Vivek Agnihotri on ‘The Tashkent Files’: People should know the truth

Mumbai: As “The Tashkent Files”, a film on the mysterious death of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, is all set to hit the theatres, director Vivek Agnihotri said people need to know the truth behind Shastri’s unexplained story.

“There hasn’t been a more honest prime minister, such a humble gentleman yet a strong leader, and it is necessary that we know the truth,” Agnihotri told ANI.

Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India, passed away on January 11, 1966, in Tashkent, hours after signing the ‘Tashkent Declaration’, a peace agreement between India and Pakistan after the 1965 war that took place between the two countries.

When asked if by the end of the movie people will know what exactly happened with Shastri in Tashkent, the director said, “I am not a judge or police, I can only make them (the audience) stand in front of truth and then it is up to the citizens to decide.”

Stating that this film is his homage to Shastri, the director said, “If this film manages to bring out the truth of Shastri’s story, I would be very happy. That will be my homage to him.”

After signing the treaty, Shastri mysteriously passed away in Tashkent. It was said that he passed away due to a heart attack. However, his family and followers suspected foul play.

Speaking about the plot of his film, Agnihotri said, “He gave us the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’, started the green revolution and the white revolution, established the nuclear energy programme. He was an economic reformer.

This person went to Tashkent and circumstantially dies there. And when his dead body was brought back, it is swollen, covered with blood and had turned blue. His family, supporters and fans, all asked the higher authorities to send his body for a post-mortem, but that did not happen, instead, he was immediately cremated. It has been 53 years since then. Many iconic leaders including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jayaprakash Narayan, and Ram Manohar Lohia, raised questions about Shastri’s death, but no answer. People should know the truth.”

The murder mystery stars Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Shweta Basu, Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak, Mandira Bedi and Pallavi Joshi in the lead roles.

The film is slated to hit the screens on April 12.