On 10th January 1966, the Tashkent Agreement was signed, bringing the 1965 Indo-Pak war to an end. That’s what most of the people in our country have been reading in history textbooks since the last 40 years. As it is said, education shapes the consciousness of our society. Facts and fiction, however, seem to have a thin thread separating them when it comes to certain historical personalities.
The crux of the point here is to talk about the mysterious death of Shree Lal Bahadur Shashtri. He was a well-known freedom fighter from the Congress party who was a man of simplicity and virtue; a reminder of those old Roman senators, who in the traditions of the Patres Conscripti, gave up the luxuries of life for the public good. Once when he was railways minister, a train accident happened in 1956 and he had summarily resigned from his post. Such were the earliest traditions of the Indian politicians of this august republic which we don’t even find today. The average respect for a politician has precipitously declined in today’s time of blitz news coverage media and social network selfie profiles.
In the context of today’s time, we sought to understand what went wrong during the hours preceding 2:00 am, 11th January 1966 when he breathed his last. Since a long time, efforts were being made to declassify the documents related to his post-mortem but to no avail. Anuj Dhar, a well-known declassification activist had sparked interest in this topic after he made an RTI query to reveal the declassified ministry reports on Shashtriji’s death. Our country has a very terrible record when it comes to declassifying secret documents. The civilian discourse is the only driving force which seeks to uncover the truth in today’s time.
Which is why, after our project Buddha in a Traffic Jam, we at SP Cinecorp took it upon ourselves to play our part as a film making entity driving the social forces of change through the cinematic medium. There’s a great saying,” A film, even if politically relevant, is useless if not made well.”
After we came across Vivek Agnihotri’s script, we felt his vision matched ours as it was meticulously well researched and was with inputs from the man on the scene of Shashtriji’s assassination, i.e. Kuldeep Nayar. We want The Tashkent Files to be like a continuous historical montage of India covering the decades of lies told to us and to reveal the hidden forces who attempted to stifle India’s progress which have major implications today. We want to open the eyes of the public. And for us, what better way to do this than through films.
We were interested in initiating a public discussion on the death of Lal Bahadur Shashtri which has been a stuff of conspiracy theories and we were interested to create a fictitious forum, a gathering of the intellectual, bureaucratic and intellectual class where we have archetypical characters having a discussion and debate on the myriad issues related not just to Shashtriji’s assassination but also other things like assassination of Dr. Homi Bhabha, the myth surrounding Subhash Chandra Bose, Mitrokin Archive, etc.
We hope you will watch our film The Tashkent Files and see for yourself.