*Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Boman Irani, Dimple Kapadia, Randeep Hooda
Music: Pritam, Direction: Homi Adajania
Cocktail, a mixture of emotions and values, leaves audience disappointed with regressive message By Meena Yeggina
Modernization is a way of thinking, not a way of dressing. It neither comes with short/long dresses, drinks, drugs nor with free sex or no sex at all. An overdose of any of the above falls under sickness and needs treatment. But the director thinks differently. In addition, like the “characterless” Saif Ali Khan in this movie proves for him, overindulgence comes with a price for the fairer sex only as the male character walks away happy.
Cocktail starts off as a free spirited movie co-written by the heart specialist Imtiaz Ali Khan. With reasons not so well-established, Deepika Padukone indulges in a free life style which includes drugs, drinks and sex. Her justification is her parents indifference to her. At 22 something she still depends on the monthly big fat check that comes from her “bad” parents. This poor-little-rich-girl does have a job of some kind as a photographer of sorts but her existence depends on her fun-filled night life. This obviously happens in a foreign land (London) as India, according to the director, is still pure (as proved by the other character who has freshly arrival from India, Diana Penty.) The director must have one look of the fresh arrivals from India here in San Jose and I am sure he will change his script and do a quick role reversal.
Coming to the story, Meera (debutant Diana Penty) arrives into London in search of her husband who abandons her. After having found him, he shuns her and asks her to find her own path. Subsequently, she meets vibrant and fun-loving Veronica who takes her under her wing. At this juncture it’s strange that Meera, doesn’t fight back or even try to contact her parents for help in India. Instead, she immediately starts living with Veronica. Enter Gautam (actually he first enters the movie as his flippant self, flirting with everybody in a skirt) with his playboy charm to hit it off with Veronica. They begin a torrid affair with no strings attached. Meanwhile, he is also spending “friendly” time with Meera and the three have a rollicking time in the same apartment. Meera is the traditional one with churidars and prayers while Veronica is a fun-loving type. Dimple Kapadia, who plays Saif’s mom, visits them and the threesome is forced to introduce Meera as his girlfriend in order to gain acceptance from the uptight parent of Gautam. Deepika, watching Dimple’s love for her future daughter in law, wants a little bit of it too and thus begins to think in terms of marriage. Later on, she finds out and is shocked to realize that Saif and Diana’s characters have fallen in love. The story takes a different turn with an expected climax leaving audience hugely disappointed and vaguely unsatisfied.
The first half of the movie is fun and fast paced. It’s a breeze of dialogues such as , “You are lonely and I am characterless (Saif),” “Everything in the house is on the house (Deepika).” Deepika is introduced into the movie with the star status that she deserves. Surely delivering her best performance of her career thus far, Deepika dazzles through the scenes. She is simply superb in her role. Diana as Meera is alright in a subdued way. Saif easily slips in to his part which he had played to perfection several times before. Dimple and Boman steal the show with their intense and funny performances. Several scenes in the first half and even in the second half are hilarious.
However, the second half overall is disappointing and regressive, taking the audience back a century behind in its values. Saif Ali Khan is projected as an irresistible male prodigy that even the CEO (female obviously) of his company falls for on frist sight. He gets to choose between Veronica and Meera and the choice to him is obviously the “innocent” one.
The audience is vaguely disappointed with the ending and feel let down with a sense of it’s not fair. Deepika’s role is unnecessarily taken almost to an edge of the darker side of life. I dont understand the director’s intention of showing Meera as married. It didn’t really matter to the story. Maybe in his mind he is showcasing himself as modern by letting “married” Meera have a choice, but Meera, is never seen as one married in the eyes of the audience in her virginal aura. In the end Saif keeps his cake and gets to eat it too! The values shown in such a hopeful movie are highly regressive as director takes a safe approach. Like I said, modernization is a way of thinking, not in the way you dress or drink.
Music is good, Randeep Hooda is wasted though excellent in his small role. The first half is enjoyable but the second half is confusing, slow and regressive.