KATHMANDU, July 17: Cocktail is typical. It’s exactly what the posters tell you. The film is a love triangle between two women and a man. The triangle may not seem traditional because of the hip look and foreign locations, but don’t be fooled. The film is as stereotypical as it can get.
The three angles of the triangle are Gautam (Saif Ali Khan), a flirt who believes he can score with any female; Meera (Diana Penty), a desi in distress, who is stranded in London because of a sham marriage; and Veronica (Deepika Padukone), a wild and carefree party maniac but with a good heart.
The plot follows a distressed and homeless Meera crying in a public toilet where she meets Veronica who shelters her and the two are engaged in a budding sisterhood until Gautam interferes.
Gautam begins an open, no-strings-attached relationship with Veronica. The two have agreed not to have any obligations to each other. Meera hates Gautam but tolerates him for Veronica’s sake. All is well for the triad until Gautam’s mother (Dimple Kapadia-Khanna) visits her son, announced.
Knowing that his mother would never accept Veronica, Gautam presents Meera as his beau. Meera hates Gautam, but plays along. But after a trip to Cape Town with Gautam’s mother and a few songs and parties, all the major characters go through a transformation in their personalities.
Meera falls in love with Gautam, and he loves her too. Now Gautam decides to shed his Casanova image to settle down with Meera. Veronica, on the other hand, develops a liking for Gautam, and hopes to get married to him.
“Cocktail” before the interval clearly outshines the film after the interval, for the later half is a slow-paced, tragic love triangle. Its post-interval half has nothing novice with characters overcoming jealousy and selfishness, sacrificing their love to become a catalyst for each other’s reunion, along with all the other typical masala seen in every other Bollywood tragic triangular tantrums.
The first half consists of funny scenes, although not original. But the characters’ buildup is weak in the film and therefore the audiences shed no tears for any.
Deepika’s character comes across as the weakest, failing to draw happy or sad emotions from the audience. Deepika the actor, however, as a slim-figured, wild-haired party girl looks very convincing, seductive, and wild.
Her acting as the tragic lover is beautiful. Diana Penty is a real find for this film. She’s tall, beautiful, and she humbly pulls off the desi damsel in distress.
Saif Ali Khan, all of 43 now, looks the character he plays, of the early thirties. It seems a bit unconvincing that women would be so easily charmed by his looks and cheesy, stupid one liners. Also, his sad scenes don’t evoke any frown but is wonderful in the comic parts.
Dimple Kapadia as Gautam’s mother is a fresh comic relief to the film. Her character of a concerned desi mother who gives away shagunke chudiya to her soon-to-be daughter-in-law is no less a stereotype but you enjoy all the while she’s on-screen.
Boman Irani’s character as Gautam’s uncle only helps to connect the stories. He isn’t allowed to flex his acting muscles.
The lack of characterization can directly be blamed on the director, Homi Adjania. He has given ample time to develop each character before the interval, but he concentrates on glorifying the lives of young, working Non-Residential Indians.
Another flaw lies in the fact that Saif has a bit too many “flirting” scenes. The same goes for the desi damsel in distress scenes of Diana Penty’s character; her misery, too, is unnecessarily stretched. Adjania seriously needs to stay away from stereotypes and clichés in characterization.
Cinematographer Anil Mehta shows beauty with his skills behind the camera. First in the streets of London, then in Cape Town, his frames and shots have made the film so much more bearable and are a major reason behind drawing audiences.
All the songs, especially the ones shot outdoors are visual treats, whether it’s the streets or markets of London or the majestic beaches and clear waters of Cape Town.
The songs contribute to the story, unlike many Bollywood films. They are instances of a building relationship and a failing one depicted through these songs, and there are no chorus dancers with matching outfits.
However, the songs still feel too long and too many. “Tumhi Ho Bandhu” is the best song of the lot with Neeraj Shridhar and Kavita Seth. All the other songs could have been minimized.
“Cocktail” takes off as a bright and funny film, with an interesting plotline. After the interval, however, the cocktail flight takes a nosedive, crashing into a slow, dull and a boring film. The final verdict: You can leave it right at the interval.