Cocktail – Why drinks don’t mix

The first rule of drinking is that “you do not mix drinks”. The second rule of drinking is that “you DO NOT mix drinks”. Cocktail, directed by Homi Adajania (Being Cyrus) and written by Imtiaz Ali (Socha na tha & Jab we met) and Sajid Ali, breaks both these sacrosanct rules of drink club. First half is frothy and fun like beer while the second half is a bottoms up of whiskey. The result? A tizzying hangover for everyone in the audience ‘involved’.

Cocktail starts off on very shaky grounds. Gautam (Saif Ali Khan, old, tired, trying too hard) is a serial flirt who staunchly believes that the way to finding the true love of your life is to sleep with everyone else. Veronica (Deepika Padukone, smoking hot, needs to learn Hindi) is a Paris Hiton-esque wild kid who tinkers with her camera between wild parties and hangovers. Meera (Diana Penty, sweet, commendable debut) is a demure ‘bharatiya naari’ who gets embroiled in a hoax marriage by Kunal (Randeep Hooda, minuscule role, promising). Gautam flirts with Meera before ending up sleeping and living in with Veronica, before finding ‘true love’ in Meera and before finding himself torn between the two. The story, in case you care, is conveniently predictable and reaches its logical (?) end.

I was squirming in my seat every time I saw Saif flirt with a girl approximately half his age. He is too old for this. But the bigger problem is that he even looks too old for this. He basically takes a leaf out of Aamir Khan’s Akash from Dil Chahta Hai and makes a pulp out of it. In the second half, he has precious little to do except ham, look lost and reprise the now legendary “lekin main… Array wo.. suno to…” dialogue from DCH in his climactic proposal. There is no doubt that Deepika looks great. Also here she has been given some pretty meaty scenes as well. But she kills it every time by screwing up the diction. In one of the major scenes of hers, she ends up saying ‘may’ instead of ‘main’. And that’s that. Diana is lovely. She looks sweet, acts her part without going over the top and provides the film with probably the only emotional anchor. Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia are great in their respective roles. A special mention should also go to Dimple for finally mentioning the word menopause in a major Hindi movie.

As is the case with most big budget movies these days, Cocktail is technically brilliant. Anil Mehta shoots London and Cape Town as if he’s in love with them. The background music by Salim-Sulaiman is really good and the music by Pritam is great. Although I am having a tough time believing if his music is original.

I really hate it when a film shows promise and shies away from delivering it. Cocktail could have been a great new-age movie centring around live-in relationships and mature friendships. Instead, it strengthens every known cliche of Hindi films: the girl who parties hard and drinks has to have an unhappy childhood or a broken home and she definitely cant win (even if she decides to embrace the bharatiya naari image); the guy can pretty much get away with anything because he’s ‘saat samundar paar’; the demure bharatiya naari has to realise her love only when she is drunk and has partied for the first time. In the end, it becomes a Sangam (1964) where Saif becomes Vyjantimala and Deepika and Diana become Rajendra Kumar and Raj Kapoor disrespectively.

Cocktail proves that spirits (emotions), if not mixed properly, can lead to a terrible hangover. Lemonade, please!

Rating: 3/10 (one for the music, one for photography and one for Diana)

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