You’ll probably need to have a cocktail yourself, and a strong one at that, to get through the dull second half of Cocktail.
It is a pity, because the first segment of this Bollywood romantic comedy film from director Homi Adajania is fairly energetic, interesting, and well acted by its two female leads.
The flaws, along with the usual genre clichés, which seem to follow any next-gen targeted Bollywood picture, are easier to swallow in Cocktail than in other similar films.
This is mostly due to the initial strength of the narrative, which at first has some punch. Unfortunately, the fizz wears off in the film’s latter stages where Cocktail tastes overly familiar, and a little too sugary.
The film is based in London, where Veronica (Deepika Padukone) a rich young girl who parties hard befriends Meera (Diana Penty), a traditional Indian girl who is in England for the first time. The two meet when Veronica finds Meera crying after learning that the husband she came looking for in England, Kunal Ahuja (Randeep Hooda), was a deceptive con artist. After listening to her story, Veronica offers Meera a place in her home to stay, and the two form a strong friendship in spite of their contrasting personalities.
This is where Gautam Kapoor (Saif Ali Khan) enters their lives. Gautam, an IT professional who spends his spare time womanising, is the victim of a prank by Veronica after Meera tells her about an incident she had with him when she landed in England. Things move forward when Gautam and Veronica become involved, with both of them looking for a physical relationship without any strings attached. And when Gautam’s mother (Dimple Kapadia) surprises him with a visit, he presents Meera to her as the person he is interested in rather than Veronica since he expects Meera’s more traditional demeanour to appeal to his mother. Eventually, Gautam’s mother and Meera start to bond with each other. This is where the twist occurs and the film takes a predictably Bollywood turn into masala territory: Gautam and Meera start to fall for each other, while Veronica, who had never been interested in a traditional relationship, begins to question the depth of her own feelings for Gautam.
Cocktail features some visually pleasing cinematography, including some fine shots of the London nightlife, as well as Cape Town, South Africa. Unfortunately, the film’s other aspects don’t quite match some of the fine visuals it has to offer. If you are a fan of Bollywood, you’ve probably had this concoction before which, while not awful, needs to be sent back to the barkeep for those looking for something special.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, July 29th, 2012.