashkent Files is going to be the country’s first crowd-sourced thriller.
A second poster was released on March 20, which shows a picture of Shastri at a public gathering at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi in 1965. The poster held the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kisan.
Vivek, who had worked with senior journalist Kuldip Nayar on the project, had in an earlier email interview with IANS recalled a meeting he had with Kuldip.
“For my film on Shashtri’s mysterious death in Tashkent, we had figured out that the key of this mystery lies with Kuldip Nayar as he was the only witness to the whole episode. I knew that he knows more than what he has spoken or written about Shashtri’s death,” he had revealed.
Vivek chased the journalist for almost a year to get the story and finally received a call from Kuldip to meet immediately. The former said the latter had a lot of material ready for him.
“I was shooting in Connaught Place. He said ‘I want to talk now’. I have no idea what made him change his heart, what made him break his own silence,” he recalled.
“His memory was razor-sharp, he was full of humour and energy. Despite his drooping shoulders and wrinkled face, he carried an inspiring energy and commitment to his profession. When I asked him, what made him talk on this sensitive issue after so many years, almost at the fag end of his life, he said ‘I have some unfinished works. Let me finish them’,” Vivek revealed.
In the search for information on the topic, Vivek had in the interview last year said he changed the film’s script after talking to Kuldip.
“In his typical manner, Kuldipji shared some information which made us even change the script because this information is nowhere available. I told him I have filed several RTIs. He said, ‘Even if you put people in jails, some secrets will never come out’. Why? And that became an important part of the film. Then came a surprise. He broke his silence after 50 years on a vital angle of Shashtri’s mysterious death. This made us change our entire climax,” he had stated.
“He trusted me with a vital secret. I hope I can do justice by presenting it the way he had visualised. I hope the film The Tashkent Files brings out the truth that took Kuldip Nayar 50 years to speak,” he had added.
Shastri died in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, then under Soviet control, soon after signing a peace pact with Pakistan to end the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He was the first person to be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
Apart from Naseeruddin and Mithun, the movie will also star Shweta Basu Prasad, Mandira Bedi, Pallavi Joshi, Rajesh Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Pankaj Tripathi, Prakash Belawadi, Achint Kaur, Yusuf Hussain, Prashant Gupta, Ankur Rathee.