Main Atal Hoon, Day wise Box Office Collection and A Glimpse into Vajpayee’s Legacy


The biopic “Main Atal Hoon,” based on journalist Sarang Darshane’s biography of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, offers a largely fawning tribute to the charismatic leader. While it paints a colorful picture of Vajpayee’s personality, the film falls short in providing a deep assessment, choosing to stick to well-known facts and speeches. Starring Pankaj Tripathi as Vajpayee, the movie presents a great opportunity to understand the genial bulwark behind the rise of right-wing politics in India. However, it seems to play it safe, leaving the audience craving a more insightful exploration of Vajpayee’s conservative mind and the shaping of his worldview.

The Broad Strokes

“Main Atal Hoon” begins with a vivid portrayal of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s early life as a young poet growing up on the banks of the Yamuna. The film captures his unique perspective, where he empathizes with the laborers who built the Taj Mahal. It delves into his encounter with a tea seller on the day of India’s independence, revealing the linguistic challenges faced by common people. Vajpayee’s emergence as the voice of an alternative idea of India is presented persuasively, but the film soon transitions into a routine recollection of speeches and achievements, lacking the depth needed for a comprehensive understanding.

Main Atal Hoon, Day wise Box Office Collection and A Glimpse into Vajpayee's Legacy
Main Atal Hoon, Day wise Box Office Collection and A Glimpse into Vajpayee’s Legacy


Pankaj Tripathi’s Performance

Pankaj Tripathi, portraying Atal Bihari Vajpayee, gives a commendable performance. He skillfully captures Vajpayee’s changing mood, mannerisms, and oratorial prowess. Tripathi reflects Vajpayee’s calm resolve and equanimity in times of crisis, portraying the leader as Teflon-coated. While the actor seamlessly embodies Vajpayee’s persona with age progression, the film’s writing limits the impact of his performance. The lack of weight gain for an aging Vajpayee is a curious choice but doesn’t hinder Tripathi’s portrayal.

Missed Opportunities and Lack of Depth

Despite the potential to explore the conservative mind behind Vajpayee and the shaping of his worldview, “Main Atal Hoon” opts for a wide-angle shot tinged with unqualified adulation. The film plays it safe, avoiding insights into Vajpayee’s thoughts on figures like Gandhi and his relationships within the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). It offers little clarity on how some of his liberal ideas faced opposition within his own organization.

The Director’s Approach

Director Ravi Jadhav seems to adhere closely to the moderate mask worn by Vajpayee, steering clear of probing the doublespeak he engaged in on controversial issues. The film touches on conflicted views during the Lucknow speech and offers a glimpse into Vajpayee’s personal life, but it remains on the sanitized surface. The director falls short in delving into the crevices between Vajpayee’s poetic heart and political mind.

“Main Atal Hoon” fails to give due space to Vajpayee’s friendships, especially with Sikandar Bakht, and how he formed connections across the political spectrum. The film overlooks Vajpayee’s opponents and critics within the Jan Sangh and Sangh Parivar, neglecting figures like Balraj Madhok and Dattopant Thengadi. The treatment of Lal Krishna Advani’s character is disappointing, reducing the significant figure to a caricature.

Main Atal Hoon Day Wise Box Office Collection

Day 1 19 January 2024 ₹ 1.15 Cr
Day 2 20 January 2024 ₹ 2.10 Cr
Day 3 21 January 2024 ₹ 2.40 Cr
Day 4 22 January 2024 ₹ 0.87 Cr
Day 5 23 January 2024 ₹ 0.60 Cr (Estimated)
Total ₹ 7.12 Cr

The film overlooks key events like Vajpayee’s foreign visits, which contributed to shaping his progressive outlook. His soft corner for non-vegetarian food and taste for liquor are mentioned but not explored adequately. The narrative lacks an examination of Vajpayee’s opponents and critics within the Jan Sangh and Sangh Parivar, particularly during the Ram Temple Movement and the Mandal Commission report.

“Main Atal Hoon” provides a glimpse into Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s legacy but falls short of being a comprehensive exploration. While Pankaj Tripathi’s performance adds depth to the portrayal, the film’s glib writing and lack of imaginative sound and production design limit its impact. Director Ravi Jadhav’s approach, while maintaining a respectful tone, misses the opportunity to dig deeper into Vajpayee’s complex persona and the ideological landscape of his time. The film serves as a reminder of a time when ideological divides were more porous, but it leaves the audience yearning for a more nuanced and insightful portrayal of one of India’s prominent political figures.

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