Biopics have carved a niche in the world of cinema, with the latest addition being the Pankaj Tripathi-led “Main Atal Hoon,” released last Friday. Attempting to resurrect the life of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the film, however, falls short of doing justice to the esteemed politician.
While Tripathi delivers a commendable performance, capturing Vajpayee’s nuances, it becomes evident that his acting alone cannot salvage this biopic.
“Main Atal Hoon” pays tribute to Vajpayee by depicting his formative years in Gwalior and his evolution as an integral figure in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The narrative further unfolds his role as a founding member of Bharatiya Janata Dal and Janata Party before his association with the founding of Bharatiya Janata Party. The film also touches upon significant events in his life, including the Pokhran-II tests and the Kargil War.
Tripathi’s portrayal of Vajpayee is noteworthy, particularly in his adept use of hand movements and accent. However, the supporting cast, including Piyush Mishra as Vajpayee’s father, and portrayals of Sushma Swaraj, Pramod Mahajan, and Arun Jaitley, leave much to be desired. Paula McGlynn’s portrayal of Sonia Gandhi with zero dialogues and Raja Rameshkumar Sevak as LK Advani appear as misfits.
One notable flaw in Ravi Jadhav’s film is the overpowering background music (BGM), which at times makes it challenging to hear the dialogues. The echo effect in scenes, such as Vajpayee’s proclamation, “Main Atal hoon,” could have been handled differently to maintain the gravity of the moment.
Unlike Meghna Gulzar’s focused approach in “Sam Bahadur,” “Main Atal Hoon” attempts to cover every facet of Vajpayee’s life within a brief 139 minutes. This rush results in critical events like the Pokhran test, the Kargil War, and the Delhi-Lahore bus scenes receiving limited screen time.
Co-written by Jadhav and Rishi Virman, the film, despite promising trailers, fails to deliver a fitting tribute to the artistic and political legend that Vajpayee was. In the final analysis, it proves to be nothing short of a disappointment.