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The World Television Premiere of ‘Tashkent files’ on 2nd October on &pictures

This year on 2nd October, the entire nation will be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Like every year, the country rejoices remembering our father of the nation, but why have we forgotten that 2nd October is also the birthday of Independent India’s 2nd prime minister and the man behind the vision of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ - Shri Lal Bahadur Shashtri who played a constructive role in the governance of the country. Under his rule, India won the 1965 war against Pakistan but, yet this national hero hasn’t got his due recognition till date. Its time we start thinking why we don’t know much about this man or why haven’t we celebrated 2nd October as Shashtri Jayanti as well over the years. 

Endowed with the title of ‘Man of Peace’ and an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi - Lal Bahadur Shashtri died of a cardiac arrest in Tashkent after signing the ‘peace treaty with Pakistan’ right after the 1965 war. While this news created an emotion turmoil in the country, it also created a storm of suspicious thoughts which also led to a shut down on information flow regarding the cause of his death or any media reports. Even till this date, there is no records of any inquiry into the death in the parliament or with the media. Was it destroyed or Suppressed? Don’t we as citizens deserve the right to know the truth whether his death was due to natural causes or a meticulously planned assassination? 

Delving into the life and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of our former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, director Vivek Agnihotri’s The Tashkent Files asks pertinent questions that takes upon itself the onus of cracking the mystery that kept the whole nation guessing for decades. The movie features an ensemble cast comprising of Mithun Chakraborty, Naseerudin Shah, Shweta Basu Prasad, Pallavi Joshi, Pankaj Tripathi and Mandira Bedi who try to arrive at a closure on this seldom addressed topic. &pictures, Naye India Ka Blockbuster Movie Channel, is all set to air the World Television Premiere of The Tashkent Files on Wednesday, 2nd October 2019 at 12noon. 

Director, Vivek Agnihotri stated, “The idea of making a film like The Tashkent Files came from a germ of a thought when it dawned on me that our 2nd prime minister's death has been an unsolved mystery for the past 50 years. It was a topic that stayed with me for a long time. While I wanted to read about it, I realised there weren't many records which stated the exact happenings. And as a citizen of one of the largest democracies, I had the right to know the truth. So I spoke to people who were witnesses to what happened eons ago and relied on what they had to say. The complete process was overwhelming and it eventually led to some startling facts which in the end became the fulcrum of my script. And while the film kept evolving at every stage, it didn't move away from the core thought and delivered the message it was supposed to.” 

Speaking on the contribution of noteworthy people to Indian History, Pallavi Joshi said, “The Tashkent Files is a movie that commemorates Lal Bahadur Shastri and highlights his doings for our nation. While we have always celebrated the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, we tend to overlook the importance of people like Shastri, Lokmanya Tilak, and many others who spent their lives working for our motherland. With the world television premiere on his birthday, I hope the audience watches the film and learns of his greatness.” 

Elaborating on her role in the movie, Shweta Basu Prasad said, "I was very intrigued with the plot in the first go itself, as it is a very unique concept of probing into a murder mystery or a conspiracy theory. While we have heard of biopics or period dramas, The Tashkent Files is a film that is based on investigating the life of our former prime minster; a matter that took place almost 53 years ago. When I was offered the role of Ragini Phule, I took it up instantly as it was a chance to not only represent the fourth estate of the Indian Democracy, that is the media, but also represent the voice of the youth of our nation. The same voice that doesn't hesitate from raising questions and letting anything deter them from wanting to know the truth. This is a topic less spoken about and with the movie premiering on &pictures, I am hoping that those who missed it in the theatres will watch the world television premiere.”

Raising questions like, "Yeh satya aur ahimsa ka desh hai, yeh Gandhi aur Nehru ka desh hai, Shastri ji ka kyun nahi?” the Tashkesnt Files follows the episode when Lal Bahadur Shastri travelled to Uzbekistan to sign the peace treaty with Pakistan. The plot follows an investigative journalist Ragini (Shweta Basu Prasad), who is privy to inside information and decides to dig deep. The Home Minister (Naseeruddin Shah) sets up a committee that is headed by Shyam Sunder Tripathi (Mithun Chakrobarty), to look into this matter. Looking ate her zeal and enthusiasm towards this case, she is appointed by a panel that is set up to arrive at a definite conclusion of what really happened. Comprising of a noted historian Ayesha Ali Shah (Pallavi Joshi), who has published a book on the entire episode of the death and what followed, a pro-Hindu activist Gangaram Jha (Pankaj Tripathi), who is a retired administrative executive, a socialite who runs several NGOs (Mandira Bedi), an ex-judge (Vishwa Mohan Badola) among others, they address various perspectives in order to unravel the truth. 

How did he die? Was there a bigger conspiracy at play? Why wasn’t the death looked into? Why was the nation kept in the dark? To unravel the mystery, watch the World Television Premiere of The Tashkent Files on Wednesday, 2nd October at 12noon only on &pictures! 

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