Tuesday 17 July 2012

Not Intoxicating

Producer: Saif Ali Khan
Director: Homi Adajania
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
by Bhawana Somaaya
Veronica (Deepika Padukone) is a free spirited girl who has made London her home and life is a party for her where the music never stops.
One day, she spots Meera (Diana Penty) bag and baggage weeping in a drug store bathroom and brings her home. They are poles apart but soon become best friends.
Gautam Kapoor is a compulsive flirt and lives without commitments. He finds a match in Veronica and moves into her apartment.
Trouble begins when Gautam’s mother Kavita Kapoor (Dimple Kapadia) lands in London unannounced and wants to confirm an alliance for her son immediately.

What works about the film:
Many things: From the opening frame there is a refreshing take to unfold a regular story in a different way. The titles drop on the screen like attractive headlines of a magazine cover and in the ensuing scenes; characters engage you in interesting, insightful conversations.
 Writers Imtiaaz and Sajid Ali present complexities of love very simply but love is never that simple.
There are some really funny lines in the film like Deepika telling a restaurant full of people “His bun is in my oven.”
Seductively shot by Anil Mehta and punctuated with extraordinary music by Pritam, all the songs are heart rending and express the anguish of various characters.
What doesn’t work:
The characters are professionals but never shown working. There is just one scene where Meera declares she has found a job as a visual designer and Deepika Padukone clicking pictures to establish that she is a photographer. Saif Khan is shown attending office but it is unclear what he does for a living.
There are no defining moments for the blossoming or the fading of relationships.
Post interval the pace and punch drop drastically.
Debutante Diana Penty is beautiful but has a fixed expression on her face.
Saif Ali Khan has played myriad romantic roles in the past and this is certainly not his best. He is witty, charming, exasperated and earnest but that certain spark he brought to his earlier performances is missing. He does not have to reduce himself to dress as a drag and dance to ‘Sheila ki jawani…’
Deepika Padukone has the best role and sparkles as the candid, compassionate, insecure, uninhibited Veronica. She is most effective when she is reacting!
Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia as Saif’s uncle and mother bring a distinct dialect to their performances.
Director’s cut:
Homi Adajania whose Being Cyrus was a pioneering effort attempts to weave another complex tale of passion and intrigue but the intricate layers get entangled. He presents London as a character and takes you through all the colours, textures and climates of the cold city.
It travels through dingy corridors, shining night clubs, crowded streets, and shabby apartments to unobtrusively make shifts in relationships and emotions.
There is a word Meera says to Gautam in the concluding scene, ‘Focus’. I guess Adajania was lacking in focus!!
This is not a regular love triangle. Cocktail is about female bonding and more important about female gaze. Departing from Hindi movies, it’s about women who exercise choices and sustain relationships.
Cocktail caters to the urban 20 to 30s age bracket and will do well only in the metropolis and the multiplexes.
The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
You can subscribe to it at sales@starblockbuster.com

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