Film Review: Cocktail (2012)

As I settle on the sofa to collect my thoughts about Cocktail, I think about the first question that comes to mind when thinking about it. The question would be… why is the movie called Cocktail? There is a loose meaning to the film’s story overall but in all honesty, it could have been called a range of things. I am inclined to think that this name signifies the ups and downs of the characters; the sour and sweet moments that their lives encompass in the duration of the movie. Hmmm… let’s explore this further.

Cocktail is essentially about three main characters. Firstly there is Gautam, played by the desperately-in-need-of-a-hit Saif Ali Khan. Gautam is someone who is a flirt and chancer somewhat. There is a flippant air about him. Secondly, there is Veronica who is the character played by the beautiful Deepika Padukone. Veronica is a typical rich-kid who doesn’t have any ties with her parents but is given money from them regularly so that she can live a life of leisure in her own flat in London. The third character is Meera who is played by newbie Diana Penty. Meera comes from India to join her new husband who is in the city only to find he has married her just for money and has no intention in spending his life with her. The three become intertwined when Veronica meets Meera whilst she is on a night out with friends. Meera eventually confides in Veronica who offers her a place to stay in a flat she lives alone in. The two become good friends and stumble one night upon Gautam who instantly takes a liking to Veronica. The two get together in what is essentially a sex-only relationship. Meera is very much the spare tyre for some time until Gautam’s mother (Dimple Kapadia) turns up with his uncle (Boman Irani) to meet his girlfriend. Veronica makes a less-than-perfect impression on the two and Gautam is forced to state that Meera is the girl he sees his future with. The drama then unfolds.

First and foremost, it has to be said that the first and second halves of the movie seem to have their own identities. It’s important to take in the information about the characters and the circumstances from the first half in order to progress and have a deeper understanding of events that lead to the second half. You may think this is obvious in every film but it is more essential for a film like Cocktail because the first half is very light-hearted whereas the second half is pretty dramatic. The three characters very much evolve in the second half which is a little surprising because up until the intermission, the movie just seems to plod along without much effect to one’s heart, emotions or indeed one’s memory. From the trailers, it seemed as if the movie would be a comedy somewhat and the comedy element was needed in the first half. It lacked very much in it and I feel the first half loses a little soul because of this. The second half is when the film totally comes to life. The true deepness of the characters is shared and one begins to appreciate the story and film a lot more.

With London as the main backdrop, it has to be said that director Homi Adajania makes quite an impression. His attention to detail is very much evident in every scene and he depicts situations in a very clean and youthful way. His portrayal of the characters is subtle but hugely effective and this is more tangible in the second half of the film. The characters are a little stereotypcial but what is different about Cocktail is that they aren’t very predictable to the extent that you know what will happen in the plot. The credit goes to Adajania for this, undoubtedly.

For me, all three main actors are outstanding in their respective roles. Khan’s performance is almost familiar because somewhere along the line, you feel like you’ve seen him in this character before. Perhaps this is the whole point because one feels comfortable with him in this role as if no-one could really play it quite like he does. Padukone seems to play a similar character to ones she has been known to play before but this time, it feels like she has given Veronica a soul which is very heart-warming. Needless to say, she looks amazing in the movie so the male audience will be happy… more than happy in fact! Penty, in contrast, totally covers up in the movie as she is a Desi girl who is finding her way in London. I was hugely impressed by Penty in this movie which she is making her debut in. She portrays the role of Meera with such ease and seems to have the correct look of a modern girl with traditional values. If she takes on the right projects, I am sure she will go far in her acting career in Bollywood.

The soundtrack of the movie compliments the movie very well. In particular, ‘Daaru Desi’ and ‘Tumhi Ho Bandhu’ are proving to be hugely popular. Having not been exposed too much to them, I felt that they couldn’t fit more perfectly with the overall treatment of the film. However, the one song that very much stood out for me is ‘Yaariyan’. What can I say… I’m a deep girl!

Overall, Cocktail has very commendable portions on friendship, love and drama and is of a standard that many will not appreciate so much. However, as a London girl myself, I put my hand on my heart and say that the second half of the movie totally made the movie for me. I identified with the London setting and also felt myself very emotionally attached to all three characters and the predicaments they were in. That, in itself, hits the nail on the head. When one feels involved with heart and head with a film, it’s hard for it to not do well with the audiences. Cocktail very much strikes that kind of chord and it’s not until you walk away from it do you realise exactly how much. The only one thing that lacks is the uncontrollable laughter which I was so ready to experience… but was left hanging. Nonetheless, I am sure Khan – both as co-producer and male lead – is breathing a huge sigh of relief in knowing that the film should be well-liked by the masses… but I still don’t really understand the reasoning behind the title of the film!

Rating: 3.5/5

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