A Cocktail of Orthodox Ideologies!

Mix a Parwati bhabhi, a Pallavi and a nagging mother in law as good as Savita bahu with a topping of son Mihir Viraani and you would shake a perfect Cocktail! Raising a toast, I wonder what the director would have called it, had the scriptwriter added an immortal Baa to the worthless drama! A Mock Tale? No seriously, I was taken back to the Ekta era of never ending soap operas, scene after scene, as the film refused to progress at all! The only good thing about the film is Dimple Kapadia  who continues to take your breath away with her flawless acting.

But that is not my concern, specially after Rowdy Rathore and Dabang did a “reasonably” huge business on the box office. The most astonishing aspect of this commercial film that left my right eyebrow raised up throughout the sequences lies in the portrayal of women on the celluloid in this particular reel of orthodoxy. Scales have fallen down to the level where one of the opening shots of the film shows a newly wedded Indian woman- a typically submissive, shy and a giving lady who is too meek to speak: Meera (Diana Penty) - “The Indian Woman”. She has come to London after marriage and portrays the bechari biwi abandoned by her husband. You would see her covered head to toe in salwar kameez and accessorized with half a dozen bangles and danglers and voila, Veronica – “The Indian Vamp” welcomes her with: “accha, toh aap hindustan se aayin hain?!” Veronica(played by Dipkia Padukone) is loud and peppy, dresses skimpily; is charming, smart, and drinks heavily. She buys a carton of beer cans as the two ladies exchange their life stories. A ridiculous contrast. A huge disappointment on the filmmaker’s part. Mister, you lack perspective certainly!
        Diana Penty' look in CocktailDeepika Padukone Still from Cocktail
Decades have passed since the nomination of the classic Shaheb Biwi aur Gulam for best film was withdrawn from the academy awards race just because “The Indian Women” couldn’t be shown drinking on screen. I was thunderstruck to realize that filmmakers have not grown up with time. Why a smart woman typically becomes a vamp and a tragedy queen is the natural option for the female lead? And, the vamp always drinks and smokes! But that’s not the only issue which this film has reinvented. Cocktail possesses the potential to disturb your thought process in multilayers. The next is, the male lead- Gautam played by Saif Ali Khan. He does exactly everything that Veronica loves to do; smokes, drinks and is shown having sex with random women and still plays the lead! Aren’t alcohol, tobacco and polyamory bad for both? Then, why this discrimination?
Coming back to the film, the spoilt brat then makes out with the rich bitch Veronica and they rejoice together in the weeks ahead. Towards the climax, Gautam falls in love with Meera who lives in the same house with the other two. Why? Because, she is a perfect homemaker and perhaps has long straight jet black hairs? Also, the rich “bitch”, develops this enchanting desire to become a “desi girl” in a local pub for guess who? Why, Gautam! Because he is “different”. I don’t understand this. Why the Indian vamp is always very rich? What do filmmakers have against rich and independent women? Anyway, how Gautam becomes different all of sudden has not been explained. C’mon now! Not everything is supposed to be explained, right? You have to read between the scenes! And by now the Parwati bhabhi in Meera has already overpowered her blissfully to gift away Gautam to the vamp, as if he was their shared hair dryer! You can easily predict every next scene while getting frustrated. In the end you may try to figure out why Veronica becomes another Meera: supposedly “The Indian Woman”. While Meera, who is the perfect angel marries the badass Gautam and hell, she is totally in love with him. Frankly speaking, I don’t buy this melodramatic discrimination.
If this is how you’d project the image of women of our country in the world cinema, then I am sorry there is something seriously wrong with your research. Please Mr. Filmmaker, grow up! 

2 Comments:

PRABHAT JHA said...

going through the things that the film has, its surprising that the same filmmaker has made 'Being Cyrus'. The market pressures of the Big budget larger than life, orthodox bollywood has ruined a filmmaker like Homi Adjania. This is how it works, by making stereotypical 'Kool' movies with western setting but orthodox ideas. And this is what the NRI's also like. Anurag Kashyap rightly said that the Indians living outside India are much more traditional. Or perhaps they are being assumed to be traditional. And by reveling the end of the movie, you made sure that nobody watches it, even for the sake of surprise ending.

Aadi said...

The movie was kewwl!