Atalji’s fondness for movies, Bollywood

Atalji’s fondness for movies, Bollywood

A poet at heart, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was fond of films and had several friends and admirers in the Hindi film industry.

One of Vajpayee’s favourite movie was the 1972 comedy-drama 'Seeta aur Geeta' starring Hema Malini, Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar. Vajpayee, reports state, had seen the movie over 20 times. At present, Hema Malini and Dharmendra are associated with the BJP.

Vajpayee also liked the Farooq Shaikh-Rekha starrer 1981 film 'Umrao Jaan'.

When he was prime minister, Vajpayee, along with the then home minister Lal Krishna Advani, viewed a special screening of Hrithik Roshan-starrer 'Koi Mil Gaya', the sci-fi film made by Hrithik's father Rakesh Roshan.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar said: “He was like my father. He called me 'Beti'. I called him 'Dadda'. I feel I have lost my father all over again. When I saw the glow on his face, his persuasive oratorical powers and his love for the arts, I was always reminded of my father (the legendary musician-stage actor Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar). When I was a child many national leaders and politicians would visit my home. Vir Savarkar was one of them. Atalji reminded me of Vir Savarkar. He was a noble soul. No words of praise can do justice to him. Atalji was never short of words. But I am.”

Actor Amitabh Bachchan said: “An admirer of my father's (late Harivansh Rai Bachchan) works and vice versa; gentle nature, strong fiery in his speeches.”

Actor Shah Rukh Khan, too, shared a special bond and recalled in his childhood days in Delhi, how his father used to take him to listen to Vajpayee. 

“My father used to take me for every speech that Mr Vajpayee made in Delhi when I was growing up. Years on I had the opportunity to meet him and spend lots of time discussing poetry, films, politics and our ailing knees….I had also the privilege of enacting one of his poems on screen. He was fondly addressed as ‘Baapji’ at home. Today the country has lost a father figure and a great leader.”

“A true Bharat Ratna. He was a PM, poet, orator, statesman and gentleman,” said Nitin Datar, president, Cinema Owners & Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI).