Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Menace à trois

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 14 July, retrieved from http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/reviews/article566359.ece)





Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Dimple Kapadia, Boman Irani
Director: Homi Adajania
Rating: 2.5 stars
You know all that about getting the mix right in a cocktail? Well, this one feels like the bartender tried a fancy swirl and spilt it all over the counter.
When Cocktail opens on to Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) trying to peer under a flight attendant’s skirt as she demonstrates safety procedures, you sort of expect an over-the-top film. When she snubs his flirtatious overtures with not-so-original lines, you think this might be a blah film. But it picks up very nicely within a few minutes.
And it’s the characterisation that helps build the story. Gautam is a playboy. Veronica (Deepika Padukone) is a playgirl. She owns the London pub scene. She calls herself as a “rich b***h”. She’s usually stumbling around tipsily, trying to find a loo. Meera (Diana Penty) is the Bhartiya Nari who’s travelling from Delhi to London to join her husband Kunal (Randeep Hooda). She may not be street-smart, but she’s resourceful enough to track him down when he doesn’t show up at the airport.
By this time, Gautam has already hit on Meera, only to be told she’s waiting for her husband to pick her up. Meera runs into Veronica at the one place a crying woman and a drunk woman are most likely to meet – the loo. And we’re pitched into the quintessential Archie-Veronica-Betty story. Just in case the character’s name didn’t tell us enough.
To its credit, the film focuses on Veronica for the most part. What does a girl who’s the life of the party have to call her own? Everyone loves her when she’s dancing on tables and teasing men, but what happens when she begins to hit the downward spiral? Do men only marry the girls their mommies love? And are girls like Veronica “good only for one thing”, as she says?
Clichéd it may sound, but the film tempers the predictability of the storyline with some lovely situational humour, and perfect timing, courtesy Dimple Kapadia, who plays Gautam’s mother Kavita Kapoor, and Boman Irani, who plays his Mama, Tinku. Sadly, those two Kapoors pretty much disappear after the interval, and so does the story’s inventiveness.
It hurtles along the same old path most of its breed do. And somehow, a film that’s sidestepped melodrama for the first hour or so, turns maudlin. There is a soppy proposal, guilty acceptance, resigned altruism, and a random song thrown in at the end. The comedy becomes hackneyed, and the audience ends up laughing at the movie, instead of with it.
When the film finally ends, one is left wishing it had been an hour or so shorter, so it could have sustained the viewer’s interest.
The Verdict: The film sees some great acting in the first half, but the plotline and dialogues let down a story with a solid beginning.

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