Romance comes easy to Saif Ali Khan. He slips into the romantic characters, playing the uber-cool, trendy, suave, metrosexual guy with elegance. Films such as ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’, ‘Hum Tum’, ‘Salaam Namaste’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’ only consolidated and cemented his status in this genre. That’s one of the prime reasons why ‘Cocktail’ generates curiosity. But this one’s about love and friendship. A tug-of-war of sorts.
It’s murmured that Woody Allen’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ is the motivation behind ‘Cocktail’. Not true! In any case, the concept of one boy, two girls and an emerging love tale isn’t an innovative subject matter for Hindi movies. In fact, scores of movies based on this plot have been narrated on the home screen prior to this. But the twirl in the romance comes when the trio seems blissful in each other’s company, is living together under one roof and then the unthinkable and unimaginable happens… cupid strikes. The man falls in love with his girlfriend’s best friend. A spanking new ‘cocktail’? Not entirely! The curse of the second half, which plagues most Hindi films, troubles ‘Cocktail’ as well.
Meera [Diana Penty] starts living with Veronica [Deepika Padukone], after she gets dumped by Kunal [Randeep Hooda]. Meera is very desi at heart and also an introvert, while Veronica is a wild-child. Though the two are poles apart, they get close within days of getting to know each other. Enter Gautam [Saif Ali Khan], who has a torrid affair with Veronica and starts living with her. It’s a no commitments relationship. Meera, however, dislikes Gautam. But the unthinkable happens: Gautam and Meera fall in love.
First things first! ‘Cocktail’ represents a mélange of three divergent characters: Saif is wacky and outrageous, Deepika is intense and wild and Diana is calm and undemanding. Whip and fluff up the three and the title seems completely justified. Also, the three characters experience a ‘cocktail’ of emotions: Love, lust, laughter and of course, all that comes with heart-break.
Homi Adajania, who made his directorial debut with ‘Being Cyrus’, attempts a rom-com in ‘Cocktail’ with effortless ease, handling a number of sequences with dexterity. Come to think of it, ‘Cocktail’ is a complex film, which reflects the complexity and intricacies of human relationships. The highpoint of the film is the three sharply defined characters, besides, of course, the styling and visuals.
But this slice-of-life film skids in the post-interval portions. In fact, if the first hour is absorbing, fascinating and pleasurable, hitting the right notes when required, the second hour is half as exciting as the first. What ails the film? Well, too many songs, an over-stretched story, the inconsistent screenplay, the beaten to death finale and the lethargic pacing.
It would be blasphemous if one were to ignore the styling of the characters in this movie [Anaita Shroff Adajania]. Graceful designs dictate the wardrobes of the lead actors in ‘Cocktail’, which not only seizes your attention, but also takes fashion trends frontward. The soundtrack of ‘Cocktail’ [Pritam] strikes the right chords. ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’, ‘Daaru Desi’ and ‘Yaariyaan’ reflect the mood of the film brilliantly. Salim-Sulaiman’s background score is classy and effectual. Anil Mehta’s cinematography gives the film the international feel. In fact, the film has several stunning visuals. The dialogue seem straight out of real life, but are wicked at times too [‘I am carrying his bun in my oven’].
After ‘Love Aaj Kal’ and ‘Aarakshan’, Saif and Deepika team up for the third time and the chemistry and comfort between the actors is unmistakably obvious. Saif has that flair for rom-coms and Homi injects the Delhi flavor into his character, which makes his character all the more notable. Saif fits into his character fluently and leaves a deep-seated impression. The scene stealer is, without doubt, Deepika, who not only looks sizzling hot, but pitches in her career-best performance. She lets herself loose, surrenders to her character wholly and nails the performance. It’s an incredibly noticeable act. It wouldn’t be erroneous to state that ‘Cocktail’ would do for Deepika what ‘Jab We Met’ did for Kareena.
Diana, who makes her acting debut, gets to portray a rather difficult character for her debut film. There’s a very disarming kind of innocence that she brings to the role and she impresses a great deal. Dimple Kapadia is in terrific form, portraying the atypical North Indian lady with gusto. Boman Irani is first-rate, especially in sequences with Dimple. Randeep Hooda’s character is under-nourished.
On the whole, ‘Cocktail’ has a fascinating first half, charismatic performances, harmonious music and the trendy look and styling as its aces, but the second half is not as tempting or intoxicating as the first hour. It pales when compared to the attention-grabbing first hour. Yet, all said and done, this one’s primarily targeted at the Gen Next, especially those in metros, who might identify with the on-screen characters.