Main Atal Hoon attempts to showcase the life and political journey of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. With Pankaj Tripathi in the lead role, expectations were high for a nuanced portrayal. Unfortunately, the Ravi Jadhav directorial fails to fully capture the complexity of the man, settling instead for a superficial glossing over of history.
Story and Direction
The linear narrative starts with Vajpayee’s early political days and RSS membership, leading up to his rise as Prime Minister. But the script provides little insight beyond external mannerisms. The first half plods along without narrative momentum as Vajpayee makes speeches. The second half picks up marginally during his PM tenure, but even then, pivotal historical events get cursory treatment.
This glossing over of complex chapters suggests reluctance to engage with controversial aspects of Vajpayee’s legacy. The film appears more propaganda piece than insightful biopic as it highlights the positives while sidestepping gray shades.
Pankaj Tripathi is the saving grace, perfectly emulating Vajpayee’s voice and oratory flair. But the script restricts his ability to dig deeper into Vajpayee’s persona. The supporting cast has half-written roles and remains underutilized.
The production design lacks textures that could have brought eras to life. Ravi Jadhav’s capable direction doesn’t display signature flair. The background score is overbearing at times.
Main Atal Hoon feels like a wasted opportunity for nuanced political drama that contemporary audiences now welcome. Pankaj Tripathi brings dignity to his performance but the lopsided writing reduces Vajpayee’s life into a Wikipedia highlight reel. For the definitive biopic this influential leader deserves, we must hope a more courageous filmmaker steps up.