“Main Atal Hoon” is based on the life of former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pankaj Tripathi stepped into the role of P.M. in this film directed by Ravi Jadhav. Ravi is a National Award winning director, who has films like Nude, Balak-Palak in his kitty. He has written this film along with Rishi Virmani.

The story of the film begins in the year 1999, where Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Pankaj Tripathi), as the Prime Minister, is talking to the chiefs of the three armed forces regarding the actions of Pakistan. The story progresses and through flashbacks takes you to Atal ji’s childhood, where he is afraid of reciting poetry in front of children and teachers. Gradually Atal grew up and his life started taking new turns and this is how his political journey also began.

The film captures Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s story from his childhood to his victory over Pakistan in the Kargil war and the test of the atomic bomb in Pokhran. From this you will get to know what kind of person Atal Bihari Vajpayee was, what was the meaning of life and country for him, how he used to convey his thoughts to people through poems. This film gives you a glimpse of the life he lived as a poet, a student and a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Whenever a director decides to make a biopic, the biggest challenge he faces is how to present the information in a different way. And when it is about someone like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, about whom people already know every big and small aspect, the challenge before the director was whether he could show something different or in a more interesting way or not. Ravi Jadhav took efforts and did research which are visible on the screen to a great extent but it’s just not as effective as it should have been. There are a lot of shortcomings in the film. Its first half bores you a lot. The movie picks up the pace in the second half but then it is rushed. Very little part of the story has been explored well.

If there is anything in the film which is above average it has to be Pankaj Tripathi’s performance as Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pankaj Tripathi has devoted himself completely to playing a character whom the people of this country loved beyond party politics. Pankaj Ji has captured a lot of Vajpayee – like expressions, hand gestures and his style of delivering punchlines by narrowing his eyes in front of the camera. Once he gets into the rhythm of the character, Pankaj Tripathi is not seen again in the entire film. It’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee all the way and this is the pinnacle of his acting.

The film has a long list of co-actors. Its casting director has also worked hard to find actors according to the characters. The actors playing Advani and Sushma Swaraj become recognizable only by taking the names of the characters they are playing, this is the weakness of casting. But, the one actor whose selection in the entire film has been perfect after Pankaj Tripathi is actress Ekta Kaul. While Ekta, in the role of Rajkumari, Atal’s first and last lover, has given the audience the opportunity to get drenched in the rain of love. Her character in the film comes as a surprise to the audience and after the film is over, if anything else is remembered apart from Pankaj Tripathi’s acting, it is Ekta Kaul only.

Overall “Mai Atal Hoon” is a below average attempt to show Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s life. The good part is the story has been presented with complete truth without tampering with the facts. It’s just that the elements that keep the story together are missing. There is no moment in the film which sticks in your mind once you get out of the theater.

“Main Atal Hoon” is now running in theaters near you.


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