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  • Writer's pictureSajeev Varghese

Analyzing the Differences Between "Pathaan" and "Top Gun: Maverick"

Updated: Mar 15



In the world of movies, whether a film becomes a hit or a miss depends a lot on how well its story is told. This connection with the audience can make a movie memorable and impactful, more than just how much money it makes. After all, if making the most money was all that mattered, then the big movie awards would just go to the films that earned the most. But, this isn't the case, as seen with two recent movies, "Pathaan" and "Top Gun: Maverick." These films show us different stories of success and failure, giving us a chance to learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to winning over viewers and getting praise from critics.


In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at why "Pathaan" didn’t do so well and why "Top Gun: Maverick" was a big hit. We’ll explore how they told their stories and what made them different, understanding what led to their different outcomes. This isn’t just about listing their features side by side; it’s about diving deep into what makes a movie connect with people, and how some movies manage to leave a lasting impression.




  1. Story Concept and Execution: At the heart of every film lies its story concept and execution, determining the narrative arc, character development, and thematic resonance. "Top Gun: Maverick" succeeds in delivering a compelling story that pays homage to its predecessor while introducing new characters and conflicts that resonate with audiences. In contrast, "Pathaan" falters with an overly convoluted plot, lackluster character development, and inconsistent pacing, failing to engage viewers and leaving them disconnected from the narrative journey.

  2. Narrative Structure and Pacing: "Top Gun: Maverick" excelled in its adherence to a classic narrative structure, with a clear protagonist, goals, and obstacles driving the plot forward. The film maintained a brisk pace, balancing exhilarating aerial sequences with moments of character development and emotional resonance. In contrast, "Pathaan" struggled with narrative coherence, meandering plotlines, and uneven pacing, failing to engage audiences consistently throughout its runtime.

  3. Character Development and Emotional Depth: "Top Gun: Maverick" invested heavily in character development, fleshing out the motivations, conflicts, and relationships of its protagonists. Through nuanced performances and well-written dialogue, the film succeeded in creating relatable and empathetic characters that resonated with audiences on an emotional level. Conversely, "Pathaan" faltered in its characterization, relying on superficial archetypes, melodrama and clichés, which left audiences feeling disconnected from the characters and their journey that seemed contrived and unconvincing..

  4. Visual Spectacle and Cinematic Experience: Both "Pathaan" and "Top Gun: Maverick" boasted impressive visuals and high-octane action sequences. However, "Top Gun: Maverick" elevated the cinematic experience with breathtaking aerial cinematography, immersive sound design, and stunning practical effects. The film's attention to detail and commitment to authenticity transported audiences into the cockpit, delivering a visceral and exhilarating experience that left a lasting impression. In contrast, "Pathaan" struggled to match the technical prowess of "Top Gun: Maverick," relying excessively on over-the-top visual effects that lack realism and craftsmanship, detracting from the overall immersion and believability of the film.

  5. Storytelling Craft and Attention to Detail: "Top Gun: Maverick" demonstrated a mastery of storytelling craft, with a well-crafted script, tight editing, and meticulous attention to detail. The film effectively balanced action, drama, and character moments, ensuring that each scene served a purpose in advancing the narrative and developing the characters. Conversely, "Pathaan" suffered from a lack of narrative focus and cohesion, with subplots and themes that felt disjointed and underdeveloped, detracting from the overall impact of the story.

  6. Dialogue Delivery and Performances: Effective dialogue delivery and performances are essential for conveying emotion, nuance, and authenticity in a film. "Top Gun: Maverick" benefits from strong performances and naturalistic dialogue delivery that elevate the storytelling experience and draw audiences into the characters' journeys. In contrast, "Pathaan" suffers from subpar acting, stilted dialogue delivery, and melodramatic performances that undermine the credibility and impact of the narrative.

  7. Direction and Vision: The director's vision and execution play a crucial role in shaping the overall quality and coherence of a film. "Top Gun: Maverick" benefits from a seasoned directorial team that brings a clear vision and meticulous attention to detail to every aspect of the production. In contrast, "Pathaan" suffers from direction that feels immature and unfocused, lacking the cohesive vision and creative flair needed to bring the story to life effectively.

  8. Audience Expectations and Cultural Relevance: "Top Gun: Maverick" capitalized on the nostalgia and cultural significance of its predecessor, tapping into a built-in fan base while also introducing the franchise to a new generation of audiences. The film honored the spirit of the original while offering a fresh perspective and updated visuals for modern audiences. In contrast, "Pathaan" struggled to find its footing amidst heightened expectations and cultural relevance, failing to resonate with audiences beyond its initial hype and star power. "Pathaan," like most of the Bollywood movies, caters to a specific demographic within the Indian market, assuming a target audience from the lower common denominator of Indian society with limited exposure and awareness. This results in a film that prioritizes spectacle over substance, sacrificing storytelling craft for commercial appeal.



The success or failure of a film is determined by a multitude of factors, including its story concept, character dynamics, technical execution, performances, direction, and target audience. By comparing and contrasting the story and storytelling craft of "Pathaan" and "Top Gun: Maverick," we gain valuable insights into the elements that contribute to cinematic triumph or disappointment, highlighting the importance of authenticity, emotional resonance, and creative vision in shaping the narrative landscape of modern cinema.

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