In a conversation with Republic TV, veteran actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha has shared his memories and experiences with former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on Thursday. In the immediate aftermath of AIIMS announcing the sad news, Sinha had tweeted an undated photo of him triumphantly clasping hands with Vajpayee. Talking about the tweet, an audibly distraught Sinha described, "The tweet has Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, LK Advani Ji, and my wife Poonam Sinha with me."
Check out Shatrughan Sinha's tweet here:
Expressing his grief over the demise of the tenth Prime Minister of India, Sinha said, "Today again I feel almost orphaned. Once again my parents are no more, but in public life and in political life. Atal Bihari Vajpayee -- the end of an era -- that now conveys that I am once again feeling orphaned."
Remembering the 'good old days' when he was fairly new to politics, and describing his journey into politics, the former Union Cabinet Minister in the Vajpayee-led NDA government, said, "I was handed over to him by the late and great Mr. Nanaji Deshmukh while I was entering into politics and coming to join the Bharatiya Janata Party. I was fortunate enough to have his blessings and support and his love an affection."
Talking further about his initial training before he entered into politics, Sinha said, "Atal ji and Advani ji, they handed me over to Madanlal Khurana for further training and then to Bihar. I was sent by them to another late and great leader Kailashpati Mishra Ji. After that they took me to the public life... they took me to the political life they started with me and I started with them."
Talking to Republic TV about the personal equation he shared with the former Prime Minister, Shatrughan Sinha said, "He was always very close to us, especially my family, my wife and his family."
Remembering a particular incident when Sinha was offered a film, Aan: Men at Work, the veteran-actor-turned politician said, "I remember one incident that for the first time as a cabinet minister I was about to do a film, which was objected by Atal ji himself, which was Nadiadwala's Aan: Men At Work. He refused and said 'no, how will you do this film, you won't do the film.' I said that 'if you won't say yes then I won't do it'. His daughter then asked Vajpayee 'why are you allowing Vinod Khanna Ji to work in films and not him?', to which Atal Bihari Vajpayee replied saying that 'he is a Cabinet Minister and he has a lot of work to do, a lot of decisions to take. If he goes on to do films, what will people say? That he has done 250 films and he still wants to do more films? People can misinterpret his move and things can go wrong.'"
Recalling the change in events after a speech he delivered back in the day, Sinha said, "After a few weeks when I had already said no for the film, somebody praised my speech on anti-tobacco and leaders from some other countries were also present there. They told Atalji that it was a great speech and that I spoke really well on anti-tobacco and that my speech was mesmerising. Atal Ji very happily came to me and he asked me as to how long will I have to stay away from the Parliament to complete the film? I told him I will work on the film when the Parliament is not in session or if need be, I will work on weekends. Atal Ji then finally agreed."
Sinha accepted that he was at the top of the world when Vajpayee agreed to allow him to do the film. Talking about the incident, Sinha said, "I broke the protocol and told him that I love him and that he is so kind."
Expressing his grief over the demise of Vajpayee, Sinha said, "Be it inside the Parliament or outside the Parliament, he was always jolly, he was a great poet, a great human being, a father figure in the true sense. Him leaving us and going away, it is not just me but everybody would be feeling orphaned. He was a friend, philosopher, guide, guru and an ultimate leader. It is difficult to find a leader as great as him. We now only have memories of him and we are determined to walk on the path that he inspired us to walk on with the same inspiration."