Writer of Atal Bihari Vajpayee biopic on his approach to the film
Former PM Vajpayee (right) Pankaj Tripathi
When it comes to storytelling in Indian cinema, change is the only constant. Rishi Virmani, however, believes that one trend will never go out of style—writing stories that are memorable. Known for his knack for weaving intricate narratives and exploring unconventional themes, Virmani is set to showcase the legacy of India’s former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on screen. “Cracking the tonality of the biopic is always crucial. Atal ji’s life was rich and elaborate. It’s hard to decide what must be included, and what must be left out. Due to time constraints, we’ve had to make sacrifices,” says the writer of his muse who was known as much for his love for poetry as he was for his statesmanship.
“The totality of the film should mirror him. We wanted to retain Atal ji’s rhythm and poetry. He used to touch hearts with the way he put his point across. His speeches established his dignity and subtlety. He had a class of his own. We had to craft the screenplay so deftly that the essence of the man was not lost. He was a poet, so there was a beautiful philosophical side to him. He was a journalist, so he was practical. He was deeply patriotic, so we ensured that the journey encapsulated these three facets of him. I want people to come out of the theatre with the feeling that they know this person.”
Via leading man Pankaj Tripathi, Virmani hopes to showcase Vijpayee as the leader who was committed to the development of the country. “His purpose was to make people’s lives better. He cared for them. In today’s times, when people are callous, it is important to highlight this man who was committed to achieving great things for the nation,” says the writer, who has also worked on Chhava, and a biopic on businessman Subrata Roy.