New Delhi: If ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ raised questions of impropriety against the Congress for having shabbily treated former PM Manmohan Singh, Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Tashkent Files’ will accuse the party of much more than that, the cover-up of the murder of another ex-PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri.

So much more will be the embarrassment for the Congress and that too just before the general elections. An added thorn for the Congress could be the claim in the movie that Shastri had spotted Subhash Chandra Bose and was bringing him back to India.

The trailer of the murder mystery that delves into the deep and dark recesses of how and under what circumstances Shastri died was premiered on Monday at the Odeon Theatre in Delhi.

The peek into the movie, which has been dedicated to ‘honest’ journalists, promises to be a fast-paced plot which weaves together politics, investigative journalism, sentiments and the role of international agencies during the height of the Cold War.

“This movie is not Shashtri ji’s biopic, but about his death. It is a murder mystery. This is the biggest cover-up of Indian history, and we have tried to give his family the truth,” Agnihotri told MyNation after the premiere.


“It has been dedicated to the honest and young journalists of this country who have to contend daily with the bad and dishonest journalists and their cabal. These journalists are on the payroll of their political masters, and hence this is an ode to honest journalism,” he said. Agnihotri himself is a pass-out of the Indian Institute of Mass Communications (IIMC).

“While I was researching for this movie, my assistant and I had practically become whistleblowers. After several RTIs every government department said they did not have the information. But, we persisted and took to crowd research. We solicited everyone to chip in with whatever they knew about Shastri ji. In India hitherto we have lacked the freedom to know the truth,” he added.

Asked about the timing of the movie, Agnihotri said, “The left-liberals will be ruffled, and they should be. I meant it to ruffle that particular ecosystem. And why not, some actors release their movies around Eid, some at 15 August. No one questions them. So why should I not release a movie before elections. Politics is not bad.”

Meanwhile, Agnihotri’s wife and veteran actor Pallavi Joshi, who also features in the movie, said that Indian cinema and Indian people had matured and that was being reflected in such political films being attempted.

“Education has reached a large number of youth, and they are receptive about such issues,” she said.

The movie, so far as the trailer suggested, talks about the commission of enquiry into Shastri’s death, how the commission was meant more for covering the matter up than revealing the truth, how the powers that be at that time wanted the entire thing to be hushed up, and also calls into limelight the demand for probe into the matter raised by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The star cast of the movie is stellar. Nasiruddin Shah, who so far has been crying foul over minorities issues is part of the cast, apart from powerful performances by Mithun Chakraborty, Pankaj Tripathi, Pallavi Joshi and Shweta Basu in lead roles.