The trailer of the much-awaited movie, ‘The Tashkent Files’, by Vivek Agnihotri, which is based on the mysterious death of one of India’s greatest Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri was finally released on March 25.
At the launch event, team OpIndia got the opportunity to speak with the former PM’s son and grandson. While talking to Anupam Kumar Singh of OpIndia, Shastriji’s son Sunil Shastri, and grandson Sanjay Nath shared some of their special memories of one of India’s tallest leaders. They also made some startling revelations regarding the death of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, one of the greatest mysteries of modern Indian political history.
Sunil Shastri, while answering questions during the press conference which followed the launch event of the movie, ‘The Tashkent Files’, first congratulated Vivek Agnihotri for his nerve to touch on a subject which has been hushed up for so many years and then likened PM Narendra Modi to his father. He reiterated that the way his father has made the country proud, Modi has been doing the same.
Notably, Sunil Shastri has pointed out the similarities between the work of PM Modi and his father in an interview last year. This time too, he maintained that PM Modi is raising the honour of India all over the world and is also devising comprehensive development schemes within India.
Recollecting an incident from the past which revealed Shahstriji’s quick-wit, Sunil Shastri recounted that in his earlier days as a Prime Minister, when Lal Bahadur Shastri was supposed to meet the then Pakistan President, Muhammad Ayub Khan, someone told him that how would he match-up to Ayub Khan’s imposing personality since he was shorter and slight in comparison to Ayub Khan who was well built and towering. To this Shastriji said that it was better this way since Pakistan will always lower its head in front of India while India will keep its head high while talking to Pakistan.
Speaking to Anupam Kumar Singh, an emotional Sunil Shastri said that he hopes that this movie would help unravel the mysteries behind his father’s death. Speaking about the killing of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s personal staff in two separate ‘accidents’, Sunil Shastri also made a few startling disclosures which would force one to think, ‘who are those who have been shielding the death of the former PM and why?’
Actress Pallavi Joshi, who has played a critical role in the film speaking to Anupam Kumar said that a son has the right to know how his father was killed and who all were behind one of the greatest mysteries of modern Indian political history.
OpIndia also got the opportunity to reach out to Lal Bahadur Shastri’s grandson, Sanjay Nath, during the launch event of the movie where he too shared his personal experiences and discussed the long hushed-up facts regarding the mysterious death of his grandfather.
Sanjay said that he always wanted the truth to come out, and was glad that Vivek Agnihotri, through his movie is divulging the facts.
He recollected how, in the past, Lal Bahadur Shastri’s close associate, Professor Tribhuvan Narayan Singh along with Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Raj Narayan, Doctor Kunjru, LK Advani had raised this issue in the Parliament to which the then cabinet ministers had lied blatantly and tried and hushed the matter.
He revealed that when Shastriji died he had access to no phones or bells as claimed by the then ministers. Nath stated that as opposed to the claims of three telephones and a buzzer being present in the former PM’s room in Tashkent, there was not even a bell.
He went on to speak about an interview of Shastriji’s wife, Lalita Shastri, published in a National newspaper called ‘Dharmayug’ in 1970. In the interview with Dharmayug, Lalita Shastri threw light on various important aspects which testifies that Shastrijis death was not an ordinary one.
The most important aspect that she revealed was the fact that when Shastriji’s mortal remains were brought back his family was not allowed to go near it.
However, Sanjay revealed that when after much perseverance they finally went closer, suddenly a man from behind came an applied ‘Chandan’ (sandalwood paste) on his face so as to cover the bruises and black marks on Lal Bahadur Shastri’s face.
This, he said, raised a pertinent question, who were the people behind this and what were they trying to shield?
Sanjay raised many other questions like why there was no inquiry commission set up to look into this matter? why an autopsy was not conducted on the former PM who died under mysterious circumstances? Sanjay hoped that these questions which remained answered till now will be brought to the fore again soon through Vivek Agnihotri’s undaunted efforts.
Lal Bahadur Shastri had died in Tashkent after he suffered from a massive heart attack, hours after signing a declaration with Pakistan President Muhammad Ayub Khan after the 1965 Indo-Pak war. His death has raised various questions, as it had occurred on foreign soil and remains a mystery till today.
The mysterious case had gained some traction last year as the Central Information Commission (CIC) stated that all ‘classified papers’ relating to the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death should be placed before the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to take a call on their declassification.
Meanwhile, set to hit the theatres on 12th April 2019, the movie, ‘The Tashkent Files’, puts the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri as the ‘biggest coverup’ of Independent India. The movie is also deeply embedded with political themes in the current era as Pankaj Tripathi says enigmatically, “A Prime Minister is poisoned, the Parliament is attacked, blasts occur at Mumbai but Ssshhh! Don’t say anything. Secularism!”
At another point, Vinay Pathak says, “Capturing Lutyens Delhi means capturing the entire country.” Towards the end of the trailer, a character can be heard saying, “This is the land of Truth and Ahimsa, this is the land of Gandhi and Nehru.” To which, an actor in the movie replies, “Why not Shastri Ji’s too?”