Director Homi Adajania serves up a heady cocktail, shaken and stirred, his style. What’s his style? Well, he’s only directed two films so far, Being Cyrus (2005) and Cocktail (2012), but there’s a filming and narrative pattern in both, despite both films being very different from each other, namely their plot lines.
Adajania’s got the easy-speak conversations going in Cocktail that sound and look real without resorting to adding shrill background scores to heighten the impact. The scenes seamlessly flow into each other without jagged, inexplicable sequences as is the case in many a film. The wry sense of humour in the film is scathing and funny, very today.
The film is set in London where Gautam Kapoor (Saif Ali Khan) from “the” Delhi, lives and works. Gautam, who is fondly addressed as Gutlu by his mother (Dimple Kapadia), is a compulsive flirt and player and has been so for the last 15 years of his 32-year-old existence on the planet. His maternal uncle, Tinku (Boman Irani), sighs in mock exasperation in front of his English wife, every time his nephew goes off skirt-chasing down the streets of London. Gautam runs into Meera (Diana Penty), a demure Indian girl on her first visit to London at the airport and tries to take her out for dinner, but backs off when she tells him she’s married.
Enter Veronica (Deepika Padukone), the poor, little rich girl with a wardrobe that every girl worth her fashionable Louboutins would trade anything to get her hands on, who parties all night and sleeps all day. She befriends a weeping Meera, who moves into her London apartment, and the two turn into BFF’s, a little like Brunette Barbie and India Barbie playing house together. And they don’t know it yet, but Ken (Gautam) is right round the corner, just waiting to flip the term “It’s on the house” quite literally. The scene where Deepika does the “It’s his bun in my oven” scene at the restaurant is priceless. Both Saif and she have enacted that hilarious sequence perfectly.
So, it’s a live-in, three’s company scenario, without it being a love triangle, between Gautam, Veronica and Meera, with super tracks like Main Sharabi, Desi Daru and Tum Hi Ho Bandhu adding flavour to their youthful and vibrant lives. Meera likens Gautam to a pig that rolls all day in shit whilst Veronica exclaims, “He’s amazing in bed.” Despite the difference in their opinions about him, the “awesome threesome” laugh happily from London to Cape Town till Gautam’s mother comes into town to get him married and check out what he’s up to with the two girls.
Cape Town is where the shaken and stirred dramatic bits of the plot start unfolding and the tears come on, but not without Dimple and Deepika making lip contact, thanks to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a pristine Cape Town beach. Now that’s something no one was expecting! You have to see Saif's expression when that happens!
There are some great, simple lines in the film in the most complex situations like when Gautam explains his inebriated state of the night before to Meera – “Tum lonely ho, main characterless hoon” which lightens the weight of the drama so to speak.
So, things are a little weird and twisted between the trio and it’s all due to a little thing called love. He loves her, she loves him but he doesn’t love her – that’s the direction it was headed from the start, unbeknownst to them, of course. The happy party’s pretty much over, but the hangover’s excruciatingly painful and neither knows how to deal with it – Veronica is hopping mad, Meera gets emotional and Gautam is all in love, clueless about the repercussions of him coming out with his real feelings. The end is a tad drawn out, but at least it isn’t a buzz kill!
Saif Ali Khan’s Punjabi accent, replete with the rough edges spruced up with the polished Londoner act as Gautam is brilliant. You’d think he’d look older than the two girls, but he fits right in. Of course, if he was a decade younger, Cocktail would have been an intoxicating mix of his youthful charm and histrionics. Deepika Padukone IS Veronica – uninhibited, sexy and beautiful. She nails the part and it is one of her better performances. Diana Penty looks the part and is believable as moral Meera, but is no great actress. Boman Irani is great as usual and Dimple Kapadia is simply amazing! She is adorable as the protective, Punjabi mother, who bullies her brother Tinku any given time or place. Randeep Hooda who plays Kunal Ahuja, a hoax marriage expert, has a small part, but shines regardless.
Anil Mehta’s camera work in Cocktail is pure art in motion. Every shot is breathtakingly beautiful, without taking away from the ongoing shenanigans of the characters on screen.
Cocktail is a contemporary film that reflects life as it happens all around us.... just as crazy, twisted, beautiful, funny, weird and lonely as anyone’s life can be. It’s about easy choices and hard decisions and how life still goes on, despite it all. It’s a cocktail you definitely wanna try!