The movie “Main Atal Hoon“ directed by Ravi Jadhav, is a portrayal of the life of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a great political leader whose career is a textbook example of principles and leadership. Although Ravi Jadhav is known for his masterclass in movies like Natrang and Balgandharva, this movie is not up to the same level. Balgandharva was a classic debut that took Ravi Jadhav to the next level, but he then went into the commercial zone with movies like “Balak Palak”, “Time Pass 2”, and “Rampaat”. He made a strong comeback with movies like “Nude” and “Ananya” before going back to Bollywood again after “Banjo”. However, Main Atal Hoon falls short of cinematic achievement due to flaws in filmmaking. Although the tale of Atal Ji is historically accurate and can be checked with old footage on the internet, the cinematic execution isn’t that good. The movie has some strong speeches and engrossing drama, but it lacks the finesse of good filmmaking.
The film is based on the life of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It begins with Atal’s childhood, where he was afraid of giving speeches in school. His father advises him to focus on the main context rather than trying to memorize them and make his mind stable. The boy takes his father’s advice and gives an impressive speech at a school function. He makes a promise to himself to learn things and remember them for a lifetime.
After a few years, Atlaa (Atal) joins RSS and dedicates his youth and life to the organization’s services. His love life ends soon, and he moves to Kanpur for law studies. After India’s independence, he joins the Akhil Jansangha party, backed by the RSS, which later transforms into the Janta Party and then the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). The movie explores all his political activities, struggles, decisions, and personal life to some extent until he takes the oath as the 10th Prime Minister of India.
Ravi Jadhav and Rishi Virmani have made sure that nothing in their film, “Main Atal Hoon,” will be called fake. They have taken notes from all historical events, including the famous Ram Leela Ground meeting, Vajpayee’s bitterness in the parliament due to receiving only one vote, his viral comment to a Pakistani journalist who asked for Kashmir, the Pokhran Test, the Babri Masjid incident, Operation Blue Star, and many other national and political events. The film aims to create a mirror image of every event and successfully convinces the audience to believe them as real ones.
However, the film lacks powerful scenes or better yet, scene-making, which is the fault of the screenwriter and director, in my opinion. Although every big political event in Atal Ji’s career was important, the film needed a marathon runtime to cover all these things, but the presentation could have been more fascinating and gripping. Unfortunately, the film and screenplay faltered while exploring these things on the big screen.
Pankaj Tripathi plays three different looks in the movie, out of which he performs well in two of them. However, in one of the looks, the prosthetics used are clearly visible and create problems for him. Another point to be considered is that Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s personality and style were very unique, and it’s difficult to recreate them without making it obvious that someone is just mimicking him. Despite this, Pankaj Tripathi manages to leave an impact in some scenes. However, it’s humanly impossible to imitate Atal Ji’s style without giving any vibes of mimicry.
On the other hand, Raja Rameshkumar Sevak looks exactly like L. K. Advani, and the casting director and make-up artist deserve praise for their unbelievable accuracy in recreating the characters. Every character in the movie looks cinematically real, be it Pramod Mahajan (Harshad Kumar), Shyamaprasad Mukherjee (Pramod Pathak), Sushma Swaraj (Gauri Sukhtankar), Deendayal Upadhyaya (Daya Shankar Pandey), or Golwalkar (Prasanna Ketkar). However, the appearances of Indira Gandhi (Payal Nair) and Nehru Ji (Haresh Khatri) are flawed. Overall, the movie has great casting with only a few flawed appearances.
Now let’s discuss the negative aspects of the movie’s technical categories. Firstly, the background music is sometimes outdated and overused, even though it may be emotionally appealing. Secondly, the cinematography could have been much better, and the color shades used were too sepia-like. Some scenes seemed to have been captured as stills from the internet. However, the production design was decent, considering the moderate budget.
The director Ravi Jadhav has attempted to make a biopic on Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the greatest political leaders India has ever seen, after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Vajpayee’s life is an inspiration to millions, as he lived a life that was far from the PR-based and agenda-driven politicians of today. Jadhav had the opportunity to make a biopic that would inspire many BJP leaders and party workers. Though the movie seemed a bit propagandized, it was not fake. You can call it an anti-Congress film, but Vajpayee was firm about his views on the Congress party.
Despite its potential to become a legendary film, Jadhav failed to deliver a masterpiece due to his average cinematic skills. Nevertheless, you should watch it to learn about the legendary politician, poet, statesman, and gentleman, but don’t expect it to be a legendary film.