So, I was looking forward to the film Cocktail because of the great soundtrack and comedic trailers. Just, mindless, but still cute and enjoyable Bollywood. And yes, Bollywood films uphold double standards. No shocker there. What I didn’t expect was a reminder of one thing in the guise of “progression” and “modernity”: the traditional girl is the one who marries the guy. The “modern” girl is always and will always be the girl to sleep with. Nothing more. Forgive the spoiler alert, but you are better off reading this comic strip than watching this movie, so please do so if you have not had the unfortunate chance to see this movie and are okay with knowing the story.
Accept it, modern girl (Veronica, played by Deepika). Oh, and do make sure to feel happy for the guy (Gautum, played by Saif Ali Khan) who enjoyed his time in bed with you and then ditched you the moment he felt “pure” love for the cute, timid, “wife material” girl who was supposed to be your best friend (Meera, played by Diana Penty).
He was not in the wrong. After all, modern girl knows where she stands. She is just having as much fun as modern (one-dimensional through the promiscuity playboy image) boy is before getting married. Though, in the end nobody will fault him for being the playboy he is, and he will get the ideal Indian wife (and, in reality, probably not end his playboy ways). Modern girl, on the other hand, will have to change her ways if she wants a “good” Indian husband who treats her like royalty. Oh, and also a mother-in-law that cries over her innocence and puts expensive gold bangles on her hand to initiate her as a daughter.
The deal is that modern girl is just a fling and not supposed to have any emotions. And if she does she turns extremely crazy in expressing them. There emerges a lethal combination of excessive alcohol, sex, drugs, random WHITE friends whom she only parties with (I never saw her just hang out with them), the breaking of mirrors in clubs (where was security?), and oh, eventually getting hit by a car in front of the guy she loves (sadly very predictable, and my friend called it before it happened) when things don’t work out.
Cliche, cliche, cliche!
I had my doubts about Deepika, but now I REALLY have my doubts about her. I felt excited about her character: sexually forward, independent, and extremely outgoing. Though I was wrong. When it all comes down to it, sexually forward quickly equates to slutty and un-classy (Hey,Deepika and Cocktail film writers of her character, you should see how Vidya Balan does it before trying to create a sexually forward character so horribly). Instead of these great qualities, she turned into a needy, attention-seeking, daddy-issue beauty queen. Why, oh why?
Are all “modern” women so one-dimensional? Apparently so, as shown when Veronica calls herself a “rich bitch” or keeps asking what “that Indian yogurt thing is for Biryaani” (aka, raita – and really, the writers could have thought of something better if they wanted to make her SO westernized and unaware of Indian culture). Is being “modern” equated to being completely self-obsessed and out of touch with life outside of Western comforts? After all, those comforts are what apparently everyone in India wants sans Bollywood, but not excluding the twisted double standards that are seen as holding onto “our culture”, right? The makers of Cocktail (maybe subconsciously) wanted to make sure we knew that, and wanted to make sure that paradigm was held as high as the Indian flag.
As for our dear Gautam playboy turning loverboy, I really did expect better since I actually like Saif. “Itni larkiyon ke saath, par dil nahin tiktha hai” (Be with so many girls, but the heart doesn’t settle) types. Haan, haan, then of course he realizes the reason why “dil nahin tiktha hai” (the heart does not settle) is because he does not meet nice “ghareloo” larki, Meera. Hmm, how did it not occur to him before that he was not meeting the right kind of women? By “not the right kind” I mean the ones who are “modern”, and thus, are “stupid enough” and “easy enough” to fall for his cheesy one-liners that are mostly confined to Facebook pages or funny e-mails.
I have seen Saif do much better. Though, perhaps, like Sharukh and Salman, he too is shamelessly continuing to pretend like he can be classy in passing off these “young playboy” roles that really need to be left to the new actors of Bollywood (and with better writing). I understand mid-life crises, but this is too much. I hope Saif redeems himself.
Alright, that is enough. Time to gulp down a snazzy Sex on the Beach to make myself feel like a modern Desi girl. Hell, maybe I will snag down five, meet a successful, swanky suit-wearing Desi businessman, but have no expectations for love or marriage because I should have been a “ghareloo” (i.e. stay at home, religious, self-sacrificial, untouched,”true Indian”) type of girl. I have resigned myself to my fate: no mother-in-law doting over me and tons of culturally devoid, lonely nights mixing with the “Firangs” (foreigners). But hey, at least my life gets a nice soundtrack of Angreji Beats and Secondhand Jawaani!