COCKTAIL : FUZZY OR WATERY?
COCKTAIL. It lived up to its name in terms of the diversity in characters, their lifestyles and spirit that Imtiaz Ali very cleverly put together in his script to cater to the entertainment needs of the present modern generation. Homi Adajania did full justice to the script by getting only those actors who were most apt to play the characters. Pritam Chakraborty gave amazing music tracks that I’m sure most of us continue to hum to this date. Irshad Kamil, who also wrote the lyrics for ‘Love Aaj Kal’ did a rather splendid job too. But after all the glossy promotions, Glamorous star cast, Generation Next approach, did the cocktail work its magic? Not quite.
Gautam, played by Saif Ali Khan, is an outright Casanova who hooks up with any girl for casual sex. Veronica, played by the glamorous Deepika Padukone, calls herself a “Rich Bitch” and is basically dumped by her parents. She attempts to hide her loneliness by drinking too much, visiting night bars and discos and indulging in anything that gives pleasure to her senses. Yet, we see a soft side to her. Meera, played by model Diana Penty, is a coy girl-next-door with all the supposed “Indian values” in her. She comes to London to meet her Husband, played by Randeep Hooda, who abandons her the very day she reaches London. For him, the marriage was an excuse to get some money.
The ingredient that ruins the cocktail is the unnatural bonding the characters share in an unbelievably short period of time. Veronica meets Meera in a washroom, listens to her story, takes her home, and the next thing you know, they call themselves sisters. Veronica plays a prank on Gautam, both get drunk in a pub, dance, have casual sex that night, and the next thing you know, they are living together. Meera is disgusted by Gautam. Gautam as one can clearly see is mesmerised by Veronica, but the next thing you know, he is in love with Meera. One would not have even realised that Meera was in love with Gautam too, unless the kiss that happened between the two. Friends can be difficult to share and love can be totally confusing, but to confuse the audience in all the confusion makes the cocktail real distasteful.
Now comes the part where the cocktail shows its true colours. The Generation Next approach falls flat on its face as the coy Indian girl, who knows how to cook, clean and impress mothers, is unusually unaware of her good looks until made cognizant of it by a guy, for whom she obviously falls later, is predictably the one the hero falls in love with in the end. What happens to Veronica, the girl with flimsy character and brazen dress sense? Someone who is not so different from Gautam yet condemned by all? Of course, as Veronica says, “someone has to lose”, the subtext being, a girl with the same character as a guy, is absolutely the kind of material one wants to sleep with but not take home to dear mommy. It is rather unfortunate that a movie such as cocktail that screams modernity out loud, gives such a sad message.When are we going to give up this archaic, patriarchal attitude?
Perhaps the only ingredients that gave some kick to the cocktail were the outstanding performances by the actors, especially Deepika Padukone. Taking on a very challenging role and doing complete justice to it, Deepika proves her capability as a prolific actor. She clearly takes the audiences’ attention toward herself for a major part of the movie, so much so, that instead of feeling happy for Gautam and Meera’s reunion, one feels utterly sorry for Veronica. The disco scene where Veronica’s composure and indifference eventually give way to a complete emotional breakdown deserves a standing ovation. Diana, as a debutante, and Saif, as entertaining as ever, also did a great job. The direction and cinematography are outstanding as well, especially those scenes shot at the disco where one moment Veronica is amidst a huge crowd and the next in an empty dance floor, hence speaking volumes about the circumstance and Veronica’s emotions.
To conclude, the cocktail may been a little watery as the story line is fairly predictable and redundant, yet the music is fresh, the faces are young and glamorous, the direction and acting are at their best. All in all, it is a cocktail worth trying.
Neel Kamal Mishra