For this sophomore effort, Homi Adajania (Being Cyrus) helms a romantic comedy-drama written by Imtiaz Ali. Cocktail, a modern love triangle where characters sleep with each other after a drunken night and share toothbrushes with disturbing ease, pivots around Gautam, Veronica and Meera.
Much like an Archie comic triangle both the plane Jane Meera (Diana Penty) and independent and rich Veronica (Deepika Padukone) are the objects of Gautam’s (Saif Ali Khan) affections. The two girls are the antithesis of each other, but only one can win Gautam’s love.
Khan is doing what he does best – playing the flirt and buffoon, but he cannot pass off for a 30-something any more. Diana Penty looks lovely and brings the requisite tender vulnerability to Meera, but she has a long way to go in the acting department. She also debuts with a character whose graph never really peaks. The real revelation of Cocktail is Deepika Padukone who sizzles – not only does she look smoking hot, but her performance shows marked growth and confidence. Dimple Kapadia and Boman Irani are gifted scenes designed to play to the gallery.
While the first half is breezy, pleasant and visually delightful – like the high of a great drink, the second half is tiresome – like the dullness of a hangover. A loose script with the flab of eked out scenes drags the movie down. At least two of the songs could have been dispensed with, especially the piercing ‘Jugni’.
Technically, Anil Mehta’s cinematography and Anaita Shroff Adajania’s styling deserve mention. The editing by Sreekar Prasad could have been tighter, as could have the script – 15 minutes off the running time would have prevented the audience from questioning much that the script takes for granted. Ali’s script is surprising superficial and lacks the complexity and nuances seen in Jab We met and Rockstar.
Director Adajania manages to craft some truly enjoyable moments, but there are others scenes that could have been revisited. I look forward to seeing his next film, which one hopes will be based on his own script and present an edge and original narrative that this film lacks.
– Udita Jhunjhunwala