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Vivek Agnihotri movie ‘The Tashkent Files’ initiates crowdsourcing to dig out the hidden facts of Shastriji

 #TheTashkentFiles to became a case-study for every film-maker 

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Movie poster of 'The Tashkent Files' will unravel the death mystery of Lal Bahadur Shastriji through this movie, directed by the award-winning director Vivek Agnihotri
In a first of its kind, director Vivek Agnihotri has released a video in which he is urging the audiences to share details about the mysterious death of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, for his upcoming film titled ‘The Tashkent Files’. Lal Bahadur Shastri ("scholar"), the title was a bachelor's degree awarded by the Kashi Vidyapith, where he graduated with a first-class degree in philosophy and ethics from the Vidyapith in 1925. He was given the title Shastri ("scholar"), but it stuck as part of his name, prior to this his surname was  "Srivastava" (which is a traditional surname for all Kayastha families). Lal Bahadur Shastri was the 2nd Prime Minister of India and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress political party and had assumed prime ministership after the death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru ,  he was known for his honesty, integrity and a person who lived a simple life, a Gandhian by values,  had tough time during his tenure when India was facing oppression internally and externally.

He led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and during the 22-day war with Pakistan, on 19 October 1965, Shastri gave the seminal ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kishan’ ("Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer") slogan at Urwa in Allahabad that became a national slogan. Shastri passed away on January 11, 1966. The war formally ended with the Tashkent Agreement on 10 January 1966; he died the following day in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), after signing the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan at the age of 61, the cause of death was said to be a heart attack but there are various reasons to think otherwise.

Award-winning filmmaker and writer Vivek Agnihotri had announced this project on Twitter on the death anniversary day of the former later prime minister and wrote, “On this day, our 2nd PM Lal Bahadur Shashtri died mysteriously in Tashkent. Was it a heart attack or poison? Even after 52 yrs, the truth of the biggest cover-up of free India has been denied to his family, followers, and citizens. After years of research, I present #TheTashkentFiles” 

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Tweet from Vivek Agnihotri announcing his directorial venture on Shastriji

Announcing its directorial venture, the video begins with Vivek Agnihotri talking about how the seeds were sown for making a film on the mysterious death of India’s second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Further addressing the public through a YouTube video, Vivek Agnihotri said, “In regards my tweet on 2nd October commemorating on Gandhiji’s birthday, I have also stated that how come we forget to remember Shastriji? How come nothing much has been written about him nor have been endorsed about him? I have realized the kids of today doesn’t even know who is he and why was he significant? Today it is our biggest misfortune that when we study about our former prime minister late Lal Bahadur Shastri, we learn that so much of the truth was hidden from us. I appeal to all of you that if you have any information, book, link or memory related to Lal Bahadur Shastri’s mysterious death in Tashkent, I request you to please send it to us at tashkentmovie@gmail.com.”

The director is later seen asking people to share anecdotes, stories, paper clippings or any details they know of or possess related to his death  To top it all, any sort of valuable contribution from people will be given its due credit in the film. This announcement moves away from the conventional mode of filmmaking, the research technique for pre-scripting and screenplay has transformed the process of producing The Tashkent Files movies as the country’s first crowd-sourced detailed thriller where less known facts will be sourced and derived from across the globe, turning this as the world-wide researched work on Shastriji even from the people who were not related to movie making but was keen to contribute to movie-making.

The Tashkent Files’ director Vivek Agnihotri urges people to share details on the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri through a video

It’s the maiden attempt by any of the film maker’s by now, Vivek has created an immense interest in this great person who was instrumental in signing an accord, post to which he has died in a mysterious circumstance which is very much a mystery today that whether it was natural death or assassination?. It is alleged during the signing accord many international forces was present, what could be the reason of his heart attack? The mystery continues till the film is released.

The director has roped in veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty and Shweta Basu Prasad in pivotal roles for the film which will be an investigative thriller, however, the protagonist to play the role of Shastriji role is still under search. Vivek Agnihotri has even stated that this is the most researched work on Shastriji and it is the most apolitical film about a political leader.

As the info, inputs, and scoops flow in, days ahead we will see a lot of revelations happening, political stirrup and chances of decaying-skeletons slipping out of cupboards leading to the opening of various political and personal vendetta driven issues and in a big way opening of Pandora’s box of conspiracy theories. 

A lot of hopes will be latched for the movie release as this is the first time the topic of Shastriji is being discussed because till now the #TheTashkentFiles has been gathering dust in the fear of any political turmoil. However Vivek’s guts in bringing this initiative of stirring the interest of the nation to participate in trying to explore this conspiracy theory or a mysterious theory is no doubt an innovation and an attempt to create a script with multiple authors is a big strategy to create a mass audience for the movie in advance in such a way that the nation becomes the stakeholder of this movie. Whatever the results be, whether the movie succeeds or gets a release certificate?  Vivek has paved a new way where stories and mysteries can be created long before a film is actually being made. His innovative way of this film-making can be a case- study to the school of filmmaking globally in future and once again Shastri's name to be re-written in the annals of Indian history.

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The tweet from Vivek Agnihotri for his forthcoming movie ‘The Tashkent Files’ initiates crowdsourcing for lesser-known facts of Shastriji
Vivek Agnihotri’s tweet has been buzzing since the announcement, the post and the hashtag is quite a fire, one tweet that really ignited us was   "This is my next film dedicated to Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, on his 51st death anniversary. Please support and contribute ideas. #WhoKilledShashtriji” says Actor Hemu Shetty and his friend Masood Akhtar a budding filmmaker.

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