Cocktail Telegraph Movie Review by Pratim D. Gupta

Somewhere in the second half of Cocktail, in an anguished outburst Saif Ali Khan announces: “(I) feel like a toy… do bachchiyan khel rahi hain mere saath.” That curiously sums up his latest home production, directed by Being Cyrus man Homi Adajania from a script by Imtiaz Ali (co-written with his brother Sajid Ali). Just that the toy is a little too old to be tonked around by girls half his age.

But the stale ale is not the only wrong ingredient in this colourful, tall and watery concoction. There’s actually not much to hic about this cocktail. But let’s rewind and start with the empty glass.

The Vicky and Cristina of the piece are Meera (Diana Penty) and Veronica (Deepika Padukone) with London being the Barcelona. A victim of a hoax marriage, the shudh desi naari Meera is brought in to her pad by vivacious party animal Veronica. Before the lesbian undertones can develop fully, they are joined by the snappy and senior (you can’t help it) Gautam (Saif), who shares Veronica’s bed and toothbrush.

Cue for Maa (Dimple Kapadia) to descend from Delhi. She obviously likes Betty, er, Meera more as her future bahu given that Veronica never wears pants. Like never!

But the problem starts when on one magical weekend in Cape Town, our Archie Uncle also takes a liking to Betty. [Difficult not to, given the way Desi DP sways to Tumhi ho bandhu; even those luscious long legs of Phirang DP come a distant second.]

That’s the interval point. Despite the disorienting and staccato start (reminiscent of Love Aaj Kal), Imtiaz’s freewheeling writing again defies clichés, breaks age-old Bolly rules and sets up an interesting triangle tale. And then, Cocktail runs into a second half which manages to undo all the good bits and descend into an hour of regressive and redundant schmaltz.

The problem lies a little with this half-foreign-sitcom-half-desi genre itself. It happened with Break Ke Baad and I Hate Luv Storys and it happens here again. The feel and the feelings are so frothy and feathery that when a film like Cocktail switches to an emotional gear, you can’t take it seriously enough. Seeing two characters jump into bed after a random rendezvous seems fun but seeing the same two spend lonely nights in heartburn becomes a pain.

Also, Homi doesn’t seem to be at home handling the heavy bits. He, who made that brilliant first film starring Saif as a Parsi conman, gives a quirky twist to the bindaas-banter scenes of the first half, making Cocktail a distinctly different movie-going experience from an Imtiaz Ali film. But the switch in tone affects his easy-going treatment and hence the fluidity of the film leading to a collapse of the narrative.

Ranbir Kapoor had famously said how he would have done a better job with Saif’s role in Love Aaj Kal. Here too a younger leading man could have diminished the damage. Saif reprises his goofy self of Salaam Namaste but that was 2005 and now at 42, he struggles to make Gautam look and sound 32. He overdoes almost every scene he is in. A few fly — like the Sheila ki jawaani Asterix version — but most sink. All his monologues in the film are sets of half-sentences but not one that comes close to “Haan main… magar woh… suno toh… tumne toh… lekin main…”

The bachhiyan rock, though! Deepika is so much at ease playing the eager beaver that nowhere does her sexiness look fake or vulgar. Veronica is the lifeline of the film and the Padukone babe carries off the part with aplomb on those lethal legs.

The other DP is achingly beautiful. In her first film, top model Diana Penty shows the usual wooden nerves of a debutante but she is so effortlessly exquisite in every frame that your jaws just drop and you keep staring.

Dimple’s funny in her little cameo and Boman Irani as the Mama is as terrific as he always is. Pritam’s two chartbusters — Tumhi ho bandhu and Daaru desi — have given Cocktail the sharp start at the box office and the songs look grand on the big screen thanks to Anil Mehta’s cinematography that brings alive London’s hotspots (Hyde Park to Borough Market) and Cape Town’sbeaches with equal elan. Sreekar Prasad’s legendary scissors, though,seem a bit rusty.

Cocktail’s obviously good to look at, cool to sing along to and even fun to watch at times. But all the zing is gone after the first gulp, leaving a bitter aftertaste. Drink at your own risk.

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13 Comments
  1. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    @Baba,

    You were talking about Cocktail’s story being that of Archie, Betty and Veronica. So finally a review which talks about Archie, Betty and Veronica.

    • Baba Ji 7 years ago

      yes sputnik.wil give detailed opinions after i watch the film.I suspect the betty here,diana has been given a weaker role.

  2. Serenzy 7 years ago

    “Just that the toy is a little too old to be tonked around by girls half his age.”

    Am I already SRK’s YKAGH?
    😉

    “The problem lies a little with this half-foreign-sitcom-half- desi genre itself. It happened with Break Ke Baad and I Hate
    Luv Storys and it happens
    here again. The feel and the feelings are so frothy and
    feathery that when a film like Cocktail switches to an
    emotional gear, you can’t take it seriously enough.”

    This is serusly sucha HUGEEEEEEEEE PROBLEM in our Hindi Movies…Literally!

    We r Good at OTT Dramatic but Suck to the Coreeeee at Heart Touching Drama.

    TZP is such a Rare Gem and dats where a RNBDJ fails fr me in d 2nd Half.
    …….

    “Ranbir Kapoor had famously said how he would have done a better job with Saif’s role in
    Love Aaj Kal. Here too a
    younger leading man could
    have diminished the damage. Saif reprises his goofy self of Salaam Namaste but that was
    2005 and now at 42, he
    struggles to make Gautam
    look and soud 32”.

    Such Gr8 Points….Though I hvent seen d Movie, i must say d Review is Precise & Fantastik.

    1st tym i read a review of Pratim Gupta and I lubed it.
    😀

    • Baba Ji 7 years ago

      fully agreed serenzy.the emotional cliche is a major problem with such hindi films.Not just this or BKB,even BBB and ishaqzaade and JWM had similar problems.worse,it ends up giving the impression of leading ladies as “slutty savitris”.They will be like sluts in first half and will behave like savitris in second half.

  3. Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    @Serenzy,

    I like Pratim’s reviews. His reviews are balanced – they are not written to show off English writing skills or to just mock/ridicule movies.

    @Baba,

    I have not seen BKB, Ishaqzaade but I liked BBB. What was wrong with BBB? I loved the first half of JWM – for me the movie pretty much ended when Shahid finds Kareena. Everything that happens after that – coming back to house and all that is unnecessary – I think that was just done to stretch the movie to 2+ hours.

    • Baba Ji 7 years ago

      sputnik – the same thing which was there in ishaqzaade. Anushka is shown as a career-oriented tough girl.But suddenly she falls for a stupid guy and becomes vulnerable and a bad businesswoman.

      In JWM – kareena is shown as some independent girl in first half but in second half,she comes across as the same old school cliched bw herione.

      Bollywood directors and especially the small townies write emotionally weak characters for heriones.They will never show that the herione has the option to “move on” in life after she has gotten laid.

      • Author
        sputnik 7 years ago

        There will obviously be some exceptions but generally woman are emotional beings whereas men are practical.

        Anushka is career oriented tough girl but falls in love with stupid guy – But then there is that scene where Ranveer tells it were her rules and she says that yes she did have rules but fell in love.

        In When Harry Met Sally so much Bob Crystal tells a man and woman can never be friends – that sex always gets in between. Even in Seinfeld there is an episode where Seinfeld and Elaine decide that they will just be friends but have casual sex – they even devise rules to avoid things which can lead to love but it is shown that Elaine starts being in love with him.

        • Baba Ji 7 years ago

          Women especially in films are always stereotyped as the one who just cant get over a breakup or rejection.

          In Ishaqzaade,parneeti keeps saying how becoming an MLA is the sole purpose of her life.She hated domestic womanly stuff and used to criticise such women.But once she has affair with hero and has sex,suddenly those MLA dreams vanish! Now the only purpose of her life is to marry that guy.Meanwhile the hero will never be shown to lose focus.He pataoed her for political reasons and later embraces her only bcos his mom forces him to accept her.

          In BBB,anushka’s business was doing fine even without ranveer.then they team up,have sex and suddenly anushka cannot get over it and it starts ruining her business.

          Till directors dont stop writing such weak stereotyped roles for heriones.their position wil continue to be like a sonakshi in RR.wear sarees,show waist and ur done.Heriones will never be taken seriously.This is also why no one comes in theatre to watch a herione “act”.

  4. Serenzy 7 years ago

    Sputnik understands Women Folk, Baba u Biatch!
    😛

    Sputnik, Are you a Doctor by Profession?

    • Author
      sputnik 7 years ago

      No Serenzy. You are the second person to think I might be a doctor. Strange.

  5. narad_muni 7 years ago

    I got a different take on this!

    From childhood, we keep hearing that women are emotional and men are less and blah blah..
    But in my experience, I have been the one who had got emotional first (its not just crush, some sort of relationship was on) but the gals were non-committal… LOL 😀
    But, these happened long back. Now, I am too old for this 🙂

  6. Serenzy 7 years ago

    Aaaahh…Shilu “Uncle” Recalling his Days!

    Baba,
    Same Problm happnd in LAK,Rockstar,Hum Tum and the likes too.

    I like JWM, Salaam Namaste,Kal Ho Naa Ho(Shahrukh’s BEST ROMANTIC MOVIE in last 12yrs) a lot though…There r some Genuine LOL Moments.

    Haven’t seen Veer Zaara/Mohabbatien as of yet.

    • Baba Ji 7 years ago

      JWM first half was good.SN was ok ,few boring moments.KHNH was good for most of the time till climax came.srk acted well for major portion of the film and i agree its his best romantic film in last 12 years.MY fav srk romance is Pardes bcos I think he acted like a man in it.

      VZ was crap.Mohabattein had too many redundant scenes.Amitabh-srk scenes were ok but amitabh got a very raw deal in the film especially the climax

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