"When it's the time to romance in the monsoons, go and watch Karan Johar's films. As of now, you watch a film on Lal Bahadur Shastri"
As The Tashkent Files, a film which revolves around the mysterious death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, is all set to be released in the midst of the Lok Sabha polls, director Vivek Agnihotri says it is the right time to bring it to the public. The film is an addition to the long list of political movies set to be released ahead on the Lok Sabha polls this year after Uri: The Surgical Strike, The Accidental Prime Minister and Thackeray. It will be followed up with PM Narendra Modi.
Asked if the timing of the film coinciding with the political fervour was intentional, Agnihotri said, "Yes, that's why we decided to release the film now. Is it a crime? I'm being honest when I say this because the current mood of the public is connected to this issue... We want the film to be watched by as many Indians as possible."
"After this 'Kalank' will release, then you would watch the song-and-dance. When it's the time to romance in the monsoons, go and watch Karan Johar's films. As of now, you watch a film on Lal Bahadur Shastri. Only one party will benefit from this film, 'India wing' - neither Right wing nor Left wing," the filmmaker told reporters.
He was speaking on the sidelines of The Taskent Files trailer launch. Also present at the event were cast members Pallavi Joshi and Sweta Basu Prasad, and members of the former PM's family - Sunil Shastri, son of Shastri and Sanjay Nath Singh, maternal grandson of Shastri.
Sunil Shastri, who was 15 when Shastri passed away, said he believes his father was "killed" and his death was not a natural one. Sanjay Nath Singh echoed the sentiment, saying it was strange why there was no record regarding Shastri's death and why was autopsy not ordered by the then government. "YB Chavan, the then defence minister said a white lie about Shastriji's death in the Parliament," he claimed.
Asked if the late PM was betrayed by the Congress and if the family would like to send a message to the party, Sunil Shastri chose not to answer. Sanjay Nath Singh, however, said it would be "difficult to point the needle of suspicion even today whether it's a dynast or a political party". "I'm an apolitical person belonging to a political party. There might be dots, which refer to it, they are unconnected dots, and with these unconnected dots, you can't come to a conclusion. And that is what I feel, we should search only for the truth, which will come out with the declassification of the files. That's the demand that we'll have to make. With the film, everything will come into public domain. Once that happens, then we can pinpoint who did it," Singh said.
Also starring Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty, Mandira Bedi, Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak and Rajesh Sharma, the film is slated to hit the screens on April 12.