The Tashkent Files
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The Tashkent Files

Director, producer, and pro-right activist Vivek Agnihotri is known to experiment with different genres of filmmaking. He has ventured into erotica, Midsommar thriller, sports, political dramas and has helmed films like Chocolate, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, Hate Story, Buddha in a Traffic Jam, none of which made much of an impact at the box office. Perhaps it was the activist in him that pushed him to make The Tashkent Files which is slated to release on today (12 April). Based on the ‘mysterious’ death of India’s second prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent (formerly a part of USSR, now Uzbekistan) in 1966, the film explores a possible conspiracy behind the death and claims to uncover the truth.

“A few years back on Gandhi Jayanti, I was flipping through some newspapers and saw an umpteen number Meeting Gorbachev of articles and ads on Mahatma Gandhi. Turning to my son, I quizzed him about Shastri ji and I got a blank reaction. ‘Who Shastri?’ he asked. Out of frustration, I tweeted saying, ‘Don’t forget, today is also Shastri ji’s birthday and hundreds of people started asking me to make a film on him,” says the director, who shortly announced on social media that he would make a film on the “truth of the biggest cover-up of free India”.

While official reports claim that the former Late Night prime minister died of a heart attack, several conspiracy theories suggest that Shastri was poisoned. The theories are bolstered by the fact that his personal physician, who said that Shastri had no signs of heart trouble before, was killed in a road accident shortly after his death. “I have covered all possible angles and theories. El Chicano The film is written in the style of a courtroom drama, where the audience is the judge and they are presented with both sides of the argument,” says the director.

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