Reviewing the Reviews: Reluctant praise for ‘Cocktail’

16 Jul,2012

Cocktail

Directed by Homi Adajania

Produced by Saif Ali Khan, Dinesh Vijan

Written by Imtiaz Ali, Sajid Ali

Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty

 

Saif Ali Khan playing his umpteeth cool, flirty dude role, can’t carry it off now, at 40 plus. Which is one of the things Homi Adajania’s Cocktail got panned for, the other being its regressive stance towards women, while posing as a youth flick. The cheerful first half is absolutely at odds with the embarrassingly melodramatic and cliched second half.  What’s really sad is that in an urban story, set in London, the subservient girl gets the lechy guy, the wild girl was not thought worthy of even a jerk.

 

The film got 2 to 3.5 stars, and a good opening, but reluctant praise, mainly for it’s breezy first half.

 

Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express wrote: “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. 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.”

 

Rajeev Masand of IBN Live cribbed: “Alas, Cocktail, directed by Homi Adajania, is no saucy menage a trois, although it does involve three friends living together in London, a little too close for comfort. No, Cocktail falls firmly in the rom-com space. But even as the tone shifts uncomfortably from breezy, light-hearted fun, to heavy drama in the second half, you’re never in danger of actually caring for the cardboard characters in this empty souffle of a film.”

 

Raja Sen of rediff.com commented how spectacularly the film crashed and burned. “Adajania starts off breezily enough, all effortless-flirting and shotglasses and dramatically teary mascara, but the threadbare and increasingly inane plot unspools halfway through, leaving us with a shoddy, frustratingly random sequence of events. The last one-third of the film features the kind of emotional melee that can only be rightfully resolved by handing one of the girls a samurai sword. Alas, no such bloody respite is offered.”

 

Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror was disappointed by the writer Imtiaz Ali’s cop  out: “(He) goes on to self-censor, Indianize, romanticize, emotionalize, ergo commercialize the experience and give us a 1 part alcohol and 10 part water cocktail, an exercise in pointlessness. We now have abla nari, the Indian mother pushing marriage, and a… you get the point. All of this is well disguised of course with cutting edge club eveningwear on Deepika Padukone and luscious London.”

 

Saibal Chatterjee was generous: “The heart has its reasons, the mind its methods. When the two are sought to be yoked together on Bollywood’s big romcom canvas, the result can be touch-and-go. One misstep either way could mean a hopeless nosedive either into mushy drivel or pretentious claptrap.  But no such worries here. For the most part, Cocktail, directed by Homi Adajania and scripted by Imtiaz Ali (a sort of high priest of the genre), steers clear of the pitfalls and delivers an eminently watchable love story that breaks the mould.”

 

Taran Adarsh wrote: “On the whole, Cocktail has a fascinating first half, charismatic performances, harmonious music and the trendy look and styling as its aces, but the second half is not as tempting or intoxicating as the first hour. It pales when compared to the attention-grabbing first hour. Yet, all said and done, this one’s primarily targeted at the Gen Next, especially those in metros, who might identify with the on-screen characters.”

 

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