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A movie On Lal Bahadur Shastri's mysterious death: Tashkent Files

The Tashkent Files: Can Bollywood filmmakers narrate a conspiracy theory without running into any trouble?
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri announced his upcoming project that aims to answer the questions around Lal Bahadur Shastri's mysterious death.

On the 52st death anniversary of our second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri announced his project titled The Tashkent Files based on the mysteries surrounding the former PM’s death. With actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty leading the project, we can hope that the performances in this ambitious project will be more than satisfactory but will the plot be as riveting as expected.

Vivek Agnihotri’s tweet suggests that he is making this project based on years of research and his target is to find the truth behind the mysterious death of the much-loved leader. Since the film is not based on a book, we will probably see the unexplored aspects that surround Shastri’s death. Hindi cinema has seen its fair share of biopics and in many cases, these are based on books. This provides the film with an escape when it comes to controversies as the filmmaker can credit his work to a piece of writing but such is not the case with The Tashkent Files. Given the current scenario, when every film runs into some kind of trouble pertaining to its content or the representation, The Tashkent Files will be walking a tightrope. The political bigwigs and also Shastri’s family will, of course, have a strong opinion on the content, no matter what it is.

Ever since Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death, there have been multiple conspiracy theories surrounding the events that led up to that unfortunate night. It is said that he was poisoned by the butler who was serving him. Some say there were cut marks on his abdomen even though no autopsy was conducted and there are reports claiming that the CIA was even involved in this but like all conspiracy theories, there has been no definitive conclusion of the same.

Even Subhas Chandra Bose’s death led to many conspiracy theories and in 2017, we saw the AltBalaji web series Bose: Dead/Alive that centered around the premise that Netaji, in fact, did not die tragically in the plane crash in Taiwan. While this series was based on a book and was meant for a digital medium, the show did not face any opposition even when it hinted towards the Netaji v/s Nehru rivalry.

We wonder if The Tashkent Files will have this kind of liberty as Shastri was a sitting Prime Minister when the tragic episode took place. So far, no Hindi film has been made on the conspiracies around Shastri’s death and that makes Agnihotri’s film something to watch out for.

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