When you see two pretty chicks and a hunk prancing around in foreign locales looking deliriously happy singing about deep friendship, you know, of course, what to expect. Not only will both girls fall in love with the hunk in question, but the film will also turn into a tearjerker halfway.
But, of course, Cocktail is not your regular film. It is about Gautam Kapoor (could there be a more filmi name?) hitching up (for lack of a better word for a wham-bam-no-strings-attached-live-in affair) with Veronica, and then realising that he is in love with her roommate, Meera, who is also in love with him but doesn’t want to come in the way of her best friend and roomie.
Now you know why this film is called Cocktail. They are all freaking mixed up. Gautam picks up five random women in the first 20 minutes of the film. And for some reason, the film wants you to assume that this man, with his use-and-throw approach to women and corny lines, is irresistible to women. (That is no longer fashionable, Mr Scriptwriter.)
Then there is Meera, the innocent Indian girl, who flies to UK after marriage, only to find that husband Kunal (Randeep Hooda) is not interested in her. Why he marries her in the first place is anybody’s guess. And so instead of flying back to India, the abandoned Meera cries copiously in a bathroom. She is then rescued by the rich bitch Veronica, and taken into her home.
Later Veronica and Gautam fall into bed, and he moves in too. Then his very much Punjaabbi ‘maanopausal’ mother turns up, only to assume that the ‘homely’ desi Meera is her son’s true love. And then the desi clichés are rubbed in so much that Gautam and Meera fall in love too.
Of course, everyone’s quite adult and open about it, with frequent dialogues like ‘She loves me, but I love you.’ But it is a Hindi film after all and things have to get maudlin at some point.
That is not to say that the film doesn’t work at all. There are moments in the film which do work; some scenes are touching, for instance the one where Gautam and Meera realise their feelings for each other or the awkwardness of Gautam confessing his feelings for Meera to Veronica or the latter’s unspoken outburst are handled differently.
Some scenes are hilarious, particularly Saif confidences in the bar as the foreign singer sings on or the entry of Saif’s mom in his home (incidentally, with his blonde wig and eye make up, Saif looks exactly like Sharmila Tagore in An Evening in Paris, except with the muscles). Apart from the fact that he looks too old for all this bum-jiggling, Saif is funny and spontaneous as always. Diana makes a remarkable debut, her awkwardness is endearing. However, it is Deepika Padukone who connects all the dots in the plot. Her Veronica adding that combustive element to Gautam and Meera’s chemistry.
There are people who love films about freefalling NRIs, who have jobs but never seem to work, who love the thrills of casual sex but only till they find a desi wife who will serve home-cooked food, and who can go to Cape Town from London for just a weekend, and whose biggest crisis is to decide if what they feel is ‘true’ love. But this critic ain’t one of them.