Cocktail delivers exactly what it promises. It's a standard romantic comedy. There are times when it becomes a bad one, but it mostly remains a good one (sometimes becoming a very good one). A film like Cocktail is what I call, a hype/expectation film. The vehement marketing makes everyone expect the treasure chest to burst open and make all of us rich with the greatest film ever made. Inevitably, the swords are drawn out and the entire nation plays the critic. Bad word of mouth is bound to be generated, whatever the box office result or the actual film may be. Cocktail is not the best romantic comedy but it's an unconventional one, and largely a successful one.
We are introduced to Gautam (Saif) and Meera (Diana). Then starts a fun credit sequence with Angreji Beat blaring on the soundtrack. Veronica (Deepika) and Meera move in together and soon become best friends. Gautam and Veronica begin a relationship, which is centered on casual sex. Gautams mother shows up at the flat, which makes up for a hilarious scene. Soon, Meera is put forth as his girlfriend to stall Mummy Ji. The parts after this are smooth sailing with some great laughs (Mummy ji says menopause casually and later performs CPR). But lo and behold! Meera and Gautam end up falling in movie love! I mean, true love.
Cocktail has a few minuses. We never see the characters at their workplace much. I don't remember seeing Gautams house. Gautam is the flirt, Meera is the good Indian girl, Veronica is the modern NRI girl. You dont have to be Einstein to know these are blatant stereotypes. At some point I even felt how regressive it was for the characters to think being Indian is being wife material. In turn, being wife material is knowing how to cook, wear Indian clothing and pray to a Hindu idol. And boys, after you find true love, you automatically stop screwing around. Then there is the most obnoxious one: The good old plot device, when you don't know where the story is going, trying killing a character!
Albeit, Cocktail works. The characters learn how to strike a balance. They learn how to not cry over spilled milk and make amends. Nobody acts the saint, they even tell each other they aren't. They learn how to blend in with each other, like a Cocktail mixes different forms of alcohol. The film becomes a very good one due to its honest dialogues. For every predictable dramatic scenario, there are conversations and situations, which reveal unexpected novelty. There are awkward moments that dont seem like usual Bollywood material. The silences are used to brilliant effect. The songs are appropriately used. From the borrowed songs like Angreji Beat and Jugni, to the original ones: Tumhi Ho Bandhu and Yaariyaan.
The prime reason why the film works is Veronica, who is surprisingly human. She tries to act chilled out, fails, becomes a bitch and in time, realizes her mistake. She is the only one with a character arc and her actions are perfectly plausible. Deepika Padukone has been seen in Love Aaj Kal and Break Ke Baad doing her funny drunk-girl routine. Although, this time the drunk words become sober thoughts. She is not happy-high this time. The club scene where she has brief moments of feeling alone is remarkable. Deepika could have easily done the role of Diana Penty, the heroine who ends up with the hero. But she didn't. In fact, I'm glad she didn't.
Mind you, I thoroughly enjoyed films like Jab We Met, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Love Aaj Kal, Wake Up Sid, Band Baaja Baarat, I Hate Luv Storys, Break Ke Baad and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Some films are better than the others but the relationships these films deal with are decidedly urban. The problems of these characters may be juvenile but they are more true to life than a Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. This is the kind of mess the younguns get into. I genuinely also believe Bollywood has been making better romantic comedies than Hollywood has in the past few years. For example, Something Borrowed (2011) - this film has a plot which matches Cocktail's almost exactly but it is not the better film. I count myself as the target audience for a film like Cocktail and I did not come out thinking I saw a bad film. Didn't care much for Meera and Gautam's romance but cared for Veronica.
I don't associate the word masterpiece with the genre of romantic comedy anyway. It will never offer great films and never has. Cocktail is like a fun night. If you drink responsibly, you can have fun and not have a hangover tthe next day. Nobody wants to puke but everybody wants to drink like a fish. Thats where the expectation film suffers. This film isnt the most fun you will ever have, but its a regular fun. Im okay with that. I dont expect every party to be the greatest party in history. Glass half full or half empty, you decide.view less