Movie Review: COCKTAIL by FENIL SETA
Last Friday’s superhit film, Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan, was inspired by Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gol Maal but in a way hugely reminded me of Shetty’s 2009 film All The Best. Similarly, Cocktail carries a déjà vu of Love Aaj Kal. However, while Imtiaz Ali directed Love Aaj Kal, in Cocktail he contributed only as a writer. Wish he had directed too! Cocktail would have been in a different league then! More on that later!
The story of the movie: Meera (Diana Penty) arrives in London with loads of expectations and dreams but her world comes crashing down. She bumps into Veronica (Deepika Padukone) who comes into her rescue and she gives Meera refuge in her pad. Both are poles apart – Meera is introvert and decently dressed while Veronica is wild and ever ready to party. Veronica comes across serial womanizer Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) and sparks fly. Gautam moves in with Veronica. Meera hates Gautam and moreover, she fails to understand the no-strings-attached relationship shared by Gautam and Veronica. All hell breaks loose when Gautam’s mother Kavita Kapoor (Dimple Kapadia) lands up unannounced in London at Deepika’s place to find Gautam ‘living in’ with two women. Gautam, to save his face, tells a lie that changes the life of the three friends.
By now, it’s common knowledge that Cocktail’s first half is brilliant but slides down in the second hour. The film has a shaky start and it seems a surprise that a film like this has minimal background score. But soon one gets used to it. The biggest strength of the film, as was evident from the promos, was the strong and distinct characterization of the three principal characters. Besides, they look extremely glamorous and most importantly, it all seemed natural. Not even once does it feel that characters are trying too hard to look ‘cool’!
The first half is breezy and has some terrific moments which take the film to a high. Be it Saif-Boman speaking to Dimple on the phone or the ‘mouth-to-mouth’ Cape Town sequence or of course, Dimple landing at Deepika’s place when Saif was doing the ‘item number’, the initial hour is just mindblowing! But the discrepancies in the second half turn out to be huge culprit. The story was anyways quite odd and the need was for a convincing execution. Sadly, Homi Adajania couldn’t do so, especially during the final portions of the film. There were too many songs in the second half. Also, the climax was clichéd which also won’t be liked by a section of the audience. These glitches prove to be big time spoilsports in this otherwise fine film. Sad!
Thankfully, the performances and music play a big role in saving the day. Saif Ali Khan is a champ when it comes to playing loverboy with a roving eye. However, it’s a challenge as every performance needs to be different from the other. In that context, Saif wins hands down. It would be difficult to claim that his performance was similar to his work in Hum Tum and Love Aaj Kal. Besides, he injects the Dilliwalla element into his character which works fine. It was disappointing to see Saif’s dream venture Agent Vinod not scoring at the box office but with success of Cocktail, Saif is surely back in the league. Now all eyes will be on Saif’s next, Race 2, which has generated excitement and should be another hit for the actor!
Deepika Padukone is the best performer in the film and plays an extremely difficult role with panache and ease. Cocktail would surely be remembered for a long time as one of the finest performances from Deepika! Besides, her chemistry with Saif is sizzling! Newbie Diana Penty is extremely cute with a lovely smile. This, coupled with her bravura performance, wins hearts. It was a pleasure to see her let herself a little loose in ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’. Hope she signs her upcoming projects wisely. She deserves to be seen more in good well-etched roles! Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia were flawless in their supporting act. Randeep Hooda is hardly there but was okay. His character deserved more fine-tuning.
Pritam’s music is first-rate and one of the best albums of the year, without doubt! ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’ is the best and so are ‘Jugni’, ‘Yaariyan’ and ‘Daru Desi’. ‘Angreji Beat’ (Honey Singh) is energetic as well. It was a pleasure to read Salim-Sulaiman’s mention for background score after ages. They effectively used minimal sound which surprisingly worked nicely in this romcom. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is brilliant and nicely captures the locales, especially the ones at Cape Town. Anaita Shroff Adajania’s styling, as mentioned before, was first-rate as expected! Great work!
Imtiaz Ali and Sajid Ali’s story-screenplay was in a way beaten-to-death but in a way had elements of novelty as well. The best friend falling in love with one’s boyfriend is common occurrence and most of our films didn’t deal it in a realistic manner. Cocktail attempts to do that but in the second half the film moves painfully slow. Also, the story had certain moments that were straight out of Love Aaj Kal (climax in Delhi; Saif’s break up talk and the flashback in the climax of Randeep-Diana) and that’s absolutely fine. But one wishes if Imtiaz himself had helmed the direction. Homi Adajania as a director does his level best but that a film like Cocktail was not his cup of tea was evident. And his ‘Being Cyrus’ psychedelic style was visible in the nightclub scene in the second half and in the accident scene as well! In short, a good but a great attempt!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Veronica takes Meera home
2. Veronica fools Gautam
3. Meera finds Veronica in Gautam’s place
4. The songs ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’, ‘Daaru Desi’ and ‘Jugni’
5. All scenes of Dimple Kapadia
6. Gautam-Meera’s intimate conversation at Cape Town (post-interval)
7. Gautam and Randhir (Boman) in the bar
On the whole, Cocktail boasts of a great storyline, bravura performances, trendy music and loads of freshness and style. But the execution (particularly in the second hour) proves as a damper. Fortunately, the film did fantastic collections over the weekend and would be in the safe zone, commercially. A one-time watch would be fine or else waiting for DVD/(censored) TV release won’t be a problem as well.
My rating – ** ½ out of 5!