BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Director: Homi Adajania Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Dimple Kapadia, Boman Irani
Expectations ride high on a film by the maker of ‘Being Cyrus’, a gripping off-beat psychological drama. Homi Adajania was both writer and director of that piece. ‘Cocktail’ is directed by Homi Adajania, written by Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali. There are some truly enjoyable parts, but then this brew is unfortunately blended with an overdose of clichés that are rather overpowering. This concoction could have done wonders, really, I mean ‘Jab We Met’, had such easy, breezy lines and ‘Being Cyrus’ was such a gem; while this Cocktail does create an initial fizz, it tends to wear off towards the latter half.
I’m guessing ‘Cocktail’ was inspired by the Archie, Ronnie, Betty triangle to some extent. Even the character named Veronica (Deepika Padukone) is a self-proclaimed ‘rich bitch’. This is not really true because we are made to believe that she actually cares, has a heart and all that. Yes, it is slightly messed up. Although I must admit Dippy looks drop dead gorgeous in every frame. Veronica lives in a nice apartment in London and her parents send her monthly checks to cover her expensive lifestyle. The so called plain Jane (not so plain Jane, really) Meera (Diana Penty) arrives in London dreaming of a blissful married life, only to find out that not all fairy tales have a happy ending. Turns out her husband played by Randeep Hooda is a con artist. Meera and Veronica meet in the restroom of a coffee shop, only to land up being instant roommates. Oh wait, the cocktail is not ready to be served yet. Apna desi playboy Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) hooks up with Veronica on the first night they meet and she is ready to share her toothbrush and house keys with him the very next morning.
Gautam’s mom (Dimple Kapadia) lands up unannounced when he lies to her that he is seeing a desi girl, no gori like his uncle played by Boman Irani. Mommy dearest wants to check out future bahu rani. So Gautam points to Meera as the prospective bride-to-be instead of Veronica and mommy approves. One night when Meera cries to Gautam that she knows that she is the kind moms approve, Gautam convinces her that guys would approve too only to realize that they have both fallen in love with each other. Meanwhile Veronica wants Gautam too. The story build up till this point, is quite lively and refreshing, songs dialogues included. In fact Dimple’s line about Menopause deserves special mention. The scene where Dimple finds Saif kissing Dippy and Saif turning it around to ask her to get a doctor and give mouth-to-mouth is quite hilarious.
It is after the love triangle is laid out, that the movie really falters. Weak character sketches are an evident problem. There are a lot of random acts thrown in here and there, be it Veronica accepting Meera as her best friend and roommate right after the first night they meet, or really Gautam’s sudden dedication towards Meera or Veronica handing out house keys to a stranger she just spent the night with. Meera’s character sort of maintains consistency, but the other two are completely arbitrary, with no visible effort made to connect the characters to each other or to the viewer, really. Given that, there are no good or bad guys, or any characters you can empathize with. Randeep Hooda is barely there, occasionally showing up with unexplained injuries. Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia do manage to enhance the cocktail with some quirky antics.
Deepika as Veronica does complete justice to her role. She plays needy rich bitch to the T. She moves away from her general non expressive posture and bites into her character, displaying just the right measures of spunk, spontaneity and vulnerability. She is a pleasure to watch both visually and theatrically. New comer Diana, even in her not so glamorous role manages to hold her own. Walking on familiar ground, Saif is quite comfortable flirting with the ladies. He even manages to get away with wearing red lipstick and black negligée. There are a few catchy numbers, “Tum Hi Ho Bandhu”, being one of them.
Yes, there are some fun and funky bits mixed into the cocktail; unfortunately they are few and far between. There was a lot of potential here that could have easily translated into a much more fulfilling experience. Living in relations, roommates, parents and just the new age attitude towards life and relationships itself are territories that could have been explored with much more depth instead of being glossed over and clichéd to no end. If only as much attention to detail was given to the story and characters as much seems to have gone in glamorizing them, this cocktail could’ve fizzed all the way!