New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Behind the politician lurks a movie buff. Lal Krishna Advani, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate, loves to watch films when he is not busy firming up political strategy for his party.
Party insiders say Advani loves serious, meaningful, art house cinema, historical extravaganzas, patriotic films and family dramas steeped in Indian ethos.
The 80-year-old politician, who started off as a journalist for the publication Organiser, recently released his autobiography "My Country, My Life". He says in the book that he used to write three columns under different pen names and they were mostly on films.
This week the politician gave a standing ovation to actor-turned-director Ajay Devgan for his directorial debut, "U, Me Aur Hum" at a special screening. The movie, a love story between a psychiatrist and a girl set on the high seas, is releasing April 11.
"The film touched my heart," Advani told mediapersons after the screening. He came to watch the movie with wife Kamla.
He had been moved to tears after watching Aamir Khan's poignant fictional drama about a dyslexic child in "Taare Zameen Par".
A month ago, Advani attended a screening of the country's first Sindhi crossover movie, "The Awakening", along with lawyer Ram Jethmalani who stars in it. A Sindhi himself, Advani called it a powerful portrayal of history.
Opinions are divided over his likes and dislikes. While BJP spokesperson and MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "Advaniji loves movies with meaning", senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj begs to differ.
"He watches all new Bollywood releases and then comments about them," Swaraj told IANS. "He loves to watch and make others watch mainstream Hindi movies. As home minister, he organised the maximum number of film shows at the Siri Fort Auditorium," Swaraj recalled with laughter.
The BJP veteran often takes off with his daughter, Pratibha, for late night shows at multiplexes in the capital.
In an interview to the BBC, which tried to explore the other side of Advani, the politician had listed Rani Mukerji and Hrithik Roshan as his favourites, though his "all-time favourite" was the Big B - Amitabh Bachchan.
"Advani has a good taste for movies. For that matter, he loves anything that is creative and connected to the arts. He is extremely well read and has the history of cinema on his fingertips," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told IANS.
"He covered several international film festivals in the early 1960s as a journalist and has watched most of the Hollywood classics. His strength lies in assessing, evaluating and critically appraising cinema."
The politician apparently loves suspense thrillers. He told the BBC that he had seen all the movies made by the master of whodunit, Alfred Hitchcock.