Main Atal Hoon: Pankaj Tripathi Delivers A Magnetic Performance In This Moderately Engaging Political Drama

The film is notches ahead of ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ and ‘PM Narendra Modi’ but continues the caricaturist portrayal of the Congress.

Rating : 2.5

  • Cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Piyush Mishra, Daya Shankar Pandey, Pramod Pathak, and Prasanna Ketkar
  • Director: Ravi Jadhav
  • Producer: Vinod Bhanushali
  • Music: Payal Dev, Kailash Kher, Amitraj, and Salim–Sulaiman
  • Background Score: Monty Sharma
  • Runtime: 2 hours 19 minutes
  • First Published in: SouthFirst

Bollywood’s track record of political dramas is not the greatest, particularly in the recent past. The Accidental Prime Minister (2019) and PM Narendra Modi (2019) were both absolute travesties in terms of storytelling and performance.

Acclaimed actor Anupam Kher reduced Manmohan Singh to a cartoon figure in The Accidental Prime Minister. Vivek Oberoi fared even worse with the horrible make-up and his horrid performance in PM Narendra Modi.

There is no denying that Main Atal Hoon comes under a political hagiography (the subject being treated with reverence).

But unlike the above-mentioned films, this is not a complete washout.

The main reason is Pankaj Tripathi’s histrionics and how Ravi Jadhav staged the speeches.


Main Atal Hoon is a biography of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Main Atal Hoon is a biography of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. (Supplied)

Main Atal Hoon introduces a young Vajpayee who cannot give a speech in the class.

From there on, we follow his journey of becoming a prominent opposition leader and eventually becoming the prime minister of India.

A major USP of Main Atal Hoon is how the director captures the spirit of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s politics. His ideologies have come out well, including wanting peace between neighbouring countries and respecting his political rivals.

This particularly comes out in the dialogues related to Jawaharlal Nehru.

The film is replete with many poems by Vajpayee. Thankfully, these poems have been integrated well and do not come across as tacky.


Pankaj Tripathi as Atal Bihari Vajpayee in ‘Main Atal Hoon’. (X)

Pankaj Tripathi as Atal Bihari Vajpayee in ‘Main Atal Hoon’. (X)

The scenes of Pankaj Tripathi delivering political speeches also leave a huge impact. A particular mention must be made of the scene where Atal expresses his anguish about the horrific events that happened during the emergency.

The cinematography in these portions is also rock-solid. Lawrence D’Cunha has done a brilliant job in capturing the big scale.

The songs are all melodious. My favourite ones are “Ram Dhun” and “Desh Pehle“.

Among the subplots, Atal’s relationship with his father Krishna Bihari Vajpayee (Piyush Mishra) and Rajkumari (Divya Uppadhayay) has been written well.

In the title role, Pankaj Tripathi adds another feather to his cap. The actor commands the viewers’ attention from the first frame. There is an instant charisma that captivates the audience.


A big flaw of Main Atal Hoon is the rushed second half. The entire duration of the second half comes across as a political advertisement for the BJP.

Also, the film needed more insight into the statesmanship of Atal.

Lastly, the Congress characters come across as extras from The Accidental Prime Minister and PM Narendra Modi.

Payal Nair, as Indira Gandhi, suffers the most with a very weak characterisation. The stone-faced expressions of Payal Nair also don’t help in any way.

Final take

Main Atal Hoon is worth watching if you want to see how Pankaj Tripathi has stepped into the shoes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

But those looking for a nuanced political drama are advised to look elsewhere.


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