The latest off-beat political drama ‘The Tashkent Files’, which created quite a furore amongst the Lutyens ecosystem and the Congress has been enjoying a successful run since its release on 12th April 2019. Fighting all odds forged by the Congress, elite critics and disgruntled journalists, the movie has received a special honour, as it secures an invitation for screenings at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In an honoured moment for the movie maker, the first screening will be held on May 18 for President Ram Nath Kovind. Moreover, it has also secured another invitation from the Information & Broadcasting Ministry for a screening to be held at the Films Division May 19.
The writer-director Vivek Agnihotri stated, “So many films are made and released during any given year and only a handful land at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, so by that count it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is a celebratory moment for everyone involved in the film and extremely reassuring for me as a filmmaker.”
Agnihotri added, “I’m beginning to get pre-release jitters and am keeping my fingers crossed that everyone at Rashtrapati Bhavan and Films Division enjoys it. The box-office feedback is out there for everyone to see, so I have my audience’s verdict, but this verdict is equally critical.”
The Tashkent Files, a small budget product was up against a big blockbuster like Avengers Endgame. The film, budgeted at a mere Rs 2 crores, has earned over Rs 15 crores at the box-office. Its IMDB rating stands at 8.5, which is even higher than the blockbuster “3 Idiots” with 8.4.
‘The Tashkent Files’ is about one of the tallest leaders of the country, Lal Bahadur Shastri and his mysterious death. A mystery that has long haunted the nation and questions that have long been pointed at the first family of Indian politics – The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
The movie was hounded by the Congress, which was of the opinion that the movie demonises the Gandhi family. Since the movie cut into the hidden dark secrets of the entitled family it evidently irked the liberal ecosystem as well. The movie critics had shunned the movie saying that it was not worth their time and effort.
In fact, when we approached Vivek Agnihotri to get a sense of his take on this discrimination meted out at him, he was of the firm belief that he was being specifically targeted by the elites of Bollywood because he has been a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This would not have happened if I had made a movie about Jawaharlal Nehru”, he had added.
Moreover, to add to the perplexities, just two days prior to the release of the movie, the filmmakers had received a legal notice from Vibhakar Shastri and Diwakar Shastri objecting to the release of the movie. They are grandsons of Lt Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Vibhakar Shastri is a prominent leader of the Congress party.
The legal notice sent to Vivek Agnihotri and Zee Studios stated that the movie has been made in an attempt to create unwanted and unnecessary controversy and propaganda surrounding the death of India’s second PM. The notice also asserts that no foul play was suspected in the death of Shastri, saying that the movie is not only the wrong portrayal of facts, but it is also an illegal, incorrect and improper merger of fact and fiction.
Vivek Agnihotri, who has written and directed the movie, had reacted strongly to the legal notice saying that Shastri’s grandsons have been used as scapegoats as the orders are from the top family.
Basically, cutting the long story short, ‘The Tashkent Files’ had struggled its way through the release, as the Congress and the entire ‘liberal’ ecosystem had tried their level best to create hurdles for the filmmakers in every possible way. The film’s success and appreciation only attest to its quality and powerful storyline.