By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) Director Vivek Agnihotri’s “The Tashkent Files” released a year ago on April 12, and he recounted the experience of making the film on Saturday.
The story of the film claims to address the mysterious death of late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri by weaving fiction with facts, and it features Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Tripathi, Shweta Basu Prasad, Rajesh Sharma and Vinay Pathak among others.
Agnihotri confesses bringing Naseer and Mithun together in his film was a “big deal” for him. Incidentally, the two veterans had already worked together in four films before “The Tashkent Files” — in “Khwab” (1980), “Hum Paanch” (1981), “Swami Dada” (1982), and “Ghulami” (1985) — but that was 33 years ago.
“Actually, that could have gone against the film if all these huge talents were not utilised correctly. Every actor who came on board, came with conviction. Of course, bringing Mithun da and Naseeruddin sir was a big deal for me. Initially, I was scared. They did not work together for 30 years for whatever personal reason. But when I went to them with the script, we were fortunate that they did the film. Naseer sir smiled when I said that Mithun da will be there in the film. Mithun Da did not say anything when I said that we also cast Naseer sir,” Agnihotri recalled.
In the film, the two senior actors played a pair of seasoned fictional politicians.
The director added: “Both of them are genius and we know that, but their acting styles are very different. Naseer would come preparing every single dialogue, and he likes rehearsing. Mithun da likes to bring spontaneity in his performance. Since their approaches are different I was thinking how would I match up — what if there was tension between two veterans?”
Remembering the first scene both actors that he directed, Agnihotri said: “That scene did not have much dialogue. I realised that as a director I have to make sure I directed them in a way to bring out the best from them. Once I started talking more, there was fluidity among three of us and that translated in their performance. Rest, we can see in the film!”
Agnihotri claims his film is being highly viewed on OTT during the ongoing lockdown. “I think it happened because when the film released, it had a difficult release. We got a limited number of screens because the big-budget multistarrer ‘Kalank’ also released around the time. Our film was a serious one, and many film critics refused to review the film. Surely that affected initially. The bigger win happened with its digital release. People, especially the youth, started talking about the very essence of the story — search for truth and right to truth,” claimed Agnihotri, adding: “Unless you question the system and debate, we cannot remain as thinking individual.”
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)