“When my performance in and as ‘Main ATAL Hoon’ has been so well-appreciated, I need not know the box-office figures,” insists twice 'National Award' winner Pankaj Tripathi by Chaitanya Padukone

For the first time ever, viewers get a taste of the romantic side, rather the romantic-poetic side to Vajpayee. It’s perhaps a first for Pankaj Tripathi too. Vajpayee remained a ‘bachelor’ all his life,

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Main ATAL Hoon

Amar Rahe--‘Bharat Ratna’ Atal Bihari Vajpayee-jee! Three times PM of India creative poet, revered statesman, kind-hearted yet tough gentleman! Producer Vinod Bhanushali and Hindi debutant talented director Ravi Jadhav have often said that they wouldn’t have made Main ATAL Hoon if two-times National Film Award winner Pankaj Tripathi had turned down the role. The actor admits the film required him to do soul-searching. He didn’t take up any other project, as he was fully invested in understanding the leader. “You can’t mimic such a glorious man. So, I met my drama school teachers to understand how to go about this. The film gives you an insight into the rational thinking of the PM.  Movie Main Atal Hoon is not a fictional tale, but a realistic slice-of-history. There is an added responsibility of loyalty to reality, because a legendary national leader’s vast life is being put into a two-hour film.”  The movie Main Atal Hoon has managed to merit a decent total box-office collection which is steadily racing towards Rs 10 Crores plus, ever since its release ( Jan 19th) last Friday.

“Originally, we were planning to release our movie around Dec 25th, 2023, which is Atal-Jee’s birth anniversary. But it seems as if destiny decided that we release it on Jan 19th, 2024, just before the Ayodhya Ram Mandir idol consecration and pre-Republic Day festivities. Because ‘Main Atal Hoon’ has relevant religious brief scenes relating to  Lord Rama-bhoomi in Ayodhya and also has strong patriotic ( desh-bhakti) sentiments, “ explains producer Vinod Bhanushali who was present at the Cinepolis theatre after the press-show-preview of Main Atal Hoon.   

Whilst there have been many who’ve mimicked Vajpayee, on TV shows,  it is only Pankaj Tripathi who has come close to perfectly portraying the late BJP stalwart-leader. Tripathi's real-life wife, Mridula shares her birthday with the legendary leader Vajpayee-jee.. Maybe, Tripathi was destined to play A.B. Vajpayee the day he married Mridula.  Versatile actor Tripathi is flawless in his body language, tone, facial expressions, hand gestures and the famous ‘pauses’ during his inspiring speeches  As Tripathi himself stated after the press show, more than physical, he has tried to bring out the saatvik roop [virtuous] of this character. Tripathi imbibes the Vajpayee virtuosity in his portrayal. This Main Atal Hoon act is not just a bio-pic its also the finest authentic performance in a biographical film.

For the first time ever, viewers get a taste of the romantic side, rather the romantic-poetic side to Vajpayee. It’s perhaps a first for Pankaj Tripathi too. Vajpayee remained a ‘bachelor’ all his life, but the poet is shown attracted by a Rajkumari [Ekta Kaul] who was in awe of his writings. The director has gracefully  depicted their sensitive platonic friendship and give honest, frank dialogues to the PM’s screen-character

In the past, he has headlined films as the leading man, including the hit OMG 2 (2023) and Kadak Singh (2023). Tell him it’s his mainstream hero moment, and he says he cares little for such terminologies. “I’m really grateful for the love and awards we got for OMG 2 and previously for MIMI. But fame, commerce and love are by-products that may or may not come one’s way. What matters to me is the sincerity with which I do a film. I don’t want to know my movie’s collections or keep frequent track of it..  Its presence doesn’t give me joy, and its absence doesn’t dishearten me either. I’m an actor and all I know how to do well is act. And my realistic performance in the title-role and the movie historic content has been well-appreciated” Main Atal Hoon is one of those rare films wherein Pankaj Tripathi was initially unsure whether he could do justice to the role. Portraying the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, after all, is a big responsibility. So, what made him give his consent to the biopic? Intent, he says. “The man’s intent supersedes everything else about him. He believed in democracy. Since he was a writer-poet, everything was approached with empathy. He could oppose someone, but there was never any bad blood. He was loved by everyone, and the core of such a man is important to know in today’s divisive times,” states the perfectionist actor Tripathi

After his ‘Atal’ movie Tripathi now has more upcoming projects ‘Stree2’, Metro Enn Dino’ and  Criminal Justice 4; But before that, he feels he needs a well-deserved vacation and hopes he is able to take a  two-week de-stressing holiday break-.

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