Describing late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as man of ‘integrity and discipline’, Pankaj says playing him in Main Atal Hoon has made him a better person
Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pankaj Tripathi
Until Main Atal Hoon came his way, Pankaj Tripathi saw former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a wise statesman and people’s leader. It’s only when he stepped into the titular role for the biopic that he discovered the man behind the politician. The actor, who recently wrapped up Ravi Jadhav’s directorial venture, shares that he did not take up any other project during the shoot. “Before [beginning work on] this film, I watched all of Atal-ji’s big interviews, and read books on him. It feels like I know so much that I can also write a book about him. For the 75 days that I was shooting, I did nothing else, not even an ad film shoot. I didn’t want to leave my character’s zone. After pack-up, I would read his poems, most of which he had written around his birthday on December 25. His mindspace was important to bring into the film,” says the actor.
Rarely does an actor get a role that brings about a shift in him. This was one such character for Tripathi, who counts the film among his most important projects. “Atal-ji was a man of integrity and discipline. [The film depicts] his brilliant journey—a man from a simple [background] who paved his way to become one of the country’s most loved prime ministers. He was a big believer of democracy. Reading about his life has changed me as a person. During research, I spent hours studying his beliefs and values. I can safely say that it’s one of those movies that made me a better human being.”