Cocktail Times of India Movie Review by Gaurav Malani

Director: Homi Adajania
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty

Cocktail follows the basic Bollywood genre-geometry of a love triangle. The good part about this one, unlike most love triangles, is that the three protagonists get to know who loves whom pretty early in the picture and the revelation isn’t stretched till the climax. However, beyond a point, the film isn’t able to use this element to its merit and falls for the regular range of spite-to-sacrifice sentiments of any triangular love story. Cocktail, basically, is the same prose with new grammar.

So the story is about a compulsive flirt Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) who gets into a no-strings-attached relationship with the hot-n-happening Veronica (Deepika Padukone). Girl-next-door Meera (Diana Penty) is literally the girl Gautam takes home to his mother (Dimple Kapadia) to cover-up his live-in with Veronica. Until by interval point his heart starts fluttering for Meera. And the rest as they say is ‘history’.

The characterizations are basically been-there-seen-that. The guy is commitment-phobic until he meets his match and realizes what ‘true love’ is. The firang female has a frivolous attitude until she realizes she, too, is vulnerable to feelings. The introvert desi dame isn’t aware of her own beauty until the boy makes her realize it. Further she goes in the let-go-love-for-friend mode.

The narrative never tries too hard to build the chemistry between the characters. Like Veronica gets a random stranger Meera home and they become the best of buddies. Or Gautam and Veronica just hit if off in two scenes. So do Gautam and Meera subsequently, and if it wasn’t for the kiss at interval point, one wouldn’t know cupid has cross-connected. Further Meera’s sudden truce with her past love (Randeep Hooda) in the pre-climax seems half-baked. Yet, at the expense of conviction, what you don’t mind is that the story keeps moving ahead without expending too much time on the obvious and inescapable elements of a love story.

The pacing drops in the second half, and one gets more impatient with predictability seeping into the plot. Evidently you know which girl would win in the end but you lose out to the protracted proceedings. In fact when the hero extensively proposes the heroine in the last scene, you just want the girl to say yes and get over with it.

Yet, despite all its conventionalism and inconsistencies, what still keeps you connected to the movie is its attitude to never take itself too seriously. The film is as much flippant as its protagonists and the scene tone remains subtle even in the most dramatic sequences. The humour is inherent and scenes like Saif’s first encounter with Deepika or Dimple Kapadia’s artificial respiration to Deepika are hilarious. Thereby after laughing on every formula of any love story, when this cocktail can’t do away with the basic emotional ingredients of a love triangle, the film’s nonchalant attitude backfires.

Anil Mehta’s cinematography is picture perfect. Pritam’s music is peppy and some new voices add freshness to the soundtrack.

From the cast, Deepika Padukone comes with the most impressive performance and is exceptionally good in the drunken scene where the happy-go-lucky Veronica shows her vulnerable side. And while she remains absolutely natural in her act, she looks stunningly sexy too. Saif Ali Khan is in his comfort zone in this romantic comedy and effortlessly charms girls (both on and off screen). Diana Penty comes with the requisite rawness that her character demands and is quite decent in her debut act. The minimalism in her looks often reminds of Giselle Monteiro’s character from Love Aaj Kal. Dimple Kapadia comes as a pleasant change to the Punjabi-mom prototype in Bollywood and is quite likeable. Boman Irani does well in his short role. The talented Randeep Hooda gets no scope in his three-scene two-bit role.

To sum up, this one is old Cocktail in new bottle!



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