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'Cocktail' sparkles when the fun and games are on,and gives us a couple of splendid moments when there is silence.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi |
July 13, 2012 6:28:20 pm

Cast:Saif Ali Khan,Deepika Padukone,Diana Penty,Boman Irani,Dimple Kapadia,Randeep Hooda

Director:Homi Adajania

Indian Express Ratings:**1/2

There’s this guy,he’s too cool,ya. Lives and works in London,chases girls,gets ‘em,beds ‘em,moves on. There’s this girl,she’s wild. Has this nice pad in a tony part of London,which she uses as a stop-over to change clothes in between all the partying. And,of course,there’s this other girl,who’s the ‘seedhi-saadhi’ type,you know,covered from top to toe,sweet,shy.

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Place these characters in a shiny glass jar,shake with a swizzle stick,and you get ‘Cocktail’.Which is just another name to call a one guy-two girls shtick,which is,as you and I know,one of the oldest in the book. ‘Cocktail’ starts off headily enough,and bubbles along till half time; post that,the sips get diluted,and the swallows take much longer.

Gautam (Khan) is the sort of guy who sees anything female as a challenge,and they seem to fall like nine pins. In the real world,he’d get called desperate,in ‘Cocktail’s sleekly appointed confines,he is the lucky sod who gets all the action he wants. Hetries his luck with the just arrived-in-London-and-dealing- with-abandonment-issues Meera (Penty),who is not interested . But Meera’s new-found friend and flatmate Veronica (Padukone),the very same insane party chick,is in. So here’s our trio : cue smart lines about ‘threesomes’,and lots of fun stuff. Quick trip,just like that,no money woes for pretty people, to South Africa,which leads to beaches,bikinis,oiled flesh. Only problem : Gautam’s mummyji (Kapadia) and mamaji (Irani),who are busy match-making,and ruining the party.

There’s some good stuff in ‘Cocktail’. Adajania who’s made ‘Being Cyrus’ with Khan is a director with style. Here,he joins hands with Imtiaz Ali’s nifty dialogues,and we are made to feel good by seeing these lovely looking people do the stuff that people do when sex is in the air,and love is around the corner. The trouble begins when the L word gets centre-stage : to be any good,a rom com needs heart-ache and tears,but needs to be careful of sogginess. ‘Cocktail’ sparkles when the fun and games are on (even though it has some scenes which have been bunged in just for laughs),and gives us a couple of splendid moments when there is silence. No loud background music,no motor mouth lines,just blessed quiet,the way sometimes you want to know what you are feeling without ruining it with chatter. But it can’t handle the being emo half as deftly.

It also,and this is a shame,frames the three people in an age-old Bollywood way we thought had been abandoned,rightly,for good. The wild,sexy hottie is okay to be sleeping with,but is not wife material. For that you will need a virginal,shrinking violet type,of whom your mummy approves. Gautam’s ‘mummyji’ takes her ‘kangans’ off her wrists and hands them to her ‘hone-wali-bahu’ (yes,she does) : did you think you’d ever see this scene ever again? And that too in such a hip,contemorary romance as this one? It takes some of the pleasure away from seeing these three spar and come together: the suave Khan who basically does the same thing but well,a Padukone who makes her first serious stab at emoting,and the debutant Penty who’s fresh and natural and likeable when she is not made to be a drip. Kapadia is plain annoying,though : Bollywood needs to re-think its loud Punjabi mummyjis.

Nice while the fizz lasts.

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