With Ek Tha Tiger’s (ETT) predictable but rollicking start at the box office, one question that must have come to the regular cinegoer’s mind would be, “where lies the difference between ETT and the recent but faltered Agent Vinod (AV)?” Both the movies have a RAW agent at the helm of the events with a love interest in ISI but the heaven and hell difference in the outcome and business of the two must have raised a question or two in the minds of the Indian junta. So let’s try to nail the basic reasons which might have contributed to ETT’s success over AV.
Agent Vinod starts with a series of unrelated events which has our protagonist Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) in common. As was widely said, AV was incomprehensible till the interval. It was post interval that the story started becoming somewhat clear. Ek Tha Tiger on the other hand has a linear and straightforward story which remains clear as a crystal till the interval and only throws a twist with the word “Interval” being displayed on the screen. ETT is no brainer and a ten year old will be able to make sense out of the screenplay. AV was however complex and needed the audience to put in his mind completely and sometimes even more to make sense out of the narrative.
Post Interval, AV starts providing solutions to the questions raised in the first half but still the complexity remains. ETT on the other hand quickly solves the question raised and puts in a twist or two make the narrative a bit more exciting. The finale of AV is one which has been done to death and yet it left a few questions unanswered. ETT’s finale even though abrupt, was fitting and one couldn’t have asked for more.
Agent Vinod tries to be a compelling drama with chunks of action thrown in to make the narrative exciting. Ek Tha Tiger is more of a love story with the RAW-ISI issue as a backdrop and with the action to add in the necessary masala. While Agent Vinod is a serious film with an effort to make a realistic portrayal of a spy’s life, ETT throws reality and believability out of the window and depicts its protagonist not as a spy but as an “ashiqana” super spy who cannot be beaten.
Then there is the phenomenal Salman Khan craving. Salman is one star who is at the pinnacle of his career and in a spate of time when whatever he touches turns to gold. If Salman is taken out of ETT, it would be a nothing movie. Saif on the other hand has aged well but doesn’t even have half the mojo that Sallu enjoys. People would ask questions like “”how is the story??”, “who else is there???”…”is it worth?? “Before they go for a Saif Ali Khan film, no matter how good or bad it is. On the other hand people carry a notion of “If it’s Salman, then it’s worth” for the time being. This might have been another factor which contributed to ETT’s success.
Both the movies boast of a real life couple (in case of ETT ex-real life couple). While the chemistry between Kat and Sallu is electrifying in case of ETT, AV has a whimpering display of physics-chemistry and very little biology between Kareena and Saif. Gosh!!! Weren’t they the happier of the two couples? Where is the chemistry dude????
Looking from the audience’s perspective, ETT will be a better pick as all it does is entertain. It doesn’t need you to exercise your brain but only your eyes. It’s a visual treat with no darkness associated to the theme. Has a happy ending where the two spies live happily ever after unlike AV where Bebo dies leaving the audience disgruntled.
Any person could cite a reason or two of his/her own but to cut a long story short, ETT is blockbuster and AV turned out to be dud. That’s the truth and it was for a reason. It goes on to reiterate the fact that in this country it’s a better bet to invest on masala than on semi-realism. I am a fan of Sriram Raghavan but this time, Kabir has undone him by miles.