What strikes most about 'Cocktail' is the sheer freshness that it brings in. Whether it is the shot execution, dialogues, situations, scene placement or the way characters handle situations (well, at least for most part of the film), you can pretty much make out that here is a team which is trying to make a difference. Ok, so it won't be fair to say that there is an envelope being pushed to a major degree.
After all, despite having subtle references to 'Vicky Christina Barcelona' at a few places it doesn't really go all the way. Still, in a frothy feel good structure that 'Cocktail' boasts of, it does try to bring in something new. On the face of it, 'Cocktail' may seem like a routine love story in the offering. The man (Saif Ali Khan) is charming; he has a casual relationship with a confident woman (Deepika Padukone) but finds himself falling for a petite-n-cornered beauty (Diana Penty).
However it's the way writer Imtiaz Ali pens the various situations in the lives of this trio that makes all the difference. So much so that there is a point in the film when one of them even mentions enjoying an awesome threesome in as casual a tone as sharing a pizza. Is that the state of current times? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but then it does state a big deal for sure.
All of this means that 'Cocktail' turns out to be a breeze in the first half. One has to spend first 20-25 minutes to be in synch with the narrative since Homi doesn't really cut his shots in a conventional way.
There is a definite Western touch to the drama as well and once you are on board with the characters, it all turns smooth. However you know that the course of their lives will change as this heady threesome cocktail starts throwing it's after effects.
Thankfully the after effects aren't too heavy either for the 20-25 minutes after the interval point as well. The scene setting for Saif-Deepika-Diana confrontation is brilliant and it is from this point on that Deepika takes over the proceedings completely.
After showing the 'bindaas' side of her for the entire first half of the film, she comes on her own in this part of the film and demonstrates why she chose to play this part. Whether it is playing cool, feeling disgusted, getting frustrated, carrying an anger, letting go of empathy or suffering all the mixed emotions, Deepika delivers and how.
Not to mention Saif Ali Khan who brings in variations to his regular 'live life carefree and enjoy the times' attitude and never fails to entertain right through the proceedings. As for Diana, she makes a very good debut in a complex role where she mouths her dialogues well, looks pretty and emotes well. Rest assured, she is here to say. On the other hand Boman Irani, Dimple Kapadia and Randeep Hooda shine in their brief roles.
Anything that makes one feel a little restless. Well, those 20-25 minutes in the middle of the second half, though important to the film, are way too long drawn and get out and out dramatic (and even dark at times).
As many as three songs by Pritam follow one after another and though they are tuneful (in fact the ones that come in the first half are the film's strength), one just feels that on paper itself this portion of the film could have been pruned. Moreover there is also ambiguity around Randeep's character. (Spoilers ahead) Why does he suddenly want to be back with Diana? What was that hand injury all about? Why did he have his nose broken? And why did Diana walk out on him in a rush?
The pretty much details what all can happen when Cupid strikes. As confessed by Saif Ali Khan who is trapped on both ends, one would well have blood gushing all over the veins. Secondly, especially when it comes to the current generation, you don't really want a 'ghisa-pita' scene in your life where accusations why around two timing and betrayal. All of this and more is deftly handled in this Homi Adajania film which boasts of some never-seen before scenes (and not really 'ghisa-pita') that make it a really enjoyable watch.