It seems last-minute legal hurdles to the release of a film are now becoming a norm, even from supposedly sensible quarters. Director Vivek Agnihotri whose film The Tashkent Files shedding light on the mysterious death of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, is to release on Friday, finds himself in a legal soup, and that too from Lal Bahadur’s Shastri’s grandsons Vibhakar and Diwakar Shastri. The legal notice (which this writer has a copy of) accuses Agnihotri of trying to create unnecessary controversy about the death of Shastri in Tashkent which, says the legal notice, was natural (the death, not the controversy).
While Vivek’s legal team is looking into how to get around this last-minute hurdle, Vivek speaks exclusively to this writer about the crisis. “My film on Lal Bahadur Shastri tries for the first time to set the record straight about the quiet hero’s death. What really happened to Shastriji in Tashkent? That is the question my film tries to answer. Shastriji’s grandsons saw the film some days ago. There was not a word of criticism about anything in the film. They loved the film. Then, I really don’t know why suddenly all these reservations have come up just hours before my film’s release.”
Vivek feels Shastriji’s grandsons have been provoked by their parent-party, the Congress-I, to take this action. “What are they frightened of? It is very ironical that the legal notice comes from Shastriji’s kin. It seems they’ve forgotten that Lal Bahadur Shastri was a Congress prime minister.”
Vivek hopes there would be no hurdle to the film’s release. “We have got a clearance from the Censor Board. That is all we need for the film to release.”