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Cocktail review: Well-packaged but regressive

Movie:
Cocktail
Director:
Homi Adjania
Cast:
Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Dimple Kapadia, Boman Irani, Randeep Hooda
Avg user rating:
It’s a cocktail all right. But one that looks better than it tastes.

Surprisingly regressive, the film tells the tale of three unlikely friends settled in London. There’s Veronica (Deepika) who, ignored by her parents, finds solace in drinking and partying. Now this is one character-sketch that ACP Dhoble and his like will find agreeable.

It’s the most clichéd portrayal of a person (usually a woman) who likes to party and drink. There has to be reason for her debauchery.

On the other hand, our skirt-chasing, over-the hill hero Gautam (Saif) is considered a catch. He flirts with women on the street, even his own boss. Gradually he and Veronica enter a causal relationship.

The twist happens when Gautam finds himself attracted to Veronica’s friend Meera (Diana). The antithesis of Veronica, Meera is a girl straight off an Ekta Kapoor serial. Homeless and victim of a sham marriage, Meera finds succor in Veronica’s home.

When Gautam’s mother from Lajpat Nagar comes to London, the whole deal about being accepted by the boy’s mother becomes a big issue.

Now, the major disappointment with the film is not just that it’s a slow-paced and indulgently told tale. It’s also turns  sexist.

It is heartbreaking to see Veronica’s character try changing herself (salwar-kameez, bangles, kurtas, cooking) to win the approval of Gautam. And it is indeed puzzling to understand why the two women would fight over a compulsive flirt anyway. There are endless conversations about how wonderful Gautam is, while the audience scratches their head trying to figure out exactly why.

The film is well-packaged and looks good. But the story disappoints. Humour is consistent but not as funny as in other rom-coms. In places, the film tries too hard to be funny, like the scene where Saif is dancing in drag.

The girls steal the show in this one. Deepika Padukone looks great and puts her heart in the role. A difficult character to essay, Padukone is consistently impressive. Saif Ali Khan is alright—but he has performed the lover-boy drone better in other rom-coms. Diana Penty is a talent to look out for. She, thankfully, is modeling import who can act.

This writer had high hopes from the movie, especially since director Homi Adajani’s debut film Being Cyrus (2005) was so enjoyable.

One would have respected and appreciated the film had it been as contemporary as it set out be. If Veronica didn’t have to stoop down to being a “good Indian wife” material, if Meera didn’t always have to be this self-sacrificing and was allowed to be more real, and if Gautam was shown to be the cad he is and not the “acha ladka” as he’s called in every other sentence.

Drink this cocktail if you must; but be warned, the concoction isn’t as appetizing as it looks!

Rating: Two stars

 

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